FRANKLIN, Ind. – For the first time in 2018, the Franklin College swimming and diving teams hopped in the pool, taking on a pair of Division III powerhouses in DePauw University and Calvin College on Saturday (Jan. 20) afternoon at Franklin High School.
The Franklin women's team improved to a perfect 8-0 in dual competition this year, taking down the #13-ranked Knights 157-140 and picking up a 190-101 win over DePauw. On the men's side, the Grizzlies tasted defeat in dual competition for the first time this year, falling to #24-ranked DePauw 185.5-105.5 and 174-124 to Calvin.
"January is a tough time in college swimming" Franklin head coach Andy Hendricks said after the event. "All the teams are tired and on the cusp of tapering for championship season. This time of year is a grind but a very important one. Our team, having not raced since the first week of December needed a good meet. Calvin and DePauw are great teams and well coached. We were excited to compete with them."
The Grizzlies' women's 200 meter medley relay got things started off with a bang when Brynna Sentel, Ashley Snoke, Karlee Demsey, and Courtnee Coffman bested the field with a blistering 1:49.43, nearly two seconds ahead of the second place DePauw team. From there, the Franklin women took control and never relinquished the lead.
Amy McCormick took for the first individual victory in the 1000 freestyle (10:49.93) followed by Sentel, who doubled up in back-to-back events to take wins in the 200 free (1:57.21) and 100 back (1:00.17). Snoke then added a win in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.24), giving Franklin wins in each of the first five events of the day.
Franklin's streak of wins came to a brief end in the women's 200 butterfly when Cady Mehringer was just out-touched by 0.34 of a second to take second followed by McCormick in third. The Grizlies got back on track quickly though when Halsmer blazed through the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:06.44 to win the event, followed by August Hartzell's win in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:33.76.
Sentel added the final win of the day by taking the 500 freestyle in a time of 5:14.01, giving the Franklin women an impressive eight event wins on the afternoon.
"I was really excited to watch our women step up this afternoon," Hendricks added. "We needed to race this level of competition, and our women did exactly what I knew they were capable of doing. This is the best women's team I have ever had, and as a fan, it is simply fun to watch them race."
The Franklin men turned in several stronger performances on Saturday against a pair of nationally ranked teams. Sophomore Jack Heim picked up a pair of runner-up finishes on the day, taking second in both the 100 breaststroke (1:02.34) and the 200 breaststroke (2:17.83). Senior Sam Hall also claimed a pair of second place finishes in the 100 backstroke (54.03) and the 100 freestyle (48.76).
Junior Rob Warren added s second place finish in the 1000 freestyle with a time of 10:18.25. James Hone grabbed second place in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:58.49, as did Noah Tallman in the 100 buttlerfly with a time of 54.09. Sophomore Jacob Keener turned in a second place finish on the 1-meter board, racking up 238.95 points.
The Grizzlies are back in action on Friday (Jan. 26), traveling to Terre Haute, Ind. for an HCAC showdown with Rose-Hulman. The Grizzlies and Engineers will get underway at 6:00 p.m.