By: Jake Renie
LEXINGTON, KY – With only two weeks of classes left until the annual winter break training season, the Franklin swimming and diving teams took their talents to the Lancaster Aquatic Center in Kentucky to battle it out in the Transylvania Invite.
In total, the Grizzlies obtained four new NCAA DIII time standards, and the hot season continued with thirteen new records between the two teams. After two competitive days, the men finished the meet second overall with 694.5 points, and the women totaled 766 points for a second place finish as well.
The Grizzles kicked off the meet with a victory in the women's 200 free relay. The team of Brynna Sentel, Ashley Snoke, Jacqueline Richard, and Courtnee Coffman tag-teamed for a time of 1:37.52. The same set of ladies stepped up for the women's next relay, and it provided an even sweeter result than the last. Their 200 medley relay time of 1:46.01 became the new fastest time in Franklin history, along with winning the event on a first place finish.
Junior Cady Mehringer started the individual events with a race that broke her own Franklin record in the women's 200 IM. Mehringer placed second overall in the event, touching the wall at a 2:11.09. That time was a personal time-drop by almost half a second.
Sentel followed up with another Franklin College school record, smashing the former women's 500 free record by over 10 seconds on her 4:58.68 time. Her excellent swim not only brought another first place victory, but also a new HCAC Open record in the event as she became the first female to break five minutes in the event. For the men, senior Rob Warren provided an outstanding 500 free, as his 4:47.35 time came to the wall at second place overall.
The records didn't stop coming for the Grizzlies, as Snoke snagged her second record of the weekend. Her second-place finish in the women's 100 breast shaved off .06 seconds from the former record. Her 1:07.03 swim will remain the top all-time race in the event.
The women remained on fire as sophomore Jessica Halsmer stepped into the pool, placing second on a time of 2:02.76 in the women's 200 back, a swim would also become a new Grizzlies record. Mackenzie Dwyer would place third in the event on a time of 2:07.48.
The men created some outstanding results of their own, as they took the top two spots in the men's 200 back. Junior James Hone took the crown in the event, cruising into the 1:53.8 victory. His teammate, junior Zach Rayce, came second overall on his 1:58.06 time.
The women snagged the sixth school record of the day, as two different ladies were under the former record in the women's 200 fly. Freshman Anna Perkins will put her name on the record board with her 2:11.38 time, giving her a second-place finish in the meet. Mehringer was right behind her, as she placed third on her 2:11.42 swim.
Sophomore Charlie Hall made a name for himself in the men's 200 fly, as he also placed second in the event. Coming to the wall on a 1:54.97 time, he finished only .71 seconds from the Grizzlies' school record.
Soon after, another record came from the women's 800 free relay, who finished first in the event on a time of 7:54.07. Sentel, Halsmer, Richard, and Mehringer were the student-athletes in the relay. The men obtained their own victory in the 800 free relay, as the squad of Hall, Noah Tallman, Caleb Strange, and Hone slammed home a victory to end the first day.
The Grizzlies' divers were nothing less than spectacular, as the women's one-meter provided a victory for sophomore Lexi Blackburn and her 468.2 points. Not only that, Blackburn was able to obliterate the school record, resetting the standard by 135.42 points. Blackburn followed up the impressive performance with another terrific set of dives in the women's three-meter, breaking another school record on her 389.4 point grand total in the event. Her total gave her a second-place finish in the event overall.
Senior Will Combs obtained a victory for himself in the men's one-meter, as he cruised into a 422.35 point total, almost 50 points ahead of the second place competitor. Combs also placed second overall in the men's three-meter event, as he brought in 372.7 total points in his eleven-dive set.
The Grizzlies brought their A-game on day two, as they touched-out their opponents with a crowning relay swim in the women's 400 medley relay. The squad of Halsmer, Snoke, Mehringer, and Coffman brought together a 3:59.25 swim. The men followed suit with a second place finish in the 400 medley relay as well, as Rayce, Jack Heim, Tallman, and Ben Doss total for a 3:29.31 time.
Mehringer started the individual events on day two with another record-setting swim on the day. This time, she finished second overall on a 4:37.45 time in the women's 400 IM. This time lowers her own record at Franklin by 1.18 seconds, originally set in 2016. Hall continued an excellent weekend with a victory in the men's 400 IM, as the sophomore touched the wall on a 4:13.0 time in the event.
Coffman brought in another stellar swim as she touched on a :23.87 first-place finish in the women's 50 free, a half second time drop on the season. The women's 100 back proved to be nothing less than fantastic, as two Franklin swimmers swam under the school record. Halsmer placed second overall in the event, as she came in on a :58.75 finish.
Sentel continued her reign with tearing down another record, as she also claimed a victory in the event. Her final time of :58.46 capped the Franklin record by almost a whole second. Rayce followed back up with a great swim of his own, as he finished :53.81 in the men's 100 back. Rayce also brought a second place finish to the table for the Grizzlies.
Sentel wasn't done yet, as the sophomore dropped four seconds from her prelims time to claim yet another Franklin record in the women's 200 free. The time of 1:53.7 gave her a second place swim in the event overall, boosting the Grizzlies' point total. Hone came through in the men's 200 free with a second place finish as well, coming home on a solid 1:44.66 touch at the wall. His teammate, junior Jordan Cermak, finished right behind him at third for a 1:44.71 time.
In the last few events of the evening, the women brought down the final record of the weekend in the 400 free relay. The team of Coffman, Halsmer, Richard, and Sentel combined for a dominant first place finish on a time of 3:32.81. Along with the records, the Grizzlies were able to snag a couple NCAA DIII time standards for the Championships in this upcoming March. Below are a list of the athletes who obtained cuts:
- Will Combs (one-meter)
The Grizzly swimming and diving teams will continue to grind over the highly anticipated Christmas Break, as they will look to carry their momentum into the second semester for the final stretch of the season. Next up is the Colonel Classic at Centre College, which will commence on Friday, January 11th and Saturday the 12th. Friday's session will begin at 6:30 p.m. Saturday will start at 10:00 a.m.