This meet was hard fought by all the swimmers in the weeks leading up to the event. The team had limited practice due to the poor air quality outside because of the smoke from the fire in Butte County. Campus shut down from November 15th through the following week when rain finally fell on the East Bay. While the team didn't get in as much practice as they wanted, they are grateful for the opportunity to be back in the water, training and racing. The Cyclones' hearts are with all the people who have lost their homes and communities in the fire.
The Cyclones were at George Fox University in Oregon this past weekend. This meet was structured similarly to the Liberal Arts Championships with prelims in the morning and finals in the afternoon. Head coach Neil Virtue explained, "It was great preparation for the team and a good environment for them to experience."
The athletes had to learn how to manage their energy through the two day meet. The juniors and seniors took the brunt of the load with Juli Lopez and Hannah Soltz swam 6 grueling events per day while Morgan Leishman swam the most yards.
Not only was their leadership portrayed by their actions, but it was felt by the team throughout the weekend. Leishman placed 3rd in the 200 back and 4th in the 200 IM, both in big finals. During one of her events, Leishman had an old injury scare after she pushed off a wall and felt a pop and decided to push through the fear to swim the mile for the first time. Soltz placed 7th in the 200 breast and 6th in the 100 breast, in both big finals as well. Lopez swam a season best time in the 100 free, posting a 1.05.22.
The juniors battled through 5 events each day during the long two days of the meet. Maggie Krystad swam the 200 IM for the first time and posted a season best in the 200 free, posting a 2.34.62. Aine Piedad joined Krystad in the 200 IM for the first time as well and swam the 100 breast posting a time right at her season best, 1.23.52.
The first years fought alongside their upperclassmen by PR'ing and improving multiple events. Alex Fakayode dropped 3 seconds in the 100 free and 4 seconds in the 100 back, PR'ing in both events. Rachel Schottstaedt PR'ed in 3 events: the 50 free, 100 free and 100 back. The Cyclones were joined by three new swimmers whose fall sports had not ended when the swim season began. Sophomore, Andrea Osornio (soccer) swam the 50 free and was 4 seconds faster in her relay swim. Riya Rampalli (cross country), a first year, who only had 3 practices before the invite had a great first meet. Another first year, Taya Wyatt (rowing), swam in her very first meet and dropped 6 seconds off her race time in the 100 breast between prelims and finals.
"Now we have to get back to consistent training level in the water," said Virtue. The team will be competing on January 18th at Chapman and then will have a few meets in SoCal before fine tuning for Liberal Arts.