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Old 11-11-2021, 10:39 AM   #1401
Breeze
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Northern Suburbs of ATL
Sewanee: University of the South vs Berry College @ Cage Center - 11/13

The Vikings are back home this weekend, going against conference foe Sewanee. Last year we didn't get to see Sewanee because they didn't attend the conference championships. This should be an easy victory for the men's team, as Sewanee only fields 8 men total, meaning they won't have enough point earners to overcome the Berry depth.

The women on the other hand will probably get hammered. Apparently, Sewanee signed 18 freshman girls last season and they have become a major factor in the conference in 1 offseason.

I don't know what events will be contested or what Bear will be swimming at this point. I'd expect the same schedule he's been doing the last several weeks. Interestingly, if he's going to do the 400 IM at conference like he did last year, I'd like him to get some racing in some of the non-Free strokes to make sure they stay sharpe.
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Old 11-16-2021, 10:40 AM   #1402
Breeze
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Sewanee: University of the South vs Berry College - RESULTS

Sewanee - 46
Berry - 151


As expected Berry won decisively. In fact, the score appears much closer than it actually was, as Sewanee benefited by getting 12 points from the only male diver competing at the meet (and to be honest, he was terrible).

Despite the fact that the meet was one sided there were some exciting moments. The biggest being Ross swimming the 1000 Free. As you may recall, last year at conference Bear set the team record in the 1000 with a 9:47.43. This was a good swim, not his best, but closer than he's been to it in years. He was happy with it, and we thought it might stand up for a while, because the 1000 is rarely swum tapered (because in big events it's the 1650 that is on the schedule). However, when Ross was entered in this event, I knew the record was in trouble. To understand why I felt that way - last week against Emmanuel, Ross went a 4:36 in the 500 Free, meaning if he simply swam the last 500 yards in 5 minutes, he'd crush Bear's record.

Bear was the one counting for Ross' swim, and just before the start of the race, he got our attention and pointed to the record board to let us know Ross was going for it. It was one heck of an in-season swim. The opening 500 was a 4:46.59, which put him in perfect striking distance of the record, but rather than coast home with 60 second 100s, Ross churned sub 60 seconds for every 100 and the final 100 of the race he completed in 56.29. In all he finished with a 9:41.31 - good enough to not only break Bear's team record, but the pool record time of 9:43. When he finished his swim, Bear was the first to congratulate him with a big hug.

Bear

200 Free - I was hopeful, Bear would do well here, given he was racing it without having to first swim some long freestyle event. However, he posted his worst time in this race this season with a 1:53.21. He was extremely disappointed in this result, saying he didn't swim his race, which I guess isn't all that surprising given the last few weeks he's done just distance (500 & 1000 Frees) and short sprint frees (50s in the relay). It's got to be hard to adjust when your doing an event that requires a different approach. I have to admit, this swim concerned me. After the improvements at Emmanuel, I was hoping for a better result, and I was concerned this might be an indication that the shoulder wasn't right.

500 Free - It was just Ethan and Bear in this one, and this race was the complete opposite of the 200. Bear looked great throughout. The stroke looked long and strong and the body position was much better than it's been in years. He is really starting to look like the swimmer he was before the gallop stroke and shoulder issues. He ended up posting a season's best 5:01.53, but was disappointed that it wasn't under 5 minutes. He admitted to getting lulled into Ethan's pacing during the race, which slowed him down some. Ethan, who's been a 4:57 already this season, was grinding out this event, after swimming the 1000 earlier in the meet. Hopefully, Bear will continue to look good, and he and Ethan will push each other through the rest of the season.

400 Free Relay - B Team - For the first time this season the team swam the 400 relays, rather than the 200 relays, and Bear found himself on the B. Bear was the second leg, and when he dove in, he was trailing the Sewanee team by 1.4 seconds. However, it was obvious early Bear was closing, and by the time the handoff for the 3rd leg was made, Berry's B team was leading Sewanee by half a second. The team went on to expand that lead the rest of the way. Bear's split was 50.25, he wanted to be under 50, but given he finished the 500 not long before the race, that split is pretty strong. He out-split everyone in his relay except Hunter at the anchor spot. The A relay had an error on the touch pad, so it's impossible to know the actual splits.
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Old 11-17-2021, 10:14 AM   #1403
Breeze
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Point University Invitational @ Columbus Aquatic Center - 11/19 - 20

This Friday and Saturday is a multi-team, multi-day, prelim - finals meet. Meaning the swimmers will compete in 4 sessions over 2 days. I'm not completely sure what teams will be competing in this event, but it appears the teams are:

- St. Thomas University (#3 NAIA ranked team)
- Thomas University (#11 NAIA ranked team)
- Point University (#27 NAIA ranked team)
- Berry College

Depending on how each team handles this event, it could be a very interesting meet. Most of the top swimmers in each event all have similar times. As long as there are no tapered swimmers this could be extremely fun. If one team elects to taper - then the advantage will shift significantly to their swimmers. It's a weird time of the season, typically every team will have a taper meet right before the Christmas break, so this is potentially close enough to be the taper for some of these teams. Berry has another multi-day meet coming up in a couple of weeks, and this one will feature more teams and it will be the last meet before the break. I suspect that will be the one the team tapers for so I don't expect Berry to be at their peak.

As for the other teams:

Point - is the weakest team in the field, with only 1 swimmer barely topping the 500 point mark in collegeswimming. In all there are only 9 swimmers on the men's roster, which hinders their ability to score, but worse, only 4 swimmers have a 400 or better ranking with 2 swimmers less sitting on less than 300 points. In a meet against, Thomas, St. Thomas, and Berry - even the 400 level swimmers will find it tough to earn points.

Thomas - like Point Thomas has only 9 swimmers, but the ability of those 9 is significantly higher than Point. The average Point swimmer is under a 395 collegeswimming rating, where the average Thomas swimmer is 491. In fact, only 1 Thomas swimmer is below the average score for Point. 7 of the 9 overall swimmers are in prime position to earn points with their 4 top swimmers capable of getting a medal in an event.

St. Thomas - is the best team in the event (I know kind of a duh statement considering they are ranked 3rd in their division) and they have a large roster of 28 swimmers including 11 international students brought in on swimming scholarships. Typically, in an event like this only 18 swimmers will be allowed to score, so not sure how St. Thomas will handle this meet. They will probably designate a "travel team" and only bring 18 to 20, unless this meet isn't limiting entries and in that case, I'd expect St. Thomas to cake walk the event. Even if they limit themselves to 18 swimmers, they have 13 on the roster with rating above 500 points, and 2 of those are above 600. By comparison, Berry has 8 swimmers above 500 and 1 above 600.

Bear - is currently scheduled to swim the 200 free on day 1 and the 100 free and 1000 free on day 2. Not yet sure about relays.

Last edited by Breeze : 11-17-2021 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 11-19-2021, 08:33 AM   #1404
Breeze
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Point University Invitational - Follow Up

Because this meet is apparently the 4 teams outlined above and a multi-day event, this one will be scored more like a championship meet. Here are a few additional rules for this weekend.

- Each swimmer can compete in 7 events with no more than 4 being individual
- 2 heats of finals will be swum in the evening sessions - 16 swimmers divided into A and B finals
- Individual scoring will be 20-17-16-15-14-13-12-11-9-7-6-3-4-3-2-1
- Relay scoring will be double individual scores
- 2 relay teams from each school will score

If we find during the broadcast that the field of teams competing is different, I'll update it here.

Last edited by Breeze : 11-19-2021 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 11-19-2021, 09:26 AM   #1405
Breeze
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Point University Invitational - Follow Up

Now that the meet has started, I can confirm the following teams are present:

- Berry College
- Columbia College
- Point University
- SCAD
- South Georgia State
- St. Thomas University
- Thomas University
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Old 11-19-2021, 11:13 AM   #1406
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Originally Posted by Breeze View Post
Point University Invitational - Follow Up

Now that the meet has started, I can confirm the following teams are present:

- Berry College
- Columbia College
- Point University
- SCAD
- South Georgia State
- St. Thomas University
- Thomas University

It's hard to do, but you just got me with one of those. I can't say that I ever knew South Georgia State existed.

Not my fault, it's only been there since 1927.
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Old 11-22-2021, 11:19 AM   #1407
Breeze
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Point University Invitational - RESULTS

St. Thomas - 1242.5
Berry College - 633.5
SCAD - 479.5
Thomas University - 415
Point University - 208.5
South Georgia State - 154


This was an interesting and somewhat odd meet for Berry. Several swimmers competed in events that they haven't swum in up to this point, and the choices were at times, strange. Before the meet started is was pretty obvious that St. Thomas was going to win, too big a roster with too many high end swimmers for the rest of the field. Maybe the coach recognized that as well and decided to use this as an opportunity to watch swimmers compete in different events?

Coming into this meet, Berry was 3 swimmers down:

- Emilio Rico was sick
- Tyler Stephenson had a med school application interview
- Collin Dillard had a funeral to attend.

There were several really strong swims this week, despite the fact the team didn't taper at all. Here are some highlights:

- Alex Bartik - 52.88 in 100 Fly
- Billy Blood - 1:58.53 in 200 Back
- Noah Brand - 46.33 in 100 Free
- Riley Croker - 2:08.78 in 200 Back, and 2:11.41 in 200 IM (in backend scoring range for conference)
- Ryan McKinnon - 4:12.39 in 400 IM (currently fastest time in conference)
- Ryan McKinnon - 53.80 in 100 Back (2nd fastest on the team, ahead of the 2 guys that have been swimming back in relays)
- Sam Tate - 52.76 in Back (fastest on the team)
- Ethan Whiting 4:12.63 in 400 IM (currently second fastest in conference)
- Ross Valdez - EVERYTHING THIS GUY IS SWIMMING. Went 9:31.03 in 1000 Free to destroy the record he set just a few weeks ago!!!

Bear

Day 1 Prelims

200 Free Prelim - In his first swim of the meet, Bear managed a season's best time of 1:48.31, good enough for 7th overall and a spot in the A final that evening. Moreover, this swim was 2nd fastest on the team (behind Ross' 1:43.71) a head of Hunter, Paxton, Billy, and Harrison. A good sign for him holding on to a spot on the A 800 free relay.

800 Free - Bear was the anchor on the A relay. And as it turns out he was about 1.5 seconds behind the leader when he dove in. He busted it trying to make up the gap, but the other swimmer was just better (finished 2nd in the 200 Free). The initial effort to chase really took it's toll and Bear crashed coming home. His split was a poor 1:54, but it didn't matter because the team finished in 2nd well ahead of 3rd place.


Day 1 Finals

200 Free Relay - B team - The relay finished 5th overall, not bad for a B team. Bear split a 22.9, which is good for him, considering his personal best 50 is a 23.35, but I believe he was hoping for a bit faster, especially with the way he's been swimming.

200 Free Finals - In the finals, Bear was 1.42 seconds faster than he was in the prelims for a new season's best swim of 1:46.89, which is extremely strong considering it's the 4th fastest time he's ever recorded in this event, and the fastest he's ever gone without a taper. Moreover, it's less than 1 second off his personal best time.


Day 2 Prelims

100 Free Prelims - Another strong swim for Bear, posting a sesaon's best 49.86. It's also his second fastest 100 free swim on record, and only .57 seconds off a personal best time. Unfortunately, he finished 17th in the event so he didn't make it back to finals in this one.

1000 Free Finals - Didn't get to see this one because the feed was dropped, but Bear said the swim was ugly and he felt like absolute crap (though the shoulder wasn't the issue). However, he posted a season's best swim of 10:16.85, abyt a 20.5 second improvement over his previous season's best. He admitted that it feels good to know that swim didn't feel good, but that he was still going fast. At this point, Bear figured he was finished. The coach had reported that the team would skip the final 400 Freestyle event in order to get on the road and head back home a bit earlier, and with that in mind Bear didn't warm down following this swim...so:


Day 2 Finals

400 Free Relay - the coach changed his mind, and fielded an A relay and Bear was on it. They weren’t really built to challenge for the win, as Hunter Erb was the anchor leg, but Bear an co. still managed to finish 5th. Bear grinded out a 50.12, so not far off is 100 Free from the morning session, so a pretty good effort under the circumstances.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bear was extremely pleased with his results in this meet. In fact, he was so pleased that he asked if we could purchase a tech suit for him to have before the next meet. The December 2nd, SCAD Invite will be a taper meet and Bear thinks he can post some personal bests, which would be a huge confidence builder for him, as he's really struggled to get back to high level of swimming he was at prior to the shoulder/lat issues. Unfortunately, this taper meet will be a bit odd because the swimmers will be home for several days with family for Thanksgiving and will be forced to practice on their own. The coach provided a workout schedule for the kids to follow, and I'm guessing Bear will meet up with a couple of teammates in the area to workout together.

I'm extremely eager to see how things shake out in Savannah in a couple of weeks.

Last edited by Breeze : 02-17-2022 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 11-30-2021, 04:03 PM   #1408
Breeze
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SCAD Invitational @ Chatham County Aquatic Center - 12/3-4

This is the mid-season taper meet. It's not going to be a full taper for the Berry swimmers, but they will probably get a quick drop taper, which means maybe a couple of short practices and 1 day off for travel.

This has been a huge meet in the past consisting of around 18 teams. I'm not sure who's attending this year but it does look like the following will be there:

- SCAD
- Berry College
- Thomas University
- Point University
- Life University
- South Georgia State
- Ave Maria University
- Emory (though just a split squad with some going to a different invite)

Not sure what Bear will be swimming, but he said he might end up in the 400 IM so he gets a chance to swim it before conference. He could also end up in the 3 frees he's been competing in most of this season (200, 500, and in this case the 1650 which will be swum instead of the 1000).
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Old 12-07-2021, 04:25 PM   #1409
Breeze
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SCAD Invitational - RESULTS

Emory - 788
Berry - 588
SCAD - 488
Thomas - 347
Life - 240
Point - 205
South Georgia State - 181
Ave Maria - 180


It's interesting in swimming how quickly things can change. How a swimmer can go from excited and eager to race to disappointed and frustrated, and unfortunately, that was the case for Bear in this one. To be fair, I believe his frustration is unwarranted, but when you set expectations and don't come close to achieving them it can be hard to take a step back and recognize why. I believe as I outline the meet, it will become obvious quickly what I'm referencing.

Bear

Day 1

400 Medley Relay - B Team - for maybe the first time all season Bear swam in a medley relay. He was the fly leg and he posted a very good 53.52 split. For a point of reference his personal best is a 53.33, and even if we penalize his split time by removing the rolling start and adding a ridiculously high .7 seconds to the time, it would still be the second fastest 100 fly he's ever done. The relay team finished 5 overall and was the top B team in the meet, beating several school's A teams.

500 Free - Prelims - this was a very good swim for Bear, as he continues to improve his times in this event. He posted another season's best time of 4:48.59, good enough for 10th. Interestingly, he was racing next to teammate Ethan Whiting, and he ended up beating Ethan by around 2.6 seconds. This was good in my opinion for 2 reasons. First, it has to help Bear's confidence in this event, as Ethan was beating him bad in the distance swims early in the year, and second, it does send a message to the coach that Bear is still a threat in the distance frees and should be swimming them in conference. Also, I think it bodes well for both of them to use each other (and Ross) as training partners to push to get better.

200 Free Prelims - a good swim here for Bear, not a great one, but coming on the heals of the 500 it wasn't completely surprising. He managed a 1:48.42, which placed him 9th overall.

500 Free - Finals (4:48.59) - some meets only have swimmers do the 500 one time, even in a prelims/finals set up, but not this one. In his second go around at this race, Bear improved on his time to get another season's best touching the wall in 4:48.08. This swim moved him up to 9th overall in the event, and his teammate Ethan finished 10th, about .8 behind.

200 Free - Finals (1:48.42) - one person scratched out of this event, which moved Bear in the A finals. I wasn't sure this was a good thing, I think he might have been better off leading the pool in the B heat rather than fighting the chop in an outside lane. Regardless, this one didn't go so well. Bear was off from the start in this one, and he knew it. In fact, it looked to me like he backed off in the last 20 yards or so. He may have known he was last in the heat so there was no reason to really push anymore. His time was a 1:52.48. No idea how much backing off might have made a difference here. I do know he was bit disappointed in this race, and he continues to struggle trying to find the right approach. He may be overthinking it a bit, as he has a tendency to do that.

200 Free Relay - B Team - despite having raced 1500 yards already during day 1, Bear was on the 200 free relay B team. I wasn't completely surprised to see this, given the coach has used him regularly in the free relays, but I wasn't sure with two 500s and two 200s if he might go with someone else. Bear managed a nice 22.41 split and he was upset with his turn. He feels he can get below 22...and I'll be eager to see if he can get there at conference. The team again finished 5th and was the top B team.

Day 2

200 Yard Medley Relay - B Team - Morning starts with the relay and Bear found himself swimming the fly leg in the medley again. He posted a 24.79 split. Hard to say how good that is, because the 50 fly isn't really a race that is part of competition meets anymore, but his split wasn't spectacular. The team did end up 5th and as you can probably guess they were the top B team.

400 IM - Prelims - remember in the preview of this event I mentioned that Bear was scheduled to be in the 400 IM, and that it was possible he would swim the 3 long freestyle races as well? As it turns out, rather that dropping Bear out of the 400 IM, and entering him in the 1650, the coached decided to have Bear do both. This race wasn't Bear's best, but not sure how much of that was not getting a chance to race, fly, back, and breast enough, combined with having not raced the 400 IM in almost a year, and how much was simply trying to conserve some energy for the 1650, Bear's time was a 4:31.79, good enough for 8th, though he would scratch out of the finals.

1650 Free - this was the race Bear was really excited about. He really felt he could get a personal best in this one, and why not? His 500 frees have been inching closer to his personal best untapered, and he dropped a bunch of time in the 1000 free recently, also untapered. Plus, remember, Bear's 1650 record is the same race his goggles came off in the dive and he took time to fix them while he was racing. Unfortunately, he not only didn't break his personal best, he didn't really have a very good swim at all. Interestingly - he was pretty good at the 1000 mark, where he posted a 10:15.32, which is actually a season's best time for that race, but then the wheels came off. At the 1150 mark, Bear was barely under a 32 split, and he wouldn't get back under a 32 split until the final 50. He finished with a disappointing 17:12.48. He was very frustrated with this swim, given what he was hoping to accomplish. However, given his workload in this meet, I don't find it terribly surprising that he struggled in this event, especially in the last 500 yards. Quick Note: Ross was able to get an NCAA B cut in this race.

400 Free Relay - A Team - given his workload, I wasn't sure he would be swimming this event, and then when I saw he was swimming, I was shocked to see it was the A relay. He did a 49.43 leg, which under the circumstances I think is incredible. He had just finished the 1650 about half an hour earlier. The team finished 3rd in the race.


As you can tell from the write up above, Bear was a complete workhorse at this meet. He RACED 1550 yards on day 1, and 2200 yards on day 2 (thankfully Berry decided not to field an 800 free relay team, or it might have been 2400). The amount of swimming that Bear did and the fact he competed in every relay shows the coaches confidence in him. Unfortunately, the flip side of that workload was fatigue and soreness that prevented Bear from performing the way he wanted to, especially in the event he was most looking forward to - the 1650. I still believe he's in a good place right now (as long as the shoulder/lat issue doesn't act up). He's WAY AHEAD of where he was last year and at conference in February he came as close to personal bests as he has in years. If he continues to work hard, especially at winter training, I believe we could still see a personal best or two before the season is out. I can tell you, he really wants that NCAA B cut. He'll need to go 16:16 and change to get it though. I'm very excited to see how this rest of this season plays out. Winter training is December 28, and his next meet won't occur until 2022, so it will probably be a while before the next update.
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Old 12-23-2021, 07:12 AM   #1410
Breeze
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I have to admit, with the spread of the Omicron variant, I'm starting to become concerned about the remainder of the swim season. I'm praying things hold off long enough for Bear to get to the conference championships in February. His freshman year was seriously impacted by Covid, I'd hate to see his sophomore year be impacted as well.
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Old 12-25-2021, 06:06 PM   #1411
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What is covid like in the areas where the conference schools are located? Here in Dallas the wave hasn't really hit that hard but, looking at Georgia's covid map, there are some bad looking areas.
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Old 01-02-2022, 09:10 AM   #1412
Breeze
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Originally Posted by thealmighty View Post
What is covid like in the areas where the conference schools are located? Here in Dallas the wave hasn't really hit that hard but, looking at Georgia's covid map, there are some bad looking areas.

TA - sorry for the late reply. I've been on vacation and I stayed away from the computer.

Georgia is certainly heating up, when it comes to Covid. Several people we know have gotten it recently or been exposed. Quite a few people in my area are back to wearing masks in public. I'm really leaning towards thinking the conference is going to cancel the championship meet.

Last edited by Breeze : 01-02-2022 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 01-02-2022, 09:30 AM   #1413
Breeze
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General Update - Winter Training

On Dec 28th, Bear left to return to Berry for the start of winter training. One of the swimmers in our area Hunter Kenny, tested positive for Covid around Christmas time, so he stayed home. The first thing the entire team did when they arrived on campus was to take a Covid test from their cars. The only positive test I'm aware of was Billy Blood, who Bear swam with every day during Christmas break, and moreover, was with him the day before at the movie theatre.

At this point, I was thinking the team was going to cancel the trip to Florida and just train on campus, like they did last year, but surprisingly they did fly down to Miami, and then bus back up to Winter Springs, where they will use the FIU facilities.

We had been told by another parent that follows swimming that Birmingham Southern had to cut their winter training short due to a Covid outbreak, but that's apparently not true. We haven't heard much from Bear since training started, other than to let us know that BSU is still in Florida and he knows because they are training in the same facility. We also got a quick text from him informing us that one of the girls on the team tested positive while in Florida. We haven't heard how the coach is planning to deal with that, especially since the swimmers share rooms with 2 or 3 other teammates.

If somehow the team makes it through all of this, they are supposed to have a winter training meet on Monday. Given they are doing two-a-day practices as well as dryland/lifting I don't expect times will be good at all.

The fact the teams were still travelling to Florida gave me hope the conference championship meet would take place as scheduled. Unfortunately, the positive Covid tests in Florida complicate that, and may in fact cause more harm that if the teams hadn't gone down.
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Old 01-04-2022, 07:20 AM   #1414
Breeze
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General Update - Winter Training

The team did have a winter training meet yesterday, but it wasn't what was originally planned. Typically, FIU hosts the meet and there are about 4 teams included, but this year, FIU had to pull out due to too many Covid cases. This left Berry scrambling to put together a meet in order to satisfy NCAA guidelines around winter training trips. They ended up swimming against Arcadia (I believe) in a quick elimination type meet, where swimmer faces off head to head and the loser is eliminated. Bear was close on both is 50 free and 100 fly swims, but with no warm up at all, he came up just short. Felt with a warm up he would have at least won his first round match up.

A couple other items of note:

- Birmingham Southern ended up leaving their training with 4 positive cases and apparently now have 12.

- With so many people in the area catching Covid, Coach Paul has elected to cut the training trip short and head home this morning (Tuesday, 1/4). Obviously, he was afraid of a Covid outbreak, but also, if the team were to get quarantined at this point, they would end up missing classes, so he wants to get them back on campus.
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Old 01-05-2022, 10:25 AM   #1415
Breeze
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General Update - Winter Training

Yesterday the team, minus the 2 swimmers that had tested positive for Covid, headed home on a bus. Unfortunately, before reaching Rome, the bus was forced to make an emergency stop because one of the swimmers (Paxton) spiked such a high fever he was struggling to stay conscious. The team got in at midnight and when they tested upon arrival 6 more swimmers tested positive. Bear didn't test positive, but the entire swim team is being sent home to quarantine. With my health situation, this means Bear will be regulated to the basement, which is unfinished - so not a luxury option obviously, especially with a cold week ahead.

This is so unfortunate, because Bear will be unable to swim, which will undo all the hard work and two-a-day swims he went through during winter training. It'll seriously compromise his fitness level and with only a short period of time to get ready for conference. I'm so tired of Covid. I was so excited to watch college swimming, and now both seasons Bear's been involved in have been adversely impacted.

Last edited by Breeze : 01-05-2022 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 01-07-2022, 02:46 PM   #1416
Breeze
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Northern Suburbs of ATL
General Update - Covid

Bear just started running a fever today, so looks like he didn't escape the bus unscathed. It'll be interesting to see how many come down with it out of the ~40 swimmers that were travelling home with him. To the best of my knowledge currently there have been 7 swimmers that tested positive, counting the two that were positive before the trip and the two that were positive before the bus left to come home. I expect that number will climb significantly.

The biggest problem at this point is classes start on Monday, and Bear's not even allowed to test until then (meaning the earliest they would allow him back on campus is Tuesday, 1/11). However, now that he's running a fever the likelihood of him testing positive on Monday is high, so he'll be forced to quarantine an additional 5 days or more, which means he's going to start class almost 2 weeks behind. Not great for academics.

There is also supposed to be a meet on the 15th. I fully expect that to be cancelled.
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Old 01-09-2022, 09:15 AM   #1417
Breeze
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Location: Northern Suburbs of ATL
General Update - Covid

Apparently my understanding of the spread of Covid on the team was wrong. There were 6 additional people on the bus that tested positive, about the same time Bear did. That would bring the total number to 12.

- 2 before the trip
- 2 during the trip
- 1 on the bus
- 6 additional
- Bear

Not sure if anyone else has come down with it, but it's possible several have it but are showing such minor symptoms they don't realize it and they won't know until Monday when they test to get back on campus.

Bear's symptoms have been minor. I'm not sure his fever ever got to 100, and I don't believe he's currently got any to speak of. Hopefully, he'll test negative Monday so he can get back to class before he gets too far behind.
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Old 01-11-2022, 09:15 AM   #1418
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General Update - Covid

Amazingly, Bear tested negative yesterday, so he returned to school. Last I heard, there were no additional reports of people testing positive. I'll follow up with him later to see if he has any updates.
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Old 01-12-2022, 11:05 AM   #1419
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Viking Classic @ Cage Center - 1/14-15

Despite all the Covid issues the team faced at the end of the winter training trip, it appears this scheduled meet will be taking place. At this point the team has 15 men and 15 women available to compete - 13 are still in the Covid protocol. Interestingly, one of the teams invited to this meet is Birmingham Southern, and at last check they had 32 under Covid restrictions. Typically, this meet would be against at least 1 additional team, but I'm not sure if that's the case this year.

The wife and I won't be going. Bear stated he would prefer we didn't go. He reasoned that with Birmingham Southern and Berry both recently dealing with Covid, it would probably be better if we didn't expose ourselves to that fanbase yet.

No idea what Bear will be swimming - I'll update that and any specifics around the meet as I get the information.

Last edited by Breeze : 01-12-2022 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 01-14-2022, 08:05 AM   #1420
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Viking Classic @ Cage Center - 1/14-15

Finally got some information from Bear. Looks like he's swimming the 500 today, the 200 and the mile tomorrow. He's the only swimmer on the team tackling all 3 of the long free swims, plus he's in the 800 Free relay on Sunday as well. I don't expect a real good time in the 1650 with two 200 yard races earlier in the day.

This meet is the last home meet of the season, so it's senior night, and I feel sorry for the seniors - Riley Coker and Travis Stephenson. With the recent Covid issues, I expect turnout for this one to be small. Swimming is a lot of hard work and I admire anyone that does it at this level for 4 years, and I wish I was going to be there to show my respect.
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Old 01-19-2022, 09:37 AM   #1421
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Viking Classic - RESULTS

Berry - 610
BSC - 662
Point - 331


Berry came into this event short-handed. There were only 14 of the approximately 20 guys available. Those unavailable included:

- Collin Dillard
- Andrew Horn
- Ryan McKinnon
- Paxton Smathers
- Tyler Stephenson
- Ethan Whiting

*Note: BSC was also likely shorthanded as they had their own Covid outbreak to deal with, but I didn't investigate their roster vs who swam to determine the level of impact. I do know most of their top swimmers did compete at this meet.

There are quite a few very good swimmers on that list, and hopefully, they will be able to recover in time to get in shape before the conference championship next month.

Bear

500 Freestyle - this is an unusually though event when BSC and Berry race. In fact, if you count Whiting and BSC's Fountain (who didn't swim this event here) 7 of the top 8 conference swimmers this year, in this event, are from these two schools. We didn't get to see this race because the web feed went dark as soon as Bear stepped on the blocks. He ended up finishing 4th in the event, but posted a very strong 4:57.56 time. This was his best non-tapered time of the season, despite the fact he was unable to train for a week when he was in covid protocols, and only had 3 practices prior to this meet. He was very pleased with this effort.

200 Freestyle - An excited head to head race for the win in this one with one of BSCs strong swimmers, Maggio. Bear opened with a 26.17, to Maggio's 25.82. In the second 50, Bear took the lead by out-swimming Maggio by about .9. In the 3rd 50 Maggio outswam Bear, but only by .13 seconds, which meant, heading into the final 50, Bear was leading by .21 seconds. The end of the race was almost a dead heat - and Bear won the event with a time of 1:49.75, beating Maggio by .23. This time, while not as good as the times he was posting before the winter break, was still in the same ballpark, and with the gap in training, this time bodes well I think for his chances to be ready in time for conference.

800 Free Relay - Have to admit, realizing Bear would be swimming a second 200 free in the same day, didn't give me a lot of hope for his results in this one, and my suspicions were correct. He struggled through a 1:55.13 split. However, Bear's time didn't really impact the outcome of this event. BSC beat Berry by 10 seconds, so even if he managed to go a 1:49 like he did in the individual race, they are still several seconds behind.

1650 Freestyle - this one really, really concerned me. This race, following two 200 yard sprint free races is asking a lot, and it showed. Bear struggled home to post an 18.11.52. Even in peak condition, swimming that schedule is asking a lot, but following a week off and only 3 days of practice, it's next to impossible. Moreover, Bear's over-training issue really flairs up when he ramps up effort quickly, and unfortunately, he said this one was very painful. I believe he's going to try to get to a Dr so he can get into full PT, not trainer focused efforts to alleviate the symptoms. I'm not a big fan of numbing the pain with cortisone, but given he's only got 2 more races left, and he's planning to rest most of the Summer while focusing on his strengthening exercises to try and allow the issue to heal, I think I'd be in favor of it this time around.

Last edited by Breeze : 01-20-2022 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 01-20-2022, 01:45 PM   #1422
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General Update - Bear

Bear has a doctor visit schedule tomorrow (1/20) to get his shoulder look at. Disappointing it's come to this, hope they find a way to help but it doesn't adversely impact his ability to compete next month at conference.
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Old 01-21-2022, 08:31 AM   #1423
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Berry/Millsaps vs Birmingham Southern @ Birmingham Crossplex - 1/22

The last regular season meet for the Vikings this season is in Birmingham against two conference teams, BSC and Millsaps. This meet for the most part is a basically a rematch from the meet last week at Berry. Millsaps is a better team than Point, so they will have more of an impact on the overall scoring, but most of the matchups will be the same.

I've not had an opportunity to communicate with Bear this week, so I don't know what he'll be swimming and I also don't know, who if anyone from the list of Covid swimmers might be returning. If/When I hear something I'll will provide an update.
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Old 01-22-2022, 08:38 AM   #1424
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Berry/Millsaps vs Birmingham Southern @ Birmingham Crossplex - 1/22

Finally talked with Bear and found out that he didn't go to a doctor, just to physical therapy. Not sure how he got a prescription for PT without seeing and doctor, but as he said, "It's not my problem." The therapist gave him some more exercises to try and strengthen the little muscles in the shoulder. Not sure he'll be able to get that done before next month. He said the shoulder are a real problem right now, that he's struggling to get extension on his reach during practice and that everything about his stroke feels off. Not a great place to be so late in the season. Here is what he's swimming today.

1000 Freestyle - this one really irritated Cathy. She feels he should only do short stuff to minimize the work on the shoulder. I get where she's coming from but my guess is, Bear is still doing distance practices, so I'm not sure it really matters.

50 Freestyle - this is clearly a move to shorten his yardage some. Hope he does well here - it might set him up for relays at conference.

200 IM - Kind of late to start mixing in some off strokes - this race will be packed with talent - so I don't expect a high finish here.

400 Free Relay - not sure if he's on the A or B, but he's swimming on of the relays.
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Old 01-24-2022, 01:26 PM   #1425
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Viking Classic - BerryVikings.com Recap

Should have posted this earlier...

Mt. Berry, Ga. - Berry's men's swimming and diving team performed well at the Cage Center Natatorium Saturday to close the Viking Classic, with the home side earning several podium finishes against Birmingham-Southern and NAIA foe Point.

"It was a great meet," said Berry head coach Paul Flinchbaugh. "It was bittersweet to say goodbye to our seniors, but it was fantastic to see everyone swim so well in their honor. We wish them all the best and will miss them dearly."

The Vikings started off Saturday with a win in the 200 Yard Medley Relay as Sam Tate, Emilio Rico, Noah Brand, and Harrison McNeil took the victory with a time of 1:38.66. Later in the day, Bear Breeze would out-touch the competition to win the 200 Yard Freestyle in 1:49.75.

Tate would get the next victory for Berry with the top spot in the 100 Yard Backstroke (53.03). Perhaps the most competitive finish of the afternoon would be between two teammates in the 200 Yard Breaststroke as Rico edged Tate by less than a tenth of a second (2:14.39 to 2:14.48).

Ross Valdez would earn the final win of the day for Berry by taking the victory in the 200 Yard Butterfly in 1:59.70.

The meet marked the final home competition for seniors Riley Crocker and Tyler Stephenson.

The Vikings will be back in action next weekend at Birmingham-Southern.
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Old 01-25-2022, 11:12 AM   #1426
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Berry/Millsaps vs Birmingham Southern - RESULTS

This meet was swum as a double dual meet, meaning the scoring was calculated as if it was Berry vs BSC, then Berry vs Millsaps, and finally Millsaps vs BSC, unlike the recent invitationals where all teams compete against each other for the same points.

Berry - 111
BSC - 153


Berry - 178
Millsaps - 43


Unfortunately, we didn't get to watch this meet as BSC apparently doesn't stream their swim meets. It seems odd, that the best swim team in the conference is the only one you can't watch on the Internet. Maybe it's because the pool they use is part of a large city sports complex? Not sure, but was extremely irritated when I figured it out Saturday morning.

Bear

1000 Freestyle - This was apparently an amazing race - especially for a 1000 free. There were only 2 people swimming in it, Bear, and Joe Swing, a big dog in the conference, who already has 2 gold and 2 silver medals in his first two years swimming at the SAA Conference Championships. Bear took an early lead, but lost it temporarily at the 300 split. He immediately regained the lead and held it until the last 150. At that point Bear planned to really bring his legs into it, but because of his on/off conditioning issues, they were too fatigued, so he fell behind. Coming off the 850 turn, since his legs were dead, he did several sprint strokes off the wall, retook the lead and then held off a late charge to out-touch Swing by .17 seconds - IN A 1000 YARD RACE! His time was a very respectable 10:18.90. He'll need to round into shape over the next 3 weeks, but at least he was able to swim this race without his shoulders causing him too many issues. Apparently, Swing is a pretty poor sport. Bear tried to offer a "great race" comment, which he would have done, win or lose, but Swing completely dismissed him, wouldn't shake his hand and left the pool and went straight to the locker room without saying a word.

50 Freestyle - This is an event that Bear rarely gets to swim, and even when he does get to swim it, like in this case, it's almost always after some grueling event that taxes his body. However, despite racing the 1000 less than 30 minutes earlier - Bear managed to tie his personal best swim of 23.27. He got the same time earlier in the year leading off the 200 Free relay against Emmanuel, and it's only fractionally better (.08) than his previous best time, which he set earlier this season against Cumberlands.

200 IM - Bear hasn't swum breast or back in a race much at all this season, in fact, I can only remember 1 other IM Bear swam, the 400 during the SCAD invite - and he mailed that one in trying to save himself for the 1650 later in the day. Given this fact, and that he was obliged to be tired, I didn't expect much. Bear finished in 2:11.01. Bear's back was fine at a 32.84 split - not great but it was better than his teammate Ryan MacKinnon, who's a nice backstroker. The breast however was another story. Never one of his better strokes, Bear only managed a 39.80 split, well off the pace, but in fairness many of those competing in this event, were also breaststrokers. Even if his split was closer to PB time, he still likely would have fallen off the pace in this event.

400 Free Relay - Bear swam on the A free relay and posted a solid 51.03 split. The slowest of the 4 in the A relay, but faster than all of the B relay swimmers except 1 who was less than half a second faster, and who didn't have the same level of effort in their schedule of events. It's going to be close whether Bear sneaks on to the sprint free relays at conference. Right now he's right around that 7 - 9 spot and only 8 swim with the 2 relay teams.

Last edited by Breeze : 01-25-2022 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 01-27-2022, 07:45 AM   #1427
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General Update - Team Health

Of the swimmers that missed the Viking Invite due to Covid, all have returned except Collin Dillard, who is reportedly out for academic reasons.

Also, some potentially very bad news for the team - Noah Brand, one of the top sprint free/fly guys in the conference missed the meet last weekend. Apparently, he has some sort of hip injury and it's significant enough that he may miss the conference championships. That would be a huge blow to the team, as he's in line to medal in all 3 of his events, plus he's a workhorse on the relays. I'll update his status as I learn more.
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Old 02-01-2022, 09:32 AM   #1428
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Berry/Millsaps vs Birmingham Southern - BerryVikings.com Recap

Berry's men's swim and dive team had a solid performance Saturday at a dual meet against Birmingham-Southern and Millsaps. The Vikings topped the Majors, 178-43, and came up short against BSC, 153-111.

"It was a great dry run for the SAA Championships," said Berry head coach Paul Flinchbaugh. "Everyone swam and dove well and were very competitive. It seems like just yesterday we started the season and now we're three weeks away from the conference championship."

Highlights for Berry included:

Bear Breeze winning an exciting 1000-Yard Freestyle by .17 seconds with a time of 10:18.90.
Ross Valdez taking the 200-Yard Freestyle by over five seconds in 1:45.92, and recording a season-best time to win the 100-Yard Fly with a :53.60.
Sam Tate winning the 100-Yard Breaststroke in 1:00.52.
Ethan Whiting winning the 200-Yard Fly in 2:01.99

The Vikings will next compete at the SAA Championships at the Birmingham Crossplex Feb. 16-20.

Last edited by Breeze : 02-01-2022 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 02-02-2022, 10:15 AM   #1429
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General Update - Academics

The Berry College men's and women's swimming & diving teams have been selected by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) as a Scholar All-America Team. The men and women posted GPAs of 3.11 and 3.4 respectively to earn the honors.

The men had 2 swimmers achieve perfect 4.0 GPA for the Fall Semester (Bear was 1 of the 2), and they had 7 additional swimmers post a 3.5 GPA or better.
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Old 02-07-2022, 03:03 PM   #1430
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SAA Conference Championship Preview – Millsaps Majors



2022 Projected Finish – 7th
2021 Finish – 6th
2021 Score – 156


Millsaps is a small team consisting of only 6 swimmers. This will severely hinder their overall score because they basically forfeit all 5 of their B relay scores. Moreover, while they have 6 swimmers, 5 of those 6 would be considered below average in conference. In fact, those 5 swimmers last year, with Sewanee basically skipping the meet, thus making backend points easier to earn, managed to get 22 points combined, with 10 being the high. Those 5 will likely struggle to match that 22 point total this year.

The final member of the team is the complete opposite. Bryan Sullivan is a transfer student from Drury University. He is also 6 years from his high school graduation so he’s eligible to swim here only because of the Covid rules from last year. Sullivan is entering the meet as one of the top sprinters in conference and will be competing for conference championships in whichever 3 events he enters. He is currently the top seed in the 50 Free, 100 Fly, and 100 Back, and is the second seed in the 100 Free.

Last edited by Breeze : 02-11-2022 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 02-08-2022, 10:26 AM   #1431
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SAA Conference Championship Preview - Sewanee Tigers



2022 Projected Finish – 6th
2021 Finish – 7th*
2021 Score – 36


Let’s start by explaining last years low score of 36 points. During last year’s meet, Sewanee allowed each student to determine if they wanted to participate with the understanding that if the swimmer attended the event they would be isolated in quarantine when they returned to campus for 14 days, and assuming they tested negative at the end of that period would be allowed to return to the general population. With that restriction in place, 1 guy and 1 girl from the team elected to compete.

The one guy who competed, James Hoyt, managed a very respectable 36 points, making A finals in the 500 Free, 400 IM, and 200 Free. He was a senior last year (also likely why he elected to compete, so he’d get to swim his senior session in conference), but he won’t be returning this year. Leaving the team with 8 “swimmers”. I use quotations because at least 1 of the swimmers is really a diver that only swims to allow the team to have 2 relays. Of the 8 swimmers, I would rate one as excellent, one as very slightly above average, 1 as slightly below average, and two that could get back end points if things break right. There is also a diver that will score a decent number of points, especially if he competes in the 1 meter and 3 meter events. In all honesty, the difference between Sewanee and Millsaps is likely to be less than the diver’s totals and whatever the B relay earns.

*Note: Sewanee didn’t field a full team in 2021

Last edited by Breeze : 02-11-2022 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 02-09-2022, 09:27 AM   #1432
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SAA Conference Championship Preview - Hendrix Warriors



2022 Projected Finish – 5th
2021 Finish – 5th
2021 Score – 368


Hendrix appears to have a full contingent for the 2022 conference meet. They show 18 swimmers competing during the regular season, which is an increase from last years group of 14 that showed up in Birmingham. Unlike Sewanee and Millsaps that have at least 1 very strong swimmer, the Warriors are more built on depth. Looking at their ratings on the collegeswimming.com site, I’d say they have 5 swimmers that I would call good to very good. The best of these swimmers are capable of getting points between say low to mid 20s to low 30s. There are another 5 to 6 swimmers that are average, and depending on how they perform and how deep with talent some of the events are, they could earn nice returns for the team. The remainder of the roster will have to hope for back-end points (assuming none are also divers). It appears, from results during the season that Hendrix has greatly improved their talent. Even with Suwanee taking more than 36 points this year, Hendrix could match or even improve on their 368 point total from 2021.

Because this team has 10 good swimmers, they should be very strong in the B relay. There are some pretty big gaps in several relays where Hendrix even with PB times on all swimmers isn’t likely to move up on the field. In those cases, the team might elect to split their top 4 between the A and B relays to see if they can hold on to their seed on the A side, while winning the B relay. It will be something to watch.
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Old 02-10-2022, 11:29 AM   #1433
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SAA Conference Championship Preview – Centre Colonels



2022 Projected Finish – 4th
2021 Finish – 3rd
2021 Score – 671


Centre appears from my count to have 15 swimmers and 2 divers, which puts them 1 slot short of a full team. The 2 divers, who aren’t great will both earn a disproportionate amount of points due to the fact, the conference doesn’t have that many divers, so simply showing up will earn you around 10 points minimum per event (assuming they do both the 1 meter and 3 meter). Of the 15 swimmers – Centre has 1 that is excellent, 3 that are just a hair below that, and then 5 more that are very good – that’s 9 swimmers in the very good and above range. They also have 2 others that are good and 1 that’s average and 1 slightly below average, with another couple that could sneak some backend points.

The interesting thing with Centre is the disparity I’m getting in their rating and projections. I have 1 view that indicates the Colonels won’t be far behind the top 3 teams, and another that suggests they may struggle to hold off Hendrix for this spot. My assumption is they will hold off Hendrix by a decent margin but will fall about that far behind the 3rd place team as well.
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Old 02-11-2022, 09:26 AM   #1434
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SAA Conference Championship Preview – Rhodes Lynx



2022 Projected Finish – 3rd
2021 Finish – 4th
2021 Score – 647


Rhodes, like Berry, has been recruiting extremely well in recent seasons and it looks like they have more than a full team for conference. I count 19 swimmers and at least 1 diver (who has a chance to win the conference title in both the 1 meter and 3 meter). The Rhodes team is full of talented swimmers – I count 16 that would rate at above average to excellent – that would leave the final spot for the 1 swimmer that I would rate is just average.

Last year, Rhodes’ Arthur Bishop won Freshman of the year for the conference championship meet (benefited greatly by the fact that Berry swimmer Ross Valdez got out of Covid protocols 3 days before the start of the meet), and this year they will almost certainly win that award again. The best freshman in conference during the regular season has been Rhodes distance swimmer Daniel Snyder. Snyder already has a B cut for the NCAA D3 Championships in the 1650, and he’s around 1 second off getting B cuts in both the 200 and 500 Frees as well. Baring something strange happening, he will undoubtedly medal in all 3 of his events – and will likely compete for gold. They also have Evan Ziolkowski, who was in the running for best swimming in conference last year. He likely won't be a serious threat for that title this year, but he'll still be a factor in every event he enters.

Last edited by Breeze : 02-11-2022 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 02-12-2022, 05:54 PM   #1435
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SAA Conference Championship Preview – Birmingham Southern Panthers



2022 Predicted Finish – 1st
2021 Finish – 1st
2021 Score – 808


The SAA conference heavyweights, Birmingham Southern, will almost certainly win the championship again this season. Coming into the season, they seemed like they might be vulnerable, they didn’t have a great recruiting class and the Vikings were close to them for most of the championship meet last year, plus Berry did have a good recruiting class. However, while BSC didn’t sign a a lot of great freshman, they did bring in a Turkish transfer swimmer from Arizona State, Jakob Icimsoy, who will compete for top swimmer in conference, and significantly bolster their already strong relay teams.

Defining how good Icimsoy is as a swimmer is probably best explained by simply pointing out that he has an NCAA B cut in the 400 IM. The toughest technical event in swimming and he’s only about 1 second off from getting what is believed to be the invite time (which means he’d actually compete at the national championships). The biggest issue with Icimsoy is trying to figure out, what the other 2 events he’ll swim are. He’s one of the top freestylers regardless of distance, and he actually has the fastest 200 back coming into the championship meet. My guess is 100 free and 200 back, but we’ll have to wait and see. He is one of 3 swimmers in that are elite for this conference.

Over the last 2 seasons the best swimmer at the championship meet has been Charlie Fountain. Last year, he won all 3 of the events he swam, earning a perfect 60 points for the Panthers. As a freshman in 2020, he managed a win and two second place finishes. This year though, things are likely to be much tougher. Fountain usually swims the 500 and 1650 Frees and the 400 IM, which puts him in direct competition with Rhodes’ Snyder, Berry's Ross Valdez and his teammate Icimsoy, these are the top 3 swimmers in conference. He’ll definitely be in the running to medal in all 3 events, but it’ll be the toughest field he’s gone against in his 3 years of college swimming. Fountain is an excellent swimmer, and if he performs well at conference he might even reach an elite score, but for now he'd be considered just short of that standard.

After this 1 elite swimmer and 1 high excellent one. BSC has 6 more that would rate as excellent, Bolding, Henderson, McClain, Prevost, Rubin, and Swing, with Kraft, Maggio, and McDade just a touch below that. The remainder of the team is made up of mostly average to good swimmers, with only 1 probably slightly below average. Interestingly, it looks like the Panthers only have 15 swimmers and 2 divers, meaning they are 1 short of a maximum roster.

Last edited by Breeze : 02-12-2022 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 02-13-2022, 11:40 PM   #1436
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I have often wondered where Bear got the 'Bear' moniker. You may or may not have mentioned it at the beginning of the thread, but that was many years ago and I may have known and forgotten.


Well, pondering answered! I looked up Berry on the collegeswimming website and clicked on a link for Bear in the Times section (50 free) and. lo and behold, saw that his name is Barrett Breeze.


Mystery solved... Barrett=Bear.
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Old 02-14-2022, 07:18 AM   #1437
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Hey TA,

Yeah, I'm sorry, I thought I mentioned that at some point, but I can't be sure. We've called him Bear since day 1, so it's just comes natural.
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Old 02-14-2022, 09:40 AM   #1438
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SAA Conference Championship Preview – Berry Vikings



2022 Predicted Finish – 2nd
2021 Finish – 2nd
2021 Score – 737


When the season started, I felt like Berry was a shoo-in for second place, and with some luck might challenge Birmingham Southern for the conference title (at least scare them a little). Unfortunately, luck for the Vikings has been anything but good. At the start of the season, Berry appeared deep enough that all 18 competing at conference were going to be capable of earning a minimum of 10 points. However, Collin Dillard is academically ineligible, and worse – Noah Brand, one of the top sprinters in conference and a medal threat in each of his events, appears to be out with a hip injury. Last year Noah earned 54 points alone, and he was a pivotal member of 4 relays. With those two out, the team will now be forced to field 2 swimmers that if they earn any points at all, it will be backend points and likely won’t exceed 3 or 4. This is so devastating to the overall team that I’m not totally confident picking Berry to hold on to second place.

Of the men that will be competing at conference, the best, and arguably the best in conference is Ross Valdez. He will be competing for the conference’s best overall title, but he’ll also likely be going head to head with Daniel Snyder of Rhodes in both the 500 and the 1650. Two of the 3 best in conference going head-to-head in at least 2 events. Ross, should medal in all 3 of his races and he’s looking at posting a score in the 50s for the team.

After Ross, the next highest ranked Berry swimmers are Ethan Whiting, Sam Tate, and Bear. All 3 would be viewed as excellent and likely to be in several A finals. Here is another area where luck has worked against Berry. Both Ethan and Bear are distance specialist, meaning if they compete in the 500 and 1650 they will be going against Valdez and Snider mentioned above, along with BSC’s Fountain and Swing who’ve gone 1-2 in both those events the past 2 years. Meaning the distance events are exceptionally deep in this conference which will likely limit the return that Bear and Ethan will be able to provide. Tate is an extremely versatile swimmer and at this point I’m not sure what he’ll be competing in at conference. If I were me, I’d have him in the 100 back, 100 breast, and 200 IM, but there are other options for him including the 200 breast.

According to collegeswimming.com rankings, the remainder of the team consists of 7 that are good to very good, Bartik, Blood, Kenny, McKinnon, McNeil, Rico, and Smathers,1 just a notch below that Richards, and 1 that I would call above average, Horn. Then there are 2 that are average, Stephenson and Croker, but one of those two – Tyler Stephenson, has not performed up to his level this season. He’s a senior, and he’s been working on getting into different med schools, and I believe that effort has impacted his training. If he was able to focus over the last few weeks on his swimming, he could pop a couple of good breaststrokes like he did last year and move his score up into the good range. The last two swimmers are well below average and there is 1 diver, who will benefit from a small field in the 1 meter event and will likely earn around 8 points for finishing last.

Last edited by Breeze : 02-17-2022 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 02-15-2022, 07:28 AM   #1439
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Conference Championship - General Update

Generally, around this time I would break down how Bear fits in the events he'll be competing in. Who he's going against, what seed he is, how strong the field is, stuff like that. However, the conference hasn't posted the psych sheet yet so I don't have any idea. In fact, I'm a little irritated at the whole situation. It's as if Covid last year allowed them to half-ass the set up for the meet, and this year it's fine to continue to half-ass it. There isn't a single article on the SAA conference website about the fact the swimming championships take place and they start tomorrow at this point. However, I can find articles and videos for the meet from 2 years ago on the landing page for swimming. It's just lazy on the conference's part.

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Old 02-18-2022, 03:41 PM   #1440
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Thread Update

Bear told us on Wednesday night that someone at Berry stumbled across this blog. I'm not exactly sure how that happened, because I frequently go to Google to see if I can run an search that will identify this thread and I've never been successful. Despite searching for items I know are contained in the discussion. Regardless, the person that found the content, immediately went to several of the swimmers to report that someone on the Internet was trashing them online.

I want to take a moment to clear up a few items so that my posts can be put in the proper context.

1. When I refer to a swimmer as not likely to score at conference, or only capable of taking back-end points, that is determined based on researching a number of items including the swimmers personal best, season best times, times and conference rankings in events for the season, previous results from conference championships, and more. The observation is simply designed to state the situation not to insult the swimmer.

2. Above (and basically anywhere in the thread) when I refer to a swimmer as Elite, Excellent, Very Good, etc. the labels are my own, but the assigning of those labels isn't arbitrary or my personal opinion, they are 100% based off of the collegeswimming.com swim scores. I used >700 as Elite, from 600 - 699 as Excellent, Upper 500s as Very good, mid 500s as Good, and average is around a 480. All I've done is compile the information in one place, and made it easier to read and understand by labeling the score.

3. I have been involved in this sport now for over 15 years, and I completely understand the level of dedication and commitment it takes to be a swimmer and I have the utmost respect for anyone, regardless of ability, that is willing to put forth that much effort. In fact, truth be told, there is a part of me that respects the swimmers that continue to swim, but don't win medals or make finals more, because they don't get the rewards but they sacrifice anyway.

I have from the start tried to keep this blog honest with regards to how my kids are preforming, which at times means I've been less than complementary. I may have allowed that frankness to seep into my overall team assessment. If I offended anyone on the team, I apologize that was not my intent. I am a big fan of Berry's entire team and I root hard for every swimmer.

Last edited by Breeze : 02-22-2022 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 02-19-2022, 12:51 AM   #1441
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Originally Posted by Breeze View Post
Hey TA,

Yeah, I'm sorry, I thought I mentioned that at some point, but I can't be sure. We've called him Bear since day 1, so it's just comes natural.


No problem. You probably did mention it at some point but I just missed it or forgot. It has been 10+ years worth of thread and I was already old when it started.
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Old 02-20-2022, 06:18 PM   #1442
Breeze
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Berry College - Conference Championship Update

This ended up being a very difficult championship for Berry. I've already reported the injury and academic issues for Noah and Collin. Well, apparently 2 team members quit right before conference: the diver, Fuentes-Bonilla, and Hunter Erb. It's really a shame they quit - especially right before conference. You do all the hard work and don't get the benefits of the fun at the end of the season. Bonilla would have earned about 8 points in the 1 meter and if he had been willing to struggle through the 3 meter, he'd have earned another 10. Hunter Erb was still in a back end points only position, but his times had improved dramatically from the beginning of the season, and he had posted several personal bests in December and January. With some more training he potentially could have reached a regular B finals performance level. With those two no longer available Berry was unable to fill a full 18 man roster.

Then another swimmer, Emilio Rico ended up being injured. He twisted his ankle prior to the meet, and he attempted to swim, struggling through the 200 IM and taking 16th place. After that race, the decision was made to withdraw in order to protect the ankle from any potential further damage. This also reduced the roster of swimmers that Berry was able to field.

Finally, Sam Tate's grandmother passed away the first night of competition, which placed a long shadow over the entire event. Sam swam very well despite the difficult news he was dealing with.

Last edited by Breeze : 02-20-2022 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 02-21-2022, 09:54 AM   #1443
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SAA Conference Championship - Day 1 Finals

The first night of competition was just 2 relays - the 200 Medley and the 800 Free.

200 Medley Relay - B Heat- The Berry team consisted of Blood (back), Stevenson (breast), Bartik (fly), and McNeil (free). they all swam strong legs but finished second in the heat, losing to BSC. A few of interesting observations from this heat - to start, while the team finished second in the B final, their overall time was the 5th fastest in the event, faster than every A team except BSC, Berry, and Centre. McNeil split a 21.11, which is very fast, Bartik split a 23.19, which was the second fastest of his heat out of the 7 teams, and Stevenson split a 26.72, which was the 5th fastest split in the entire event. I was hopeful these were indications of swimmers being in good form for the week.

200 Medley Relay - A Heat - the team consisted of Richards (back), Tate (breast), Valdez (fly), and Kenny (free), and just like the B team, the A team was second in the heat losing out to BSC. Tate split under 26 seconds and Kenny was under 21. Ross' fly was strong, but he wasn't swimming that event at conference so his split was a bit irrelevant for any future impact.

800 Free Relay - B Heat - Rico, Smathers, Bartik, and Whiting managed to win the B final. Whiting had the best spit at 1:44.65 with a rolling start. The team managed to get the 5th fastest time in the event.

800 Free Relay - A Heat - the Breeze, Blood, Kenny, Valdez group finished 3rd overall. Bear lead off the relay with a split of 1:44.88, which was a personal best. Ross, who had the fastest split of the group managed to do 1:41.87 on the anchor, but both BSC and Rhodes had 2 swimmers with a better split than that, which explains the Berry 3rd place finish.

Last edited by Breeze : 02-21-2022 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 02-22-2022, 08:19 AM   #1444
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SAA Conference Championship - Day 2 Prelims

Bear

500 Free (4:48.08) - 7th Seed - the morning session started off with the 500 free, and the event was completely loaded. As I mentioned in the pre-meet write up there were 3 "elite" swimmers - Icimsoy, Snider, and Valdez - all 3 were in this event. As was Fountain, who was just a hair under the 700 point score that denoted an elite label. In addition to those 4, BSC entered Swing and Maddio and Berry added Whiting to the mix. The heats were fast, but Bear looked exceptionally good. After opening with a 52.27 split, he had a 56.89, then a 57.57, a 58.13 and a 57.58 to post a 4:42.44. That time was only .7 off of his personal best, and the second fastest time of his career. He finished prelims as the 4th seed, but it was pretty obvious that Icimsoy had laid off the last half of the race and had much more in the tank - so 4th was likely out of the question - but things were shaping up for a pretty good race with Joe Swing and Ethan for 5th, 6th, and 7th. Ross qualified with the top time of 4:36.99. The time required to make the A final this year was over 4 seconds faster than last year!

Other items of interest:

200 IM

- Sam Tate qualified 2nd
- Ryan McKinnon narrowly missed the A final (.09) and is the top seed in the B
- Billy Blood and Alex Bartik are 12th and 13th, while Emilio Rico is 16th

50 Free

- Hunter Kenny tied for 7th
- Harrison McNeil was only .06 off Kenny's pace but settled for 9th seed and top spot in the B final
- Breck Richards was 12th

Last edited by Breeze : 02-22-2022 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 02-22-2022, 12:58 PM   #1445
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SAA Conference Championship - Day 2 Finals

The finals for day 2 were postponed for inclement weather almost immediately following the morning session. The Birmingham Crossplex closed the facility at noon to insure no one would be on sight when the storms came through, and they did come through. There were tornado warnings throughout the evening and several of the surrounding towns had substantial wind damage.

With this cancellation the decision was made to run the Day 2 finals the following morning and then the Day 3 prelims the following night. This would flip all finals to morning sessions and all prelims to the evening. In addition, it would require extending the meet an extra day, which caused all sorts of problems for the teams, who weren't booked to stay in the hotel for that extra day. In fact, the Berry team had to move out of their hotel on Saturday morning and move into a different hotel Saturday night, then check out Sunday morning before heading to the pool.
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Old 02-24-2022, 08:37 AM   #1446
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SAA Conference Championships - Day 3 Morning Finals

Bear

500 Free (4:42.44) : 4th Seed - Bear had another very good swim. He was a bit unfortunate here as he found himself in a lane between the top swimmers to his inside and Jakob Icimsoy, who backed off in prelims to conserve energy to his outside. Thus Bear was caught in the wash of all the leaders and from both sides. He did a nice job of fighting through it and he challenged his personal best again, but came up short with a 4:43.35. He slipped from 4th to 6th, getting beat by Icimsoy (which was expected) and Joe Swing beat him by about about 2 seconds. Bear did manage to beat teammate Ethan by just over 1/4 of a second. I think he was a little disappointed that he didn't break his record in this one - but given what he was fighting through it would have been asking a lot to get below 4:41.

We been through some seriously exciting 500s through the years. Something that seems odd to say given the race takes around 5 minutes to complete, but pretty early we had Bear chasing a state cut at 8 or 9 years old, and just missing it. We've had him compete for state titles in extremely closely contested races, and we've had him going for team records. This one was exciting as well, but not on an emotional and personal level, because this was exciting from just a pure competition and style basis.

Jakob Icimsoy took this race out fast. In the first 100 he was up .2 over both Daniel Snyder and Ross Valdez. By the second 100 he was up over a full second, and in the 3rd 100 he had stretched his lead to 3 full seconds. For your mental picture that's about 3 body lengths - so he has a substantial lead at this point. In the 4th 100, he loses about .2 on his lead, but he's still up by about 3 full seconds with just 100 to go. Trailing Jacob, Snyder has been slightly ahead of Valdez the entire race, holding about a .2 lead on him for second. In the final 100, Icimsoy hits a wall. His final split was 59.27 - that was the slowest of the entire field in the A final, and was beaten by 3 swimmers in the B final. The drop in speed started slowly but ended up being so dramatic that Snyder and Valdez, both continuing to swim fast, seemed to close on him like sharks swimming down pray. The amount of space made up in a short period of time was massive. By the first 50 (the 450 turn), Jakob's lead was down to almost exactly 2 seconds, which was noticeable and signaled that the race was far from over. The final 50 is where the tide really turned - Jakob was over 30 seconds, while Snyder and Valdez were 27.2 and 26.3 respectively. They completely blew by Icimsoy and battled to the wall with Valdez winning in an NCAA B cut time of 4:35.80, Snyder was about half a second back and Icimsoy finished just over a full second behind Snyder.


Other items of interest:

200 IM

- Sam Tate finished 3rd
- Ryan McKinnon finished 9th
- Billy Blood finished 12th
- Alex Bartik finished 15th
- Emilio Rico finished 16th (this was his last swim before withdrawing)

50 Free
- Hunter Kenny finished 5th
- Harrison McNeil finished 9th
- Breck Richards finished 11th

Last edited by Breeze : 02-24-2022 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 02-25-2022, 09:57 AM   #1447
Breeze
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SAA Conference Championships - Day 3 Evening Prelims

Bear

200 Yard Freestyle (1:46.89) : 6th Seed - Bear came into this event as the 6th seed, but his seed time was his season's best up until that point. His personal best at the start of the meet was a 1:45.91, but he bettered that as the leadoff in the 800 Free Relay on Wednesday night going 1:44.88. Given his strong swims in the 500, and his PB in this event to start the meet, I was eager to see how this would play out. Well, he finished prelims in 5th place behind some very familiar names including - Ziolkowki, Snyder, and Valdez. Bear once again swam a personal best - this time posting a 1:44.83 - just .05 faster than the relay swim a few days earlier, but still another PB.


Other Items of Interest:

400 IM

- Ethan Whiting qualified 2nd
- Ryan McKinnon 7th
- Riley Croker 12th


100 Fly

- Alex Bartik - tied for 8th, but lost the swim-off and ended up 9th seed for finals


200 Free

- Ross Valdez - 3rd seeded headed to finals
- Hunter Kenny - 8th
- Paxton Smathers - 10th
- Harrison McNeil - 12th


100 Breast

- Sam Tate - 3rd heading into finals
- Tyler Stephenson - senior swimmer got the 8th seed and made A finals (he was super pumped about getting into the A heat)
- Andrew Horn - 9th


100 Back

- Billy Blood - 6th
- Breck Richards - 7th
- Diego Torres - 14th

Last edited by Breeze : 02-25-2022 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 02-26-2022, 07:26 AM   #1448
Breeze
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SAA Conference Championships - Day 4 Morning Finals

Bear

200 Yard Freestyle (1:44.83) : 5th Seed - Bear was last at the end of the first 50, but it was very close early. At the 100 Bear moved into 7th place moving ahead of Maggio, and the top 4 - Ziolkowski, Valdez, Snyder and Lang had already separated from most of the field. At the 150, Bear was still in 7th place, just a fraction behind Carbone. In the last 50 Bear charged home, with the 3rd fastest split in the heat, only trailing the 2 swimmers at the front battling for first place (Ziolkowski and Valdez). The split was fast enough to move him from 7th to 5th overall as he out-touched his teammate Hunter Kenny by .09. Hunter and Bear were on opposite ends of the pool and it was so close we couldn't tell from watching who had gotten to the wall first, we had to wait for the scoreboard to flash up the times. Bear managed to swim his 3rd personal best in this event at this meet finishing in a time of 1:44.03. All in all - he dropped just short of 2 seconds in this event during the meet.

Other Items of Interest:

400 IM

- Ethan Whiting finished 4th
- Ryan McKinnon finished 6th
- Riley Croker finished 12


100 Fly

- Alex Bartik finished 9th


200 Free

- Hunter Kenny finished 7th
- Paxton Smathers finished 9th
- Harrison McNeil finished 12th


100 Breast

- Sam Tate finished 3rd
- Tyler Stephenson finished 7th
- Andrew Horn finished 9th


100 Back

- Billy Blood finished 7th (Billy swam the exact same 53.15 split in prelims and finals and check out his split in the relay below)
- Breck Richards finished 8th
- Diego Torres finished 13th


200 Yard Free Relay - This should have been listed in the previous days finals, I missed it when I was doing the write up.

B Relay - Bear teamed with Paxton, Alex and Ryan McKinnon in this one. Paxton lead off and his 22.72 handed Bear the overall lead, but it was very tight with 2 teams only .02 behind. Bear split a 21.73 - and by the time he was finished only 1 team was within a half a second and 1 other was just over half a second, the rest were close to a full second back. From here the Berry team just built on their advantage. Alex (21.81) expanded the lead to .6 over the next closest team, and Ryan with a strong 21.67 pushed the lead to almost a full second over second place.

A Relay - Hunter led off and opened with a very strong 21.52 off a cold start. Breck was second with a 21.8. Harrison swam a 20.8 and Sam closed in 20.93 to post a 1:25.05 and finish 2nd, ~.3 behind BSC.


400 Medley Relay

B Team - Breck started the event doing the back, and he ended up in a lane with a bad kick plate. The small ledge that retracts following the start had apparently malfunctioned earlier in the evening and it definitely looked to me like it happened to Breck as well. Breck is normally a very good starter, and in this case he came up well behind the pack, which is another indication something was wrong. His split of 56.32 is also about 2 seconds off his normal time - so definitely evidence he was impacted by the device malfunctioning - though I never heard a word from anyone that it did happen. Ryan swam the breast and his 59.33 - moved the team up into 2nd place. Alex swam another strong fly, splitting 52.25, and Harrison crushed the free in a time of 45.91. Berry finished 2nd in the heat, and the bad luck on the start, while it obviously hurt their overall time, they were 4 seconds behind BSC, so their place wasn't impacted at all.

A Team - Billy opened with a very good split for him posting a 53.18 (within .06 of his personal best and only .03 off his split in prelims and finals of the 100 back earlier in the meet). Sam followed with a 57.43 in the breast. Ross took the fly leg and swam it in 50.40, while Paxton took the anchor free and posted a 46.96. Berry finished 3rd behind BSC and Centre.

Last edited by Breeze : 02-28-2022 at 07:09 AM.
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Old 02-28-2022, 07:29 AM   #1449
Breeze
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SAA Conference Championships - Day 4 Prelims

Bear

Because of the change in schedule due to the inclement weather on Thursday evening, the meet was stretched out to Sunday morning. However, we continued to get mixed reports on when the 1650 was going to be held. At first it seemed like it was going to be held during this prelim session. The next day we heard it was going to be at Sunday morning finals, and then we heard they would only swim the top heat on Sunday morning and the rest would be swum now. As it turns out they did swim the early heats during this session, but Bear came into the 1650 seeded 5th, so he was earmarked for tomorrows session and he didn't swim in this one at all.


Other Items of Interest

200 Back

- Billy Blood qualified 5th
- Breck Richards qualified 7th
- Riley Croker is 12th


100 Free
- Harrison McNeil slipped into a finals in 8th
- Alex Bartik qualified 11th
- Paxton Smathers finished 14th


200 Breast
- Ryan McKinnon places 6th
- Tyler Stephenson comes in 1 spot behind in 7th
- Andrew Horn is 1 spot back of Tyler in 8th


200 Fly
- Ethan Whiting qualifies 3rd
- Hunter Kenny comes in 6th
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Old 03-01-2022, 08:03 AM   #1450
Breeze
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SAA Conference Championships - Day 5 Finals

Bear

1650 Freestyle (10:16.85) : Seeded 5th - The 1650, like Bear's other events was also loaded. Snyder, Valdez, Fountain, and Swing all competing. Because the conference wasn't sure everyone had enough opportunity to swim the 1650 during the season, the 1000 times were used for seeding. Bear came into this one with a lot of excitement. He really felt he had a chance to improve on his personal best time and maybe even challenge an NCAA B cut. The race started and Bear looked really good. Long smooth strokes and good splits, staying under 30 seconds for each 50. With the opening 55.57, plus sub 30 splits, he was well under 60 second 100s early. At the 500 split he was a 4:55.13. Unfortunately, at the 550 he started slipping just above a 30 second split. At the 1000 he was a 9:59.22, which was a season best time for that event, and a top 5 time for him with another 650 yards to swim. He was able to hold off falling above the 60/100 threshold for another 150 yards, but at the 1200 he was 12:01, and it was obvious his shoulders were bothering him. His stroke shortened up and became more labored. He continue to turn around 31 low splits, but slowly bled time back. In the last 100, he gutted out a split of 58.67 and finished in a time of 16:38.10, less than 1 second off of his personal best. He finished 5th, almost a full minute ahead of 6th place.


Other Items of Interest

1650 Free

- Ross Valdez finished 2nd


200 Back

- Billy Blood finished 6th
- Breck Richards finished 8th
- Riley Croker stayed 12th


100 Free
- Harrison McNeil climbed to 6th
- Alex Bartik finished 13th
- Paxton Smathers dropped 1 spot to 15th


200 Breast
- Ryan McKinnon posts 4th
- Tyler Stephenson held on to 7th
- Andrew Horn finished 8th


200 Fly
- Ethan Whiting slipped to 4th
- Hunter Kenny fantastic swim climbs up to 3rd and wins the bronze medal


400 Yard Free Relay

B Relay - this ended up being a Senior sendoff relay, as the coach shuffled Riley and Tyler into the lineup. Billy (49.25 cold start), Tyler (49.53), Riley (49.72), and Paxton (47.90) - combined to finish 4th in the heat.

A Relay - Hunter (47.57 cold start), Harrison (47.03), Sam (46.30), and Ross (46.53) managed to take the silver medal beating BSC by around a half a second.
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