Men’s and women’s swim teams dominate at ODACs

Both teams claimed first place on the first day and never let the wins go


Photo courtesy of Generals Athletics

Tanner Smith

After building up to the event all season, both the men’s and women’s swim teams decisively claimed first place in the ODAC Championship meet during the weekend of Feb. 9-11 in Greensboro, N.C., besting nine other schools.

On the men’s side, Tommy Thetford, ’18, Corey Connelly, ’18, Evan Kramer, ’20, and Patrick Sullivan, ’21, combined to post an NCAA “B” Cut and set a new meet record with a 200 free relay time of 1:21.86. Earning a “B” cut does not automatically qualify an individual or team for the NCAA championships, as an “A” cut does, but the fastest of the “B” cuts make the invite list.

On the women’s side, a team of Ashley Johnson, ’20, Emily Hageboeck, ’20, Ali McQueen, ’20, and Elle Chancey, ’19, set a new meet record in the 400 medley relay of 3:48.18, and earned a NCAA “B” cut as well.

Chancey was First Team All-Conference last year after winning the 200 free with a time of 1:51.21 and set a new meet record with that time. She said she thinks the whole season is preparation for ODACs.

“Every meet we’ve had this year is some sort of practice for ODACs, whether it be working on the little things like starts and turns, or just familiarizing ourselves with racing,” Chancey said. “ODACs is our chance to put everything together. I think it’s a lot easier to get excited and ready to race for this meet since it’s possibly our last opportunity to race for the year.”

Head Coach Kami Gardner designs the training for both of the men’s and women’s sides toward the end goal of the ODAC championships.

“Throughout the season we are breaking down their bodies and working them really hard,” Gardner said. “They are tired and sore. Leading up to ODACs we do what we call a tapper, which is basically that we are rebuilding everything. We are giving everybody rest so they can recover, so when they get to ODACs their bodies are prepared to swim fast.”

Outside of the training difference, Gardner thinks a change in wardrobe that occurs in the ODACs helps to propel the swimmers to be faster.

“We also have championship suits, which are significantly different,” Gardner said. “The championship suit goes down to the knee so it is more material and compresses the muscles so they don’t fatigue quite as fast. It also gives a little level of buoyancy.”

Chancey was confident in the training that had carried the teams to this meet and felt the teams were ready to build off the success they had already seen this season.

“Our coaches have challenged us and provided us with the training and help that we’ll need this weekend,” Chancey said. “The rest is up to us. As long as we’re confident and ready to race, I know that we’ll have a great meet.”

Both teams will have one more meet, the W&L Fast Chance Invite on Feb. 17, before the NCAA Championships in late March.