This article was originally published in ZU News.
The Cougars’ swim team finished off their season in a big way, placing fourth of thirteen teams at the Pacific Coast Swimming Championships (PCSC) held in La Mirada from Feb. 14-17. The team broke six total school records in relays and individual events, with several swimmers setting personal best times.
On Wednesday, junior Abigail Wiet, junior Elodie Poo Cheong, senior Angel Van Hofwegen and freshman Emily Rigsby broke the school record in the 200-meter medley relay with a time of 1:46.00. They finished sixth in the event.
The Cougars also broke another record on Wednesday when Wiet, Poo Cheong, and seniors Alyse Darnall and Rosalee Mira Santa Ana swam a 7:33.92 in the 800-meter freestyle relay. They finished fourth in the event and Darnall said she was happy with the results.
“Wednesday was a fun day to kick it off. We broke the school record in that, which was really cool,” Darnall said. “We also got the provisional cut in that for nationals which means that we just need one person from the relay to make it to nationals for another event so that the whole relay team can go to nationals.”
In the likelihood that one of the members makes nationals, all four girls will attend nationals from March 14-17 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Darnall said she’s excited to find out if the relay’s time was good enough for nationals.
“We’ll keep training. Those are seriously some of the hardest working girls on the team and it’s really fun to train with them. I love working hard with other people,” Darnall said. “I’m also looking forward to ending my college career and swimming career at nationals in North Carolina.”
Darnall is one of four seniors on the team. This was her last regular season meet for APU.
“It really didn’t hit me until last night during prelims. I was behind the blocks before my race when it finally hit me that this is my last meet with the whole team,” Darnall said. “It’s very bittersweet. It doesn’t feel real. I’m sad, but excited. I’m going to miss the team because that’s a big part of my life, but I’m excited for the next chapter of my life, to see where God takes me.”
Darnall and the rest of the team will find out on Feb. 28 if they made it to nationals or not. Two of the swimmers who will likely be headed to nationals are Santa Ana and senior Tamara Miler.
Santa Ana placed second in the 500-meter freestyle with a time of 4:56.87 and placed fourth in the 1000-meter freestyle with a time of 10:16.38. Miler finished just behind Santa Ana in the 500-meter with a time of 5:03.31 but finished just ahead of her in the 1000-meter with a time of 10:13.83. All of their times in these events were good for an NCAA “B” cut.
Poo Cheong placed second in the 200-meter IM with a time of 2:05.10. Wiet finished just behind her with a time of 2:06.17.
“I’m really happy. This is the result of all the hard work I’ve put in. Some of the school records were really old so it shows the progress that we’re making, getting better and better every year,” Poo Cheong said.
Poo Cheong said she wants to continue to lower her times and get better before nationals. She is already preparing for the pressure of nationals after the pressure of conference championships.
“There was a lot of pressure, not in a bad way, just to show what I can do, what I’ve been working hard for, race and have fun,” Poo Cheong said.
On the final day of the championships, Wiet represented the Cougars with a third place finish in the 200-meter backstroke with a time of 2:02.18, just .01 behind the second place swimmer.
“I ended up getting out-touched by one one-hundredth of a second. It’s disappointing, you think if I only would have had a better turn or a better finish, it would have been different,” Wiet said. “I was just so exhausted afterwards that I don’t think I could have done anything more to out-touch that girl.”
Wiet has had a rough season, battling injuries from last summer, injuries throughout the season and even into the championships.
“It’s been kind of crazy. This whole year I’ve been riddled with injuries. Even at conference, I’ve been dealing with some injuries, so I haven’t been at top form,” Wiet said. “I’m prepared to go to nationals if I qualify, but I’m also prepared if I don’t make it. I had a great end of the season for me. Seeing the team come together and seeing everyone have really good times was good enough for me at this point.”
Wiet said that the season has been rough for the whole team, not just her, but that this was a good way to end it.
“It was a really fun meet. Sometimes our team has been a little ‘not together’ during the season,” Wiet said. “It was awesome to see everyone finally come together. It was emotional in a fun and exciting way.”