This article was originally published in ZU News.
APU’s swim team won their first two dual meets of the season in Alaska against the University of Alaska, Fairbanks with a score of 107-98 and 106-99.
“We came into the meet thinking we could win. We had a really positive attitude and we won both days,” senior Alyse Darnall said. “In the past three years, they’ve beat us, so it was cool to win both days this time.”
The Cougars had five first place finishes in the first meet on Oct. 20. These included junior Elodie Poo Cheong winning the 200-meter IM and the 100-meter freestyle, senior Rosalee Mira Santa Ana winning the 1000-meter free and 500-meter free and a team win in the 200-meter free relay.
“Personally, I didn’t do the best. But this meet wasn’t about times, it was about placing well. I didn’t have the best times this weekend, but that was okay,” Darnall said. “Elodie swam really well in her events. Our team really stepped it up this weekend.”
Swimming head coach Tim Kyle echoed Darnall’s team effort mentality.
“We had a very solid team effort. I’m content with where we’re at, but we have some work to do. I’m happy that our team really put forth their best effort at this point in the season. It was a good showing for us,” Kyle said. “We had a lot of people score points from the top to the bottom.”
Another member of the team that contributed greatly was junior Abigail Wiet.
“It went pretty well. I saw a lot of areas that I can build on. My times were all right. It just showed that I have some things to work on for the rest of the season,” Wiet said. “I’ve got some more training to do on my distance events. I need to get that extra push at the end of my events.”
Wiet won the 400-meter IM with a time of 4:43.11. She also finished as a runner-up in the 200-meter backstroke.
“I was just focused on the little things. It was a really good swim for me at this point in the season and it showed that my training has gone well,” Wiet said. “This team really battled through the meet today. Everyone did what they needed to do for us to win. It was really cool to see everyone contribute.”
Wiet said that she enjoyed the trip to Alaska because of how close it causes the team to get.
“I think it really brings us closer. It’s good team bonding. Alaska’s a good team, so it helps us figure out how we’re progressing through the season,” Wiet said.
Darnall said she also enjoyed the trip up north.
“It’s fun to get away from L.A., it can be super crowded and it’s nice to come out here,” Darnall said. “Being from Oregon, I love winter and it was nice to come up here and actually experience that before I go home for Thanksgiving.”
Kyle echoes how grateful he was for the team to get to go to Alaska every year.
“We’re just so blessed to come up here every year as a team. I’m really thankful to God for us to come up here and continually represent the university,” Kyle said.
The Cougars will return to APU to host their only home meet of the season against Biola on Nov. 4.
“I’m looking forward to being back at APU. When we’re at our home pool, we do really well,” Wiet said. “So I’m looking forward to some fast times, to see how much better we can get in the next two weeks.”
Kyle also noted the significance of hosting a meet at home.
“It’s always a great time for us to have a meet at home, to bring students and faculty to a meet. The team gets really excited about that,” Kyle said. “We’re looking forward to that support and seeing what we can do for the home crowd.”