Swim Teams Make Big Splash

The CMS men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have been on a dominating run through January, losing only one event in meets against both Whittier and La Verne.

On Saturday, January 21, the Stags and Athenas swam at home against Occidental, now coached by former CMS swimmer and assistant coach Shea Manning.

Manning graduated from CMC in 2007 and was a four-time letter winner and eight-time All-SCIAC in both swimming and diving for the Stags. He was assistant coach with the CMS team for two seasons before moving into a role with NCAA Division I George Washington University and returning to the SCIAC to coach Occidental this year.

CMS Head Coach Charlie Griffiths said he has nothing but respect for Manning, who he helped recruit to the CMS program.

“He is a great swimmer and coach. I’m very pleased to see him return to the conference in a head coaching role,” said Griffiths.

Headed into the Occidental meet, Griffiths was confident, but wary of the talent Occidental brings to the table on the women’s side.

“Occidental’s women are a stronger team than we have faced in the last few weeks,” noted Griffiths. “Like us, they are 4-0 in the conference. I like our chances, but there will be some exciting races.”

On Saturday, Griffiths’ prediction proved accurate. The Athenas fell behind Occidental by two points after the one-meter and three-meter diving events, but quickly rallied by taking first and third in the 400-yard medley relay, and then notched a 1-2-3 sweep in the mile.

The pinnacle moment of the meet for the Athenas came from 2011 SCIAC Swimmer-of-the-Year Michele Kee. Kee dominated the 400-yard individual medley, touching at 4:32.68 to best a 14-year-old pool record by nearly four seconds.

“Earlier this week, Michele put up a few fast practice performances that caught everyone’s attention,” said Coach Griffiths. “We put some pressure on Michele before the 400 IM and she responded with a beautiful race.”

On the men’s side, the Stags dominated the meet, winning all 16 competitions for the second straight week. Berger posted a pool record in the 1650-yard freestyle, posting a time of 16:31.46, beating the previous record by more than three and a half seconds.

Diver James Stevick also proved to be a star for the Stags, notching an impressive NCAA-qualifying score of 320.70 in the three-meter competition while also winning on the one-meter board. Cameron Whiting was a double winner in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races and Vincent Pai won the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events. Seven additional Stags won individual events and CMS logged 1-2-3 finishes in both relay events.

Next up, CMS will take on Cal Lutheran January 28th before coming home to face Redlands on February 4th.