Women’s Swimming set a record for the wettest senior day in Westmont Athletics history – not because of the water in the pool, but because of a nearly two inches of rain that fell from the sky. The added moisture, however, did not put a damper on the Warriors’ enthusiasm or performance. Westmont defeated The Master’s in a dual meet by a score of 143-99.
The senior class of five is the first group of swimmers to have entered together as freshmen four years ago when the program began.
“The interesting thing about these five is that we all got to experience being freshmen on the Westmont College Swim Team together,” said head coach Jill Jones Lin during the ceremony honoring Rian Lewandowski, Emma Leathers, Bailey Lemmon, Gaby Rego and Morgan Bienias. “With this group of women, I got to share my vision for Westmont Swimming and my hope for their class to be, as Hannah Thompson would say, ‘the founding mothers’ of the program.
“They immediately bought into the idea that Westmont Swimming was going to be a special place where they were valued far beyond their swimming abilities and where they got to be active participants in developing a team and team culture from scratch. They have continually been my anchors and the glue that has held this team together through some very difficult times, and for that I am incredibly grateful.”
The meet started with the Westmont quartet of Lewandowski, Ella Chaisson, Emma Diehl and Lemmon, winning the 400 medley relay in a time of 4:08.33, which was a season best.
Olivia Garrison then won the first of her three races, posting an NAIA provisional qualifying time of 2:00.22 in the 200 yard freestyle. Chaisson took second in the event in a time of 2:00.49, which also beat the provisional qualifying time.
“Ella had a great meet with a couple of wins and Olivia swam really well today,” said Jones Lin. “We’ve been wearing ‘fast’ suits any chance we get since it’s our last chance to qualify and attend the NAIA nationals meet. We are trying our best to make every meet and every race count.”
In the 100 yard backstroke, Lemmon claimed first place with a time of 1:02.45, beating her nearest competitor by nearly a second.
In the 100 yard breaststroke, Chaisson recorded a school record 1:07.49 to place first. She beat her own record by six-hundredths of a second.
Emma Diehl outswam her opponents in the 200 yard butterfly, touching the wall in a time of 2:22.71. Then Garrison picked up her second win with a time of 26.33 in the 50 yard freestyle.
The 500 yard freestyle was won by Chaisson in an NAIA provisional qualifying time of 5:22.88. Then, Garrison won the 400 yard individual medley in another provisional qualifying time of 4:50.87.
Jones Lin pointed out that, “Abby Rickard swam the 400 individual medley for the first time ever today and did an incredible job. Morgan made her comeback in today’s meet after a semester abroad.”
Next, Westmont will make their way to Fairbanks to take on the Nanooks of Alaska in a two-day dual meet on Friday and Saturday in Patty Center Pool. The two teams swam against each other in Santa Barbara at the end of October with Westmont winning both days.
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.