The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Swimming Championships were record breaking for the Tigers, who collectively crushed 16 school records.
While both the men’s and the women’s teams placed second overall in the tournament, their performance across the board seemed to signal only good things for the future of this very young program.
Freshman Olivia Dilorati swam quite literally at her own pace, setting three individual records and two more as a member of relays. Surprised by the astounding results, Dilorati explained she wasn’t quite sure what to expect while transitioning from a three-sport athlete in high school to a single-sport swimmer in college.
“I wasn’t sure how [swimming at CC] was going to be, but seeing all the hard work come together was awesome. It was really unexpected to do as well as I did.” Dilorati said.
A lot of what fueled the young swimmer was anxiety: “I was so nervous because I wanted to do well for everyone else,” Dilorati said.
And “do well” she did, breaking a record in her very first event of the meet, the 400 medley relay.
Dilorati, who swims backstroke for the medley, was the first swimmer in the pool, and this only exacerbated the pressure.
“For the relay, you feel more pressure because it’s a more team-oriented race, you really want to swim your best to pump everyone else up,” she explained.
Dilorati also made the B-Cut for the NCAA tournament; however, she explained that it is unlikely her time will actually get her an invitation to the tournament because she is only a few tenths of a second faster than the qualifying time.
Freshman Megan Gillespie also contributed to the record-breaking meet, setting new school records in the 200 fly, the 400 individual medley, and joining Dilorati on the record-setting 400 medley relay with Jackie Nonweiler and Brenna Day. Nonweiler set a record of her own in the 100 breaststroke.
However, the storyline of the SCAC Championships does not belong solely to Dilorati and her female teammates; the CC men set several records of their own.
Sophomore Austin Howlett set program records in both of his diving events, and Robbie Adler, Chris Garritty, Flynn McGuire, and Colin Chupik set records in both the 200 and 400 medley relay. Not to mention the individual awards won by both Chupik and Garrity in the 200 fly and 100 back, respectively, and the 400 individual medley record set by Junior Kaleb Roush during prelims.
The team as a whole swam excellently, but it is important to note that the freshman class were stand out performers; winning 7 of the 12 individual medals, and contributing to every one of the winning relays.
Dilorati seemed quite optimistic about what this could mean for the program as a whole: “I was so impressed with the way everyone swam, especially the freshman class. We have a lot of depth in our class – our program is definitely getting stronger and hopefully that can attract other fast swimmers.”