SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo men’s and women’s swim teams dropped a hard-fought effort in the pool Saturday morning at a blustery Bowman Pool. The men fell 112-91, while the women were edged 102-98. Before the contest, however, the Lions honored four departing seniors as they took to the Bowman Pool one final time.
Overall, SLU had three first-place finishes, including a pair by Tim Olson. Saint Leo also contributed four second-place showings. The women also swam a remarkable race closing the day with four first-place finishes, two of which were by Erin Hotchkiss.
The Lions took the first event of the afternoon in style, as the 200 Yard Medley Relay team led wire-to-wire. The team of Olson, Derek Maddigan, Matt Attal, and Kyle Gramm clocked in with a time of 1:41.79, a half second ahead of the Rollins quartet. Saint Leo continued their hot start as Matt Attal delivered the first individual first-place finish of the day in the 1650 Freestyle. He touched the line more than seven seconds ahead of his nearest competitor in the 66-lap event. In the 10th event of the morning, Tim Olson punched home his first individual win, giving the Lions nine points in the 200 Yard IM with a time of 1:58.63.
Senior Brian Kiessling (56.88) grabbed the second spot during the 100 Yard Butterfly, finishing less than second off the lead pace. Olson continued to dominate the pool in the second half of the meet, posting his second individual win. His time of 47.37 gave SLU four first-place finishes through the first 14 events.
Adding to the Lions point total was a trio of impressive races by Alex Prada, Attal, and Travis VanBuren, as each placed second in their respective events. Unfortunately, it was not enough as SLU was narrowly edged.
Hopes were high as the women took to the pool, and the 200 Yard Medley Relay team didn’t disappoint. The team of Alicia Adams, Mindy Pierce, Hotchkiss, and Alicia Thompson gave the Lions their first nine points of the day with a time of 1:59.42, finished less than a second of the Rollins crew.
Individually, Hotchkiss gave the Lions a big boost by winning the 1650 Freestyle. Her time of 18:28.31 was more 10 seconds ahead of any other swimmer. Jessica Pall claimed the second position in the 200 Yard Freestyle with a time of 2:08.47. Her second-place finish was matched by senior Erin Lucas as she was bumped by a tenth of a second in the 50 Yard Freestyle (26.43). Pall answered the bell though in her next event as she won the 200 Yard IM with a time of 2:28.23.
Hotchkiss and Thompson then went one and two in the 100 Yard Butterfly to give the Lions 13 much needed points, it was Hotchkiss’ second individual event win of the day. However, despite the Lions getting a pair of second-place finishes by Pierce and Adams in the final six events, SLU was edged by the narrowest of scores. Pierce was runner-up in the 100 Yard Backstroke with a time of 1:03.77, while Adams closed the 500 Yard Freestyle with a time of 5:34.41.
Despite the setback, Head Coach Paul Mangen was very excited his teams’ performances. He will now turn his attention to getting his squads prepped for the Blue Grass Mountain Conference Championships set to begin on February 17th in Charlotte, N.C.