Photo by Michael Wong
PASADENA, Calif. (Feb. 14, 2017) – The Caltech men's and women's swimming & diving teams are set to compete at the SCIAC Championships this Wednesday-Saturday, Feb. 15-18.
Location: Commerce! Brenda Villa Aquatic Center
5600 Harbor St, Commerce, CA 90040
The women's team brings back all three of last year's scorers in senior Zofii Kaczmarek (New York, N.Y. / Stuyvesant) and sophomores Brittany Percin (Lake Tahoe, Calif. / Stanford Online) and Gemma Takahashi (San Jose, Calif. / Leland), a trio which combined for an incredible 233.5 points – nearly doubling the prior year's team total. The addition of freshmen Elisabeth Gallmeier (Oak Ridge, Tenn. / Oak Ridge) and Angelina Pan (Toronto, Canada / Havergal Coll.) could be significant enough, particularly with the boost to relays, for the Beavers to catch one or more of the five teams that finished fewer than 152 points ahead of Caltech in 2015-2016.
Last year, Percin became the program's first individual champion in a swimming event, claiming the 200 Free title in an NCAA 'B' cut time of 1:52.52 and added a second 'B' cut in the 200 Fly, which she led at the 150-yard mark and staved off all but two others to net her second podium finish of the Championships. Takahashi contributed a fourth-place finish in the 100 Fly after earning the top seed in the preliminary session in addition to placing ninth in the 100 Back and 13th in the 200. Kaczmarek improved on the diving boards for the second consecutive season, finishing seventh on the 3-meter and 11th on the 1-meter.
This year's psych sheet puts Caltech in similar position to last year's, when the Beavers shocked the conference with significant time drops nearly across the board. Percin comes in with the highest seed at sixth in the 200 Free and ninth in the 200 Fly, with Takahashi ranking ninth in the 100 Fly and 13th in the 100 Back. Kaczmarek is tabbed to place ninth on the 3-meter board, while rookie Pan is slotted into 11th in the 100 Free and 17th in the 50 and sophomore Alix Espino (El Paso, Texas / El Paso) will try to crack the scoring in her debut season. The highlight of the list is the 800 Free Relay's positioning in sixth place, the highest for a Caltech women's relay since 1980. Pan, freshman Tzarina Shippee (San Diego, Calif. / La Jolla), Takahashi and Percin have already broken the program record in the 200 Free Relay this season.
The men's team also returns several individual scorers from last season in junior Hanzhi Lin (Potomac, Md. / Montgomery Blair) and sophomores Adam Dai (Santa Barbara, Calif. / Dos Pueblos), Dylan Lu (Kingwood, Texas / Kingwood) and Henry Steiner (Petaluma, Calif. / Casa Grande). Along with junior Avikar Periwal (Potomac, Md. / Montgomery Blair), who cracked the scoring as a rookie in 2014-15 and the addition of freshman standouts Thomas Gallup (Houston, Texas / Phillips Exeter Acad.) and Alex Moraru (Southlake, Texas / Carroll Senior), the Beavers will be looking to improve upon last year's eighth-place finish and 260 points.
Gallup, who already broke and has twice re-set the program record in the 100 Breast this season, is the favorite to score highest of any male Beaver with a fourth-place ranking in his trademark event. Steiner comes in as the sixth-seeded swimmer in the 100 Fly and is the only Beaver tabbed to score in all three individual events, ranking 11th in the 200 Fly and 15th in the 200 IM. Gallup is also seeded 11th in the 200 Breast, while Lu ranks ninth in the 200 Back and 14th in the 100 Back. Moraru and Willett are slotted at 14th in the 400 IM and 100 Free, respectively, with Moraru also tabbed for 16th in the 200 Back and Willett 17th in the 50 Free. No relay is seeded higher than seventh in the 'A' final, but the 'B' 400 Medley Relay could pick up some crucial points as it is ranked sixth in the consolation final.
*Psych sheet seeding does not factor in the maximum of four scoring swimmers or divers per team