Tough Competition Helps Swim Team
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.-The North Carolina swimming team competed in a four-team meet on Saturday, and collected its second straight win against Virginia Military Institute in the contest. The Aggies (2-4) took on Gardner-Webb University, Campbell University and VMI on Saturday in 12 events, and finished with a 1-2 record in the meet.
The Aggies left the pool with a 109.0-59.0 win against VMI, and a 178.0-25.0 loss to Campbell, and a 178.0-25.0 loss to Gardner-Webb. A majority of the swimmers competed in events that were not their normal race.
It was a tough meet for N.C. A&T, as Gardner-Webb has been a perennial power in the CCSA. But head coach Shawn Hendrix said she loaded the schedule to face tough schools early in the season to give her swimmers the opportunity to see where and how far they can go.
While no N.C. A&T swimmer placed higher than seventh in any event, the Aggies turned in solid performances.
"It went well," Hendrix said. "It was their best performance, compared to last weekend. We improved on turns, which was the biggest thing that we were working on."
Junior Lauren Bowling, who has been highly successful this season with three first-place finishes in butterfly events in her first two meets, was seventh in the 200-yard butterfly with a 2:25.22 time on Saturday. Bowling also finished seventh in the 400-yard IM with a 5:1.35 final time. Hendrix said the 400-yard IM is a challenging event, swimming that event first might have affected Bowling's time in the 200-yard butterfly. Her time in the 200-butterfly on Saturday was about five seconds slower than her time in that event last week.
Freshman Danielle Jackson finished seventh in the 200-yard freestyle, with a 2:18.43 time. She also placed seventh in the 200-yard breaststroke, clocking in at 2:47.87, just a hair shorter than her time in the 200-yard breaststroke in the Oct. 29 meet in Lexington, Va. Last week, Jackson finished the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:47.20, for first place in that event.
Sophomore Erika Eiseman finished seventh with a 2:40.2 final time in the 200-yard IM, and took 10th place in the 100-yard freestyle with a 1:02.66 final time.
Sophomore Christian Hill, who was nominated for CCSA Swimmer of the Week for her performance on Oct. 29, placed seventh in the 200-yard backstroke with a 2:28.22 time.
"Christian Hill swam the 100 back in 1:07 and some seconds, the same time she swam at the championships last year," Hendrix said. "She did really well."
Sophomores Courtney Jefferson and Courtney Wilkins finished in eighth and ninth place respectively in the 200-yard backstroke. Wilkins finished the 200-yard backstroke in 3:12.78, which was nearly five seconds better than her performance in that event last week at Lexington, Va. The 200-yard backstroke is a new event for Wilkins, Hendrix said. Jefferson also placed ninth in the 200-yard freestyle event.
The Aggies finished in ninth place in the 400-yard freestyle relay and eighth in the 400-yard medley relay.
"Speed will come with consistency in working on the small things," said Hendrix, who added that she is working with the swimmers to break bad racing habits and to be more efficient in their performance in meets.
"Some of our detail things we need to work on," she said. "We'll go back and work on them again."
N.C. A&T will take a week off before their next competition. The Aggies will compete in the Highlander Invitational from Nov. 17-19 at Radford, Va. They will take on St. Francis (Pa.) University, University of North Florida, Georgia Southern University, Liberty University, Campbell University, Mount St. Mary's University and Millersville University.
Hendrix said that she will use the off-week to good advantage, and to turn the team's focus to getting the best possible times to send into the CCSA for placement in the championships.