Gardner-Webb Swimming Wraps Up Competition Saturday At Davidson, Looks Forward To Conference Meet

Tim Cowie Photo  |
Tim Cowie Photo |

by Garrett Simpson
Special Correspondent

DAVIDSON, N.C. – Gardner-Webb's men's and women's teams wrapped up the second and final day of competition at the Davidson Duals Saturday, with the women competing against Liberty, Georgia Southern and host Davidson. The men's squad squared off with Davidson.

Final Scores
Liberty 221, Gardner-Webb 93
Georgia Southern 173, Gardner-Webb 169
Davidson 205.5, Gardner-Webb 130.5

The Gardner-Webb women got the day off to a solid start by touching fifth in the 400-yard medley relay. The squad of Alina Gersib, Lili Toth, Tessa Walsh, and Kelsey Williams swam a time of 3:59.12.

The ladies had a strong showing in the 500-yard freestyle as London Shumacher ended up in fourth with a 5:07.47 out of heat one, followed by Spencer Lucas in seventh with a 5:14.47. In the 100-yard freestyle, Kelsey Williams led the 'Dawgs with a fifth place finish, touching in 54.72 seconds.

Cassie Ward led the way for Gardner-Webb in the 200-yard backstroke, touching sixth in 2:12.17. Ward was followed closely by teammate Juliana Denmark who touched eighth in 2:12.91. Their swims were followed by a strong third-place finish for Whitney Peters in the 200-yard breaststroke, where she finished in 2:26.90.

In the 100-yard butterfly, Tessa Walsh followed up her strong performance in the 200 butterfly with another second-place effort. Walsh touched in 57.54, while Hope Saunders swam a 59.33 – which was good enough for fifth position. London Schumacher grabbed a second place finish in the 400 yard individual medley, touching in 4:31.55. She was followed closely by teammate Lili Toth who touched third in 4:38.08.

The Lady 'Dawgs finished the meet off with a strong performance in the 200 yard freestyle relay. The "A" team of Kelsey Williams, Lili Toth, Mackenzie Ropka, and Alina Gersib finished third in a 1:39.04, outlasting the "B" team from Liberty by .05 and the "A" team from Georgia Southern by over a second.

The women's swim team will return to the pool one more time this season as they compete at the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association championship meet in Athens Georgia from February 15th-18th.

Head Coach Mike Simpson: "We did a much better job of concentrating on the little details today and that was our biggest objective of the weekend. We also swam solid relays today and that was another point of emphasis. Overall the scoreboard does not reflect what we accomplished. We gave up 32 points to Georgia Southern in diving and only lost that dual by four. We are poised and ready for a special week at conference."

Final Score
Davidson 199.5, Gardner-Webb 144.5

The Runnin' Bulldogs started the day off with a statement win in the 400 medley relay. The team of Connor Bos, Jordan Mintz, Zach Dingfield, and Hal McKay touched in 3:26.71 to top the Wildcats by more than a second. Bos led the way, opening with a 2.5-second lead in the first leg of the race, while Mintz extended the lead by a over a second. Dingfield and McKay left no doubt in the second half of the race, closing out the victory with over a body-length lead.

In the 500-yard freestyle, Davidson gained some momentum back, as the Wildcats' distance swimmers led from start to finish, sweeping the top two spots. Peter Wakely used a strong second-half to break apart what appeared early on to be a 1-2-3-4 sweep for the 'Cats, touching in 4:47.85.

Davidson kept their momentum in the 100-yard freestyle, as senior Ari Snyder narrowly touched-out Bos by .08. Bos touched second in a 47.46, while Hal McKay was just behind in a 48.42 to finish third. The next event was the 200-yard backstroke, where the Bulldog duo of John Baker and Jason Smith narrowly fell to Davidson's Brian Hynes and Cole Riggan. Baker and Smith touched in 1:57.07 and 1:58.41 respectively.

The 'Dogs fought back in the 200-yard breaststroke, as the freshman duo of Jordan Mintz and Elliot Gayken absolutely dominated the field to touch first and second. Mintz led the way from the start, winning in a 2:06.46, while Gayken used a strong second half to pull away from the field in 2:07.09. Tyler Gomez swam a gutsy 100-yard butterfly for the Bulldogs, overcoming a body-length deficit to Davidson's Chris Cardwell in the second half of the race to win with a time of 51.97.

The momentum shifted again in the 400-yard individual medley, as Davidson's Crossan Cooper outlasted Peter Wakeley for the win. Wakeley swam a tough race from start to finish, touching in 4:11.42 to hold off a fierce second-half comeback from Davidson's Spencer Davies.

In the final event of the meet, the 200-yard freestyle relay, the Wildcats narrowly out-swam the Bulldogs, touching first in 1:25.62. The Gardner-Webb team of Dingfield, Bos, McKay, and Riley Brock put up a tough fight, finishing in 1:25.96.

The men's swim team will return to the pool one more time this season as they compete at the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association championship meet in Athens Georgia from February 15th-18th.

Head Coach Mike Simpson: "One of our biggest goals for the weekend was swimming great relays. Our men won three of four. We were really good in spots – Jordan Mintz in both breasts, Connor Bos, Hal McKay and Zach Dingfield in relays. It's taper time and the men are ready to rest and crank."