by Garrett Simpson
ATHENS, Ga. – Gardner-Webb swimming got off to a solid start at the 2017 CCSA Championships Wednesday night, with the men's 200 medley relay team winning gold.
The Runnin' Bulldog men got the 2017 CCSA Championship meet off to a hot start in the 800 freestyle relay touching third in a school record 6:39.76. The foursome of Zach Dingfield (1:40.50), Hal McKay (1:39.34), Mason Hutchinson (1:39.46), and Cameron Pou (1:40.46) held off a tough fight form the squad from Florida Atlantic University, while the teams from University of Maryland Baltimore County and University of the Incarnate Word finished in first and second. The men of Gardner-Webb managed to narrowly touch under the old school record mark of 6:40.11.
The Gardner-Webb women started their championship with a strong showing in the 200 medley relay, touching in fourth place with a 1:44.27. Lara Siebrecht (26.15), Whitney Peters (29.13), Hope Saunders (25.47), and Kelsey Williams (23.52) put up a tough fight to outlast a charge from the "A" relay of the University of the Incarnate Word, who touched in 1:44.42. Liberty University got the win, taking advantage of a disqualification from Florida Gulf Coast University, touching in 1:39.32.
Following the diving break, the Runnin' Bulldog men took advantage of blazing splits from all four swimmers to take home the gold in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:27.66. The team of Connor Bos (21.44), Jordan Mintz (24.46), Tyler Gomez (21.54), and McKay (20.22) left no doubt in anyone's minds as they raced their ways to over a second and a half victory over the second place finisher Old Dominion University, who touched in 1:29.21.
This is the third year in a row that the Bulldogs have taken home the victory in this race.
In the final event of the evening, the 800 freestyle relay quartet of Lili T oth (1:50.69), Williams (1:52.93), Adel Kiss (1:56.43), and MacKenzie Ropka (1:52.69) touched fifth in a time of 7:32.74. Toth got the 'Dogs off to a blazing start, while Williams, Kiss, and Ropka maintained a strong effort to secure a solid finish for the Bulldogs, while it was the team from Florida Gulf Coast who took the win in 7:16.50.
Coach Mike Simpson was pleased with the team's performance on night one.
"The guys' 800 free relays were really good. We finally broke 6:40 which has been a long time in coming, and obviously we're excited that they got under the school record as well," said Simpson. "The men's 200 medley relays were impressive across the board. It's nice to win that race again and all of the guys are jacked going into the rest of the meet. The girl's relays were solid but not what they should have been. They know we should have been better so we're going to come at it with a fresh attitude in the morning and get it going early."
On the men's side, the Bulldogs sit in sixth place with 118 points, just 69 points behind first place Maryland Baltimore County. The women are currently in fifth place and are 38 points out of the top three.
200 Individual Medley
200 Freestyle Relay
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