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Inaugural swimming season ends at conference championship

With broken records and historical finishes, Oklahoma Christian University’s inaugural swim season came to a close at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship in Lewisville, TX Feb. 14-17.

Freshman Noah Woollweever said he could only think of one word to describe his first season as an Eagle swimmer: “amazing.”

On the opening day of competition, the 200-yard medley team of Woollweever, freshman Dylan Ingram, sophomore Kurt Gscheidle and sophomore Derek Duckworth became the first swimmers from Oklahoma Christian to record a medal finish.

The relay team placed fifth in 1:33.98, four seconds faster than their previous time, to set a new school record.

“The team did incredible at championship,” Woollweever said. “They showed great teamwork and perseverance.”

Freshman Caleb Brown broke another school record for the Eagles. He swam the 1,000 freestyle in 10:02.15, shattering the previous record by 52 seconds and placing 21st in the heat.

The Eagles posted a top-20 finish in the 200 individual medley. Sophomore Andrew Assaleh finished in 2:02.28 and placed 20th in the first day of competition.

For the women in the first day of the championship meet, they posted three record-breaking times and one podium finish.

In the 50 freestyle, junior Jamie McGarrigle broke her own school record twice, once in the preliminary race and the second time in the B final, setting the new record at 24.20 seconds. She placed third in the B final and 11th in the overall race.

Another school record fell to sophomore Heidi Fritscher in the 200 individual medley. In the C final race, she swam a 2:15.11 and placed 22nd overall.

The Lady Eagles 200 medley relay team consisting of McGarrigle, Fritscher, freshman Rachel Brumfield and freshman Hailey Webster broke the old school record by four seconds in 1:52.54. They placed seventh in the event, which represented Oklahoma Christian’s first ever podium finish in the event.

On the second day of competition, Gscheidle became the first Eagle swimmer to record a top 10 finish in a conference meet in Oklahoma Christian history.

Gscheidle swam the 100 butterfly, set a new school record at 50.30 and placed 10th overall.

Sophomore Daniel Rutledge broke the 400 individual medley school record by seven seconds, swimming 4:18.17 and placing 20th overall.

In the 200 freestyle, Brown also set a new school record. He swam the race in 1:47.01 and finished 19th.

Two Eagle relay teams also broke school records. The 200 freestyle relay consisting of freshman Carter Shelton, Woollweever, Gscheidle and Duckworth placed fourth overall in a new record time of 1:27.15.

The 400 medley relay team of Ingram, Woollweever, Gscheidle and Duckworth broke the old record by 11 seconds in 3:28.17.

Woollweever said the competition at the meet was extremely challenging with very fast competitors, which made the Eagles’ successes even greater.

In the second day of competition for the Lady Eagles, four school records fell.

Freshman Hanna Forbat set a new school record in the 100 butterfly at 58.67 to place 11th overall.

Fritscher swam the 200 freestyle in 1:56.68, which marks a new school record.

Two Lady Eagle relay teams set new school records. The 200 freestyle relay with McGarrigle Fritscher, Brumfield and Webster placed sixth overall in a new record time of 1:39.95. In the 400 medley relay, Webster, Forbat, Brumfield and Fritscher broke the previous school record by 10 seconds, setting the new time at 4:05.56.

The third day of competition at the conference championship brought the Eagles their first A final conference qualifier in school history.

Swimming the 100 backstroke, Woollweever broke his own school record in the preliminary race, finishing in 51.22 to make history and qualify for the A final. In the final, he broke his record again, swam a 51.19 and placed sixth overall.

“I’d have to say my greatest accomplishment this season would be breaking my record and making the A final,” Woollweever said. “Breaking my record felt amazing, and being the first Oklahoma Christian swimmer to make A final is an honor because we have so much talent on the team.”

Four more school records fell in the third day of competition for the Eagles.

Freshman Jimmy Burke set a new record in the 500 freestyle at 4:52.23 to finish 22nd overall. Ingram placed 19th in the 100 breaststroke in the record time of 1:00.25. Then, Gscheidle broke the 100 individual medley record by three seconds in 53.27.

The final record fell in the 800 relay. Brown, Burke, sophomore Micah Young and Ruteledge finished the race in 7:17.12, more than 16 seconds faster than the previous record.

For the Lady Eagles on the third day of competition, only one school record fell to Forbat in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:09.12.

On the final day of conference championship competition, the Eagles broke four school records and had two swimmers qualify for B finals.

Woollweever qualified for the B final in the 200 backstroke. He broke his own school record in the final swim, finishing in 1:53.64 and placing 13th overall.

The second Eagle to make a B final, Assaleh swam the 200 breaststroke final in 2:15.49 to place 16th overall. He set a new school record in the event during the preliminaries at 2:12.79.

The Lady Eagles broke three school records on the final day of competition. Two were individually broken by McGarrigle. She set new records in the 100 freestyle (53.12 seconds) and the 200 breaststroke (2:29.71).

The final record fell in the 400 freestyle relay when McGarrigle, Fritscher, Webster and Forbat placed sixth overall in 3:36.47.

As the Eagles and Lady Eagles look toward next season, Woollweever said the team needs to continue to practice hard in offseason to come back better and stronger next season.

“To prepare for next season, the team needs to continue to practice hard and even harder when the next season starts,” Woollweever said. “The experience was amazing, unforgettable and I can’t wait to come back next year.”

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