Terre Haute, Ind. – The Transylvania swimming and diving team mounted one of their greatest climbs in recent program history at this week's 2020 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championships hosted by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology at the Vigo County Aquatic Center.
The Transylvania women's swimming and diving team registered its best finish in the three-year history of the conference championships with a second-place team finish while the Transylvania men posted a fourth-place finish among six teams.
Competing over a three-day period of preliminary morning events and evening championship races, the Pioneers furnished a series of championship performances on their way to delivering the program multiple milestone team and individual finishes.
Senior Mattie Fogle defended her individual title in the women's 1650 yard freestyle championship on Saturday in a dominant performance. Fogle won the 1650 freestyle race in a grueling 18:34.74 time. The senior won by nearly 10 seconds in the championship race after winning by just over one second in last year's initial championship performance as a junior. Fogle added a top-three finish in the women's 200 freestyle championship to her credit on Friday (2:01.34).
Drew Dodds captured the championship in the men's 100-yard breaststroke on Friday, winning in 57.95 seconds. Dodds partook in a thrilling finish, winning by one one-hundredth of a second over Dylan Harker of Franklin College. The junior completed the inspiring climb to champion in the 100 breaststroke after taking fourth place in the event last year and third place at the 2018 HCAC Championships.
The theatrics continued for Dodds to finish off the week as the junior finished as the runner-up in the men's 200 breaststroke championship on Saturday; Dodds took second place by a finger, finishing seven one-hundredths of a second off of Harker, but broke a new Transy men's program record in the event with his time of 2:05.89.
The diving contingent for the Pioneers made its presence known in a long-awaited return to the board. After not fielding a diving team the last three seasons, the Pioneer trio did their part in helping the Transylvania women collect a significant share of points. Junior Kateleigh Lorimer took runner-up honors in the women's 3-meter dive on Thursday with a score of 284.10. Senior Abbie Haynes placed third in the championship event with a score of 271.30.
Transylvania's women's relay teams enjoyed multiple successes during the week and factored in significantly towards the second-place team showing. Emma Lloyd, Sarah Haerle, Sami Monarch, and Fogle teamed up to finish as the runner-up in the women's 400 medley relay championship on Friday with a time of 4:08.01.
On Saturday, Lloyd, Haerle, Monarch, and Lindsey Seaton collaborated to grab another runner-up finish in the women's 400 freestyle relay championship in a time of 3:47.28. In the middle day of action, the quartet of Fogle, Haerle, Lloyd, and Isabella Sonntag claimed a third-place finish in the women's 800 freestyle relay race (8:16.18).
Haerle completed her career with a pair of notable top-three finishes, taking third place in Saturday's women's 200 breaststroke finals (2:28.78) and completing the women's 100 breaststroke championship on Thursday as the runner-up (1:08.67). The senior also delivered a fourth-place finish in the women's 200 individual medley on Thursday to provide her team with a depth of points.
The Transylvania's men's relay team matched the women's team's success in one relay race as the Pioneers also delivered a top-three finish in the men's edition of the 800 freestyle championship; Dodds, Connor Hood, Ben Smith, and Carter McIntire teamed up to finish third in 7:20.08.
This year's version of the HCAC Championships also served as a continuing springboard for Transylvania's youth movement as multiple youngsters surfaced on the biggest stage. Freshman Sophie Ritzenthaler took runner-up honors in the women's 200 backstroke final, touching the wall in 2:13.06. Monarch punctuated her debut at the HCAC Championships with a fourth-place showing on Saturday evening in the women's 100 freestyle championships (55.30 s).
Saturday's finished cemented a monumental stepping stone for the Pioneers under third-year head coach Dave Doolin, whose women's team carved out a second-place team standing after Day 1 and held firm in the runner-up spot throughout the course of the three-day championship proceedings.
Doolin was recognized for his efforts in guiding the Pioneer women to the second-place finish and was named the 2020 HCAC Women's Coach of the Year.
After finishing Day 1 in fifth place on the team standings, the Transylvania men climbed into fourth place on Friday and held steady to cap off another year of growth for the youth-laden squad.
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