Despite being surrounded by water, the Knox College men and women’s swim teams were on fire this weekend. In their first home meet since 2009, the Prairie Fire decimated Eureka College, with the women winning 69 – 18 and the men winning 63 – 22.
“I think we did a really good job, considering the fact it was coming back from winter break,” women’s team captain junior Sarah MacDowell said. “We all worked well together.”
MacDowell placed first in two of her events in the team’s first meet of the new year, winning the 200-yard freestyle in 2:16.34 and the 500-yard freestyle in 5:59.09. Several other swimmers took firsts as well. Men’s captain junior Tyler O’Neill won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:08.35, the 100-yard butterfly in 0:58.69 and the 100-yard backstroke in 0:59.10. Junior Tory Kassabaum won the women’s 100-yard backstroke in 1:10.25 in addition to placing first in the 200-yard individual medley and 1000-yard freestyle. Sophomore Jesse Sindler won the men’s 100-yard freestyle in 0:55.70 and the 50-yard freestyle in 0:24.39.
The Prairie Fire also dominated in the team events.
“We ended up winning every relay,” MacDowell said. Senior Krista Ahlberg, who swam on the winning 200-medley relay team, was also optimistic about the team’s win.
“This being the first meet, I felt good about it,” she said.
The win came despite several swimmers struggling with winter illness; now the team is looking forward to the challenges to come in the rest of their season.
“We always build towards conference,” MacDowell said. “This year it’s not so much about the team standing. It’s definitely more so about making sure everyone drops time and everyone gets their best times at conference.”
Ahlberg, although doubtful about the team’s ability to win conference against much larger, talented and more experienced teams such as Grinnell, expressed the hope that the Prairie Fire could take individual events.
“We should definitely have some individuals get into finals,” she said.
MacDowell was optimistic about this goal, noting that several individuals have been making great strides in their times.
The team also appreciated the fact the dual meet took place at home.
“It’s always nice to not have to travel…and also to have people there that we know,” MacDowell said.
“It was just a fun, easy-going meet,” Ahlberg said.