In the final home meet for the nine seniors on the Hopkins swimming team, the Jays made plenty of history in their last outing before the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships. After a weekend filled with numerous impressive performances, nine pool records fell at the Blue Jay Invitational.
The women’s 200 Free Relay team kicked off the event and set the tone for the weekend on Friday night. The tandem of seniors Kiki Petersen, Michelle Wang and Sonia Lin along with junior Mikayla Bisignani combined to finish with a time of 1:36.68, breaking a record set four years ago by 0.19 seconds.
Petersen proved to be in a record-breaking mood throughout the course of the weekend. She followed up her 200 Free Relay record by breaking the record for the 50 Free with a time of 23.69, beating the previous 2014 record by 0.15 seconds, and she later beat the pool record in the 100 freestyle that she set the year prior.
Petersen was excited about the team’s performance and believes the experience will be valuable as the team looks towards the postseason.
“I thought this meet was a great way to showcase our speed and practice swimming with limited rest. This will be especially helpful while we prepare for the NCAA Championships,” she said.
Near the end of the Friday portion of the invitational, Petersen teamed with Sonia Lin and sophomores Sydney Okubo and Rebecca Ssengonzi in the 400 Free Relay. The quartet went on to finish with a mark of 3:48.62, shaving nearly a full second off of the previous pool record. Not to be outdone, Okubo’s performance at the end of the day in the 100 Back shattered the record she set in 2018 by 0.18 seconds.
Okubo carried this strong performance into the Saturday portion of the event and finished the 400 Individual Medley (IM) with a time of 4:28.65.
Freshan Tristan Lin and junior CJ Arena then took to the pool for their own run of the 400 (IM). Tristan Lin’s time of 3:56.97 broke the 4:00.64 set by Arena last season, and Arena also overtook his previous best with a 4:00.34 finish in the event.
In the 100 Fly, both sophomore Jeff Vitek and junior Nat Davenport’s times came in below the previous pool record, with Vitek finishing at 49.07 and Davenport coming in just a hair behind his teammate at 49.89.
Other sophomores managed to continue this string of notable performances with impressive finishes of their own: Noah Corbitt finished with a time of 1:40.02 in the 200 Free and Max Chen turned in a 55.75 mark in the 100 Breast.
The final records of the weekend to fall both came in the 200 Fly, as Wang and Vitek’s performances broke the standing pool records one after another. Wang finished with a time of 2:03.95 to beat out the 2014 record by nearly half a second, while Vitek turned in a time of 1:48.40 to break the standing 2014 record by more than a second.
After a weekend that saw multiple records be broken, Petersen felt the impressive showing was indicative of the hard work the team has been putting in during practice all season long.
With a three-week gap between the end of the regular season and the start of the NCAA Championships, Petersen feels the added rest will lead to even better times than those on display this weekend.
“I’m really excited that our team was able to break a lot of pool records this weekend because it shows how hard we have been working all season long,” she said. “More importantly, it shows that we can swim fast on little rest and we can go even faster in three weeks, so I’m excited to see what we can do!”
The conclusion of the Blue Jay Invitational brings the 2019-2020 regular season campaign to an end for the Hopkins swimming teams. Both the men and the women turned in strong seasons: The men finished with a 7-5 record while the women finished with a 9-4 record. Both teams also placed first in the Thomas Murphy Invitational at Loyola University Maryland.
Hopkins will next head off to Greensboro, N.C. to take part in the NCAA Championships. The Championships begin on March 18 and run through March 21.