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Mills hosts two-day Bay Area Invitational Meet

Photo by Lokemele Davis

Mills' swim team broke eight school records last weekend in the two-day Bay Area Invitational that was Mills' last meet of the Fall semester.

The previous school record in the 50-yard breaststroke was topped by sophomore Chrissy Fisher with a time of 33.06 seconds. Junior Catherine Stitt broke the school record in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 5:18.78, in which competitors swim all four competitive strokes: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly.

Although Stitt currently holds the school record for the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 19:56.19 seconds, both she and senior Sophia Tuttle, with a time of 21:42.74 seconds, broke the previous school record. This event requires the competitor to swim a total of 66 lengths, which is nearly a mile.

Tuttle, Stitt, junior Alexi Ueltzen, and freshwoman Shayna Elbling broke the school record for the 800-yard freestyle relay with a time of 9:23.46. School records were topped by Elbling, Fisher, Stitt and Tuttle in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:52.25), 400-yard medley relay (4:45.78) and the 400-yard freestyle relay (4:16.82). Freshwoman Sarah Chavez, Tuttle, Fisher and Elbling outswam the school's record in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 2:08.32.

The Invitational drew teams from Orange County, Calif. to Salem, Ore., including Chapman University, Willamette University, California State University East Bay, California State University Sacramento's club team and University of California Santa Cruz. Many of the teams present were not regular Mills opponents and provided new challenges for the Mills swimmers.

Elbling said that the invitational offered an opportunity "to really be pushed by good teams."

Sun-kissed (and in some cases, sunburned) competitors fought to beat their personal bests as coaches, teammates and supporters cheered them on.

Onlookers shouted, "Go! Go!" to the rhythm of swimmers' strokes; for some, it seemed as if the yells of their supporters was the only thing keeping them going. For others, the crowd's energy had the effect of pushing them to swim double time.

Head Coach Neil Virtue said he would continue to push swimmers to maintain a positive attitude and to do their best. "The only thing we all can control is our attitude and our effort," he said. "Everything else is uncontrollable."

For Seniors Maliheh Nakhai and Abbey Paulson the swim meet was the last official swimming competition of their college years.

Paulson, who has been on the Mills swim team for three years, said that the sport of swimming and the Mills coaching staff taught her the importance of "winning in ways other than being faster than the person next to you."