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Swim team wins big at Los Angeles meets

The Mills College swim team kicked off the semester victoriously at two meets in Los Angeles.

In the first double dual meet at Caltech, Mills took nine of the 13 events that were held on Jan. 17. The team finished the meet with a score of 117-68. Caltech was scored against both Mills’ and Occidental College’s teams.

“We actually beat Caltech pretty well,” said Coach Neil Virtue. “Two of those events they won were diving, and they have a diving team. We don’t have a diving team.”

Junior Mara Harwood said beating a school doesn’t happen very often, but it was good to get the competitive edge at the meet.

“It was fun because it’s hard as a small school to match up with other schools that are similar in ability levels so you can actually race,” Harwood said. “It’s nice to have someone in the lane next to you that you can actually see when you’re racing. Often times, the other school is yards ahead of us. I really liked that meet because I could actually see the person next to me.”

Alex Goodenough, a first year, had two wins in the first meet at Caltech: one in the 100m breaststroke and the other in the 200m medley.

“It’s good to know that being such a small school, we can still achieve so much,” Goodenough said. “Caltech is also a small school, and we also swam against Occidental College, which is pretty big compared to us. But we still did really well, even though they’re quite a big school.”

At the meets, Harwood swam the 50m freestyle and broke the 30 second mark for that event.

“Breaking the 30 is a really big benchmark for a lot of swimmers at our level,” Harwood said.

Because of the winter break, Virtue said that the opportunity to get lifetime best times is a little less expected.

“But also I feel like, be open and get out there and race,” Virtue said.

Virtue said that it was difficult to come back after a long break, but the team had returned to campus a week early to train and practice for the back-to-back meets in Los Angeles.

“To get up and race on Saturday, after a week of hard training, if you haven’t been doing a lot, is challenging,” Virtue said.

According to Goodenough, the week of practice before the meet helped the team a lot.

“We were practicing twice a day and all this very quick practicing really helps us get in shape faster, even though it’s really hard, but the more you do it and the more often you do it, the easier it gets,” Goodenough said. “So it really helps all of us.”

Virtue said he hopes that the team can learn from their post-break practicing and apply it in the future.

“The longer the event that you swim, the harder it is — the fitness level really gets affected, so hopefully people can reflect on the work they did over break and hopefully make decisions to work really hard the next break,” Virtue said.