The best times are supposed to come in the spring. There is more rest and individualized training, along with the excitement of the conference championships.
But Ohio is already ahead of pace with stellar times.
Every swimmer and diver improved during the three dual meets and the invitational. They're still emphasizing what needs to be improved before the Mid-American Conference Championships in February.
“We learned a lot about things that we need to still work on and improve for conference,” head coach Rachel Komisarz-Baugh said. “At this point, our team is a lot stronger than it has been in the past.”
The depth of Ohio has improved this year, with 42 swims being in the top 20 of the MAC. Half of those are in the top 10. In the MAC Championships, the swimmers can't just win their share of events. The whole team has to contribute in each event.
Corrin Van Lanen led Ohio in the short-distance races, only dropping one individual event during the dual-meet season. She has the top time in the conference in the 50-yard freestyle and the third best in the 100-yard butterfly. She also had a first-place finish in the 50-yard butterfly at the TYR Invitational.
The times swam at this point in the season are closing in on what the returners did at the MAC Championships last spring. Emilia Lahtinen improved her time in the 100-yard breaststroke by 1.35 seconds at the MAC Championships. She is already just .4 seconds behind the championship swim. Annie Gosselin has already swam a time 4 milliseconds behind that of her MAC Championships swim in the spring.
Ohio won 33 of the 45 events in the dual meets and won two of three meets overall. The wins over Youngstown State and Ball State were dominating. The team scored at least 185 points in both.
The loss to Buffalo came down to the final event. The top two Bulls relays beat the top relay for the Bobcats to win by 22 points. To be that close to the team picked to finish second in the MAC Swimming and Diving Coaches’ Preseason Poll was a good sign for Komisarz-Baugh about what this team can do at the MAC Championships.
For freshmen, there is assumed to be a period of adjusting to life at college, but not for Samantha Glass and Hannah Schlegel. They have combined to win 10 events in dual-meets this season.
Schlegel is one of the best long-distance swimmers for the Bobcats, with two wins in both the 500- and 1,000-yard freestyles. Additionally, she has the second-fastest time in both the 1,000- and 1,650-yard freestyle while sixth best in the 500.
Glass is second on the team in first-place finishes with sixth. They have come in four different events. Glass touch the wall first twice in both the 200-yard backstroke and 200-yard butterfly.
After the break, there will be just over a month left in the season before the MAC Championships. It begins with the swimmers hosting Duquesne and Xavier on Jan. 13, while the divers head to the Buffalo Diving Invite on Jan. 13-15.