Swimming HCAC Manchester men's team
MU swimmers Eamin Lynch and Parker York both earned podium finishes at the HCAC Championships.
Photo by MU Athletics

Swim Team Competes in HCAC Swimming, Diving Championships

Grace Denison

Manchester University’s swim team competed in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championships on Saturday, February 12, in Terre Haute.

The Spartans had a very successful weekend. First years Eamin Lynch and Parker York both had podium finishes while the team also set two new school records. Nineteen new Top 10 marks were also set by the Spartans during the championships. The men’s team scored a total of 136 team points while the woman’s team scored 128. According to statistics these scores were the highest scores since the 2019 HCAC Championships.

Sophomore Spencer Harrison also competed in the championships last year. “I was very pleased with the team’s performance this year,” he said. “It feels like a whole new experience than last year, when there were only four of us here (two men and two women). But this year we had five men and seven women, literally tripling the number of people.”

Harrison also stated that there was more competition this year due to there being two more schools, Hanover and Bluffton, than last year.

Kenzie Hoover, a junior on the swim team agree. “This is the best conference I have had as a swimmer here at Manchester,” she said. “So many top 10 times and performances happen between the swimmers and divers. Personally I had a season best time at conference, which was awesome!”

Jacob Stauffer, first year, went into the swim season thinking he would not be participating. However, to his surprise he experienced what he calls a “next level experience.” “The swimmers that had been training hard all season (myself included) had swam their lifetime bests, and we have ourselves to thank,” he said. “From top 10 times at MU from the team, to a couple finalists in events such as the men’s 100 free and the women’s 200 back, to three new school records, one of them being held by your truly.“

Harrison also explained how Stauffer and Lynch’s performance was, as he put it, a “highlight of the season.” He enjoyed having more people to cheer for and relays to fight for.

Sophomore Ashlynn Malloy had a good season. “I’m happy to have met the first years; they really had a lot of trust in me and came to me for everything,” she said. “I guess I’m the safe place or mom of the team which is very honorable for me to have their trust.”

She also felt confident about the conference. “I had no doubt the team would do amazing,” she said. “I’m honestly not surprised on all the PR’s and records broken because of that work they put in. I am beyond proud of this team.”

Hoover added: “We are all super close. We would go out and have many team events. Usually on Sundays at the beginning of the season we would get together and have a game night. In October, we went to Indy Scream Park. November, we had a Thanksgiving. December, we had a Christmas/New Years’ Party. Next month we plan on doing some community work.

“We are a very close team and even closer in the water,” she continued.

New coaches Roger Karns (Head Coach) and Mitch Schall (Assistant Coach) had a major effect on the team this season. “Of the three years I have been here this is by far my favorite season,” Hoover said.

“Our coaches have worked extremely hard with the team this year to make sure this season went as smoothly as possible, and their recruitment for next year has me so excited.”

Malloy said: “Training was a lot different from what I have done before, but I had my trust in the coaches. I personally had a lot of ups and downs with health related and mental related aspects and they were right next to me the entire time and got me right back in shape when I was ready to get back in the water.”

Coaches Karns and Schall have had outstanding results from their swimmers this season and they both bring a lot of experience to the team as well. Coach Karns has 40 years of coaching experience while Coach Schall was a member of the Notre Dame College swimming program as an undergraduate student.

Stauffer said: “The Spartans are well on their way to greatness in the water in the coming years, and while we do have Roger and Mitch to thank for pushing us to our limit and being on top of recruiting, I’d have to say it’s the team’s ability to bond and stay positive that’s going to be our strongpoint. But for now, we rest after having been on what we know to be the strongest grind any of us have experienced. I personally can’t wait to see what I can accomplish next year, and I’m pleased to say that I’m anticipating training this summer.”