The Case Western Reserve University swimming and diving teams will kick off their 2016-17 campaign this weekend, when the Spartans make the short trip across town to take on John Carroll University.
The Spartan men earned three All-America honorable mention finishes at the NCAA Division III Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, with recent graduates Aaron Tam finishing 13th in the 200-yard butterfly in a school record time of 1:49.76, and Connor Farrell finishing 14th in the three meter dive, the best finish by a Spartan in a diving event at a national meet. Tam teamed with senior Andrew Henning and juniors Drew Hamilton and Oliver Hudgins to place 10th in the 800-yard freestyle to set a third school record with a mark of 6:42.43. Altogether, Case Western Reserve competitors totaled 21 points at the meet, leading to the 33rd-place finish.
The Spartans 800-yard freestyle relay team of Hamilton, Henning, Hudgins and Tam claimed a win at the University Athletic Association Championships, becoming the first CWRU squad to ever win a relay event at the conference meet. The Spartan men placed sixth at the UAA Championships and finished last season with a 10-1 overall record in dual meets.
Henning, Hamilton and Hudgins are all scheduled to return to lead the Spartans this season. Hamilton will be looking to improve on his school record times in the 500-yard freestyle (4:28.98), 1,000-yard freestyle (9:30.02), 1,650-yard freestyle (15:54.06) and 400-yard individual medley (3:58.77), while Hudgins will be looking to better his school records in the 200-yard freestyle (1:40.11) and 200-yard backstroke (1.50.00). Henning set a career-best times in the 50-yard freestyle (22.96) and in the 100-yard freestyle (47.34) during his junior campaign.
Other returners for the Spartans who will begin the season with top-10 times in school history include junior Aaron Pang (fifth in the 200 fly, 1:53.05; fifth in the 400 IM, 4:06.63; sixth in the 200 IM, 1:55.98), sophomore Keith Erichsen (third in the 1,650 free, 16:00.83; sixth in the 500 free, 4:38.65; eighth in the 400 IM, 4:10.03), junior Logan Smith (sixth in the 200 fly, 1:53.42; ninth in the 100 fly, 51.44), sophomore Brody Schmidt (seventh in the 500 free, 4:38.68; 10th in the 200 free, 1:43.75), junior John Kilbane (sixth in the 100 breaststroke, 58.05), senior David Merriman (seventh in the 1,650 free, 16:10.60), junior Evan Rose (seventh in the 200 breaststroke, 2:08.67), and junior Ondrej Maxian (10th in the 200 Back 1:55.47).
Henning and senior John Tomko are slated to serve as captains of the men's squad during the 2016-17 campaign.
The CWRU women finished the 2015-16 season with a 10-1-1 dual meet record, and claimed seventh at the 2016 UAA Championships.
Senior captain Selena Mufti will return to lead the Spartans in the water, entering the season with a top-10 time in school history in the 400 IM (10th, 4:44.90). Senior Emily Boluda will also return to serve as captain for CWRU, she recorded season-best times in the 500 free (5:32.48) and 1,650 free (19:21.78) at the 2016 Midwest Invitational.
Other CWRU women returning to the squad this season with top-10 times in the program's record book include junior Jennifer Eurich (fourth in the 50 free, 24.26; eighth in the 100 free, 53.51), junior Inez Moore (fifth in the 50 Free, 24.41; sixth in the 100 fly, 59.50; 10th in the 100 free, 53.61), sophomore Bhavya Kumaran (third in the 100 back, 58.95; third in the 200 back, 2:08.24), sophomore Madeleine Farnham (sixth in the 200 fly, 2:11.29; seventh in the 100 fly, 59.63), sophomore Alexa Simoneau (10th in the 100 breaststroke, 1:09.47; 10th in the 200 breaststroke, 2:30.64), and junior Taylor Johnson (10th in the 200 fly, 2:14.25). In addition, the team's top diver from 2015-16, junior Brooke Hortness, is slated to be back in action for the squad.
The Spartans will open their campaign at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio on Friday, October 21st at 6:30 p.m. Last season, the CWRU men earned a 186-107 win over the Blue Streaks, while the women claimed a 198-98 victory.
Friday's season-opener will be the first of seven dual meets on the Spartans 2016-17 schedule.
Other key meets for the team include the Wooster Invitational from December 1st-3rd and the UAA Championships from February 8th-11th at the University of Chicago. The NCAA Zone Diving Meet is scheduled for February 24th-25th, with qualifying swimmers and divers moving on to the NCAA Division III Championships in Shenandoah, Texas from March 15th-18th.