The William Jewell Cardinals men’s and women’s swim teams just returned from a very successful Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) meet. The women’s team placed fourth and the men’s team fifth in the conference. Both teams have noticeably improved from last season.
“The men’s team was fifth place by 79 points last year, and this year we were fifth place by five points,” Coach Mark Gole said. “We’ve closed the gap a little bit on Lewis [University].”
The women’s team was within five points of third place.
“Overall, out of 38 school records, [the men and women’s teams] broke 34 of them. So from top to bottom, our team did very well,” Gole said.
Nationals are looming, with the invite list set to release next week. Paige Meredith, sophomore, is currently ranked 13th in the country for the 100-meter butterfly, and Nationals will invite back 19 women for that event. Meredith currently stands the best chance of receiving an invitation.
The women’s team enjoyed many successes on the first day of Conference, with Maggie Metz, senior, winning second, Alex Millhuff, first-year, sixth and Heather Cistola, sophomore, seventh in the 1000-meter freestyle.
“In the very first individual event in the entire competition we had every swimmer who swam score for us. I believe that event gave our team momentum and confidence, and we ran with it,” Gole said.
The men’s team also enjoyed many successes at the GLVC meet. Matt Luton, senior, Lane Bland, sophomore and Henning Kunkel, first-year, all scored in the 1000-meter freestyle.
“One of the biggest highlights of the meet was freshman João Pedro Granato winning the 1650 meter freestyle. That was the first ever win in the Great Lakes Valley Conference for program. It was very exciting to see him do that,” Gole said.
Granato went on to win GLVC’s “Freshman of the Year,” an award decided on by all of the head coaches at the conference.
“I think the most exciting moment at conference is when I discovered I got selected as Freshman of the Year. I was in the bathroom, and when I got back, I wasn’t sure what was going on. But when they told me [I won], I was super happy and satisfied about it,” Granato said. “I’m happy that the team got where it is right now. We accomplished a lot of things this year, and next year hopefully we’ll accomplish more.”