Swim and dive heads to Houston for conference championship

Susan Fanelli, Staff Reporter

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The Tulane Swimming and Diving team closed out their regular season on Jan. 30 in Houston, leaving victorious over Rice but falling short to LSU and Houston.

“This meet was a tough meet for us,” head coach Katie Robinson said. “We had a mixed bag of results. It was great to get a win against Rice this weekend; it’s been a long time since our team has beaten them.”

Freshman Paris Zhang was among the highlights of the meet, finishing first in the 100-meter freestyle and breaking her own personal best with a time of 51.36. Senior Mia Schachter claimed third in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:03.76. In diving, seniors Maren Kjell and Lauren Arnold completed the tournament with scores of 248.20 and 230.25. The duo finished seventh and eighth respectively.

With the regular season coming to a close, the swim and dive team make their way to Houston for the American Conference Championships, featuring teams from SMU, East Carolina, Connecticut and host Houston.

“This is the pinnacle of our season,” Robinson said. “We’re tapering off a little bit to fully allow [the swimmers] to recover and to hopefully then peak at the meet.”

Over the course of the regular season, the Green Wave swim and dive team has seen plenty of broken records and stellar performances. Robinson and her swimmers hope to continue this trend going into the last meet of the year.

Among the leaders of the team, seniors Schachter and Elizabeth Cook have contributed to the Wave this year with new school records in the 200-meter backstroke and 50-meter freestyle sprint. Schachter notched two NCAA B-Cuts this year at the Phill Hansel Invitational with her times in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle.

“It’s really been an interesting season. We’ve put in so much hard work. We have this thing that if one person does well, we feed off of that,” Schacter said. “This is who we are. This is what we do. This is how we do it.”

The two embody the work and consistency required to earn the respect as leaders.

“We’ve gone through the work that it’s taken to claim this leadership position,” Cook said. “[Schacter and I] have seen a lot of change through our four years. We’ve gone through a lot to keep our identity as a team, even when our leaders have changed. That has required us to be leaders in and of ourselves.”

Nine freshmen joined the swim team this year, among them Zhang and Shelly Zelnick. Zelnick has already made her mark on the team by setting the school record in the 200-meter IM with a time of 2:03.41. She continues to participate in the backstroke and relay events with her teammates.

“I feel like I’ve become a lot closer with my college teammates than I ever could have been with my high school teammates. The focus is different—you’re more ‘for your team’ instead of [trying to get] a time for yourself,” Zelnick said. “I just focus on having fun with it. If I see my teammates doing well and having fun, then I’m going to have fun as well.”

Catch the Green Wave as they compete this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in the American Athletic Conference Championship in Houston to wrap up their 2015-16 season.