The Saint Louis University swimming and diving teams came up big in their first home meet of the season on Saturday, Jan. 19. The Billikens faced off against the William Jewell College Cardinals from Liberty, Mo. Both the men’s and the women’s teams performed well, winning 25 of the 30 races. The men’s team won by a score of 164-104. The women’s team was even more impressive, winning 175-74.
The top performer for SLU’s women’s team was senior Taylor Streid, who won every event in which she participated. She competed in one relay, the 200-yard medley, which her team won with a time of 1:49.77. She also competed individually in the 100-yard backstroke, the 500-yard freestyle, and the 200-yard individual medley, taking home a total of four victories.
Streid’s most dominating event came in the 500-yard freestyle, in which she beat the next closest competitor, Kara Schoneboom of the Cardinals, by more the 40 seconds.
As a whole, the women’s team only failed to take the top spot in two of its events against the overmatched Cardinals. The men only missed the top of the podium in three events.
Sophomore Patrick MacArt led the men’s team to its victory, competing in four events, the 200-yard medley relay, 50-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley and 400-yard freestyle medley. The only race he didn’t win was the 200-yard medley relay. MacArt placed first in the three other events in which he swam.
Fellow sophomore Zach Billingsley was equally impressive as MacArt . He competed in four events, the 200-yard medley relay, 100-yard breaststroke, the 100-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle relay. Billingsley’s relay team came in first in the 200-yard relay, beating another SLU squad, anchored by MacArt, by less than a second. Billingsley also won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 47.11 seconds.
“I feel like the team did very well this past weekend. Especially after a tough week of practice and recently coming off of our training trip to Florida. A lot of individuals were able to post fast times even with being tired,” Billingsley said of the team’s performances.
This meet was the second in the last week for the swimming and diving team. Before that, however, there was a month and a half break, during which Billingsley and the rest of the team had time to train and work on certain areas before tournament season approaches.
“The focus of the last month was primarily to get in the best shape possible. Every day of our training trip we swam between 12,000 and 14,000 yards to get us ready to taper off for conference,” Billingsley said of the team’s recent training regimen. “As a sprinter, I’m always trying to improve my technique and speed, but my main focus has been to get in shape so that I can bring back the second 50 of my 100-yard race faster than I have in the past.”