Swimmers struggle for wins over break

Winter break may have been a nice vacation for students at the University of Miami, but it wasn’t much of a vacation for Miami’s swimming and diving team.
The Hurricanes fell to Harvard on January 2 and last week were defeated by No. 2 Florida on January 13.
“We didn’t do very well overall, and we looked pretty sluggish,” said head swimming coach James Sweeney. “This is the really hard training time of the year so it’s always tough to swim meets during this time.”
Against the Crimson, UM junior Manon Van Rooijen took first in the 200 and 100-yard freestyle races, finishing with times of 1:54.62 and 52.09 respectively. She was also part of the victorious 400-yard freestyle relay team, which included sophomore Erin Johns, and seniors Megan Kinsella and senior Christine Williams. Williams won the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.43 and grabbed second in the 100-yard freestyle.
Despite the team’s improvements since the Harvard meet, the Gators were still able to come out on top 135-99 in the first meet of 2003. UM posted eight first-place finishes including Van Rooijen in the 200-yard freestyle (1:51.20) as well as the 100-yard free (51.32). Williams placed first in the 50-yard free with 24.10.
Both Van Rooijen and Williams, along with Johns and Kinsella, again placed first in the 400-yard free relay (3:33.95). Senior Elaine Schwartz won the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:06.53, while senior Meghan Clabby took first in the 200-yard breaststroke with 2:27.17.
Junior Melanie Rinaldi won both the one (192.65) and three (218.00) meter diving contests.
“We did really well, we swam much better than in the Harvard meet,” Sweeney said. “I’m pretty pleased with how the [team] came out with their enthusiasm and performances.”
On the diving front, All-American Miguel Velazquez placed fourth for the men at the Speedo American Cupin Bloomington, Indiana, totaling 363.72 points in the 10-meter event. Rinaldi finished sixth for the women in the 10-meter, scoring 248.64 points.
Head diving coach Randy Ableman felt positively about the results.
“I was really excited,” Ableman said. “Everyone on our team had moments of greatness.”
The ‘Canes remain idle until February 1, when they come up against Florida Atlantic, Northern Florida, and Florida A&M in Boca Raton. Until that date, Sweeney’s plans for the team are very simple; keep doing what they have been, and aim for high-quality results through a delicate balance of training and relaxing.
“They’re ready to start getting a little bit more rest now because they’ve put in all the hard work,” Sweeney said. “Now we’ll concentrate on doing more quality work training and getting some extra rest, so [this break] is always a great time for them.”

Melissa Teich can be reached at m.teach@umiami.edu.