The Mills College swim team will be attending Nationals this year, due in part to their times achieved at the Bay Area Invitational on Nov. 13 and 14.
Mills competed against Fresno Pacific University, Azusa Pacific University, UC Santa Cruz and Cal State East Bay. Swimmers achieved three National qualifying times in the relay, and sophomore Rachel Griffith qualified in a bonus time for the 100 back stroke.
Relay teams comprise four swimmers, though Neil Virtue, head swim coach, said he does not yet know who will be attending Nationals, which will take place next March In St. Louis, MO.
The team is down to two seniors from five last year, but has remained strong despite experiencing some growing pains.
“This is a young team trying to balance an athletic life and an academic life, but they are the most competitive, whole team since I have been here,” Virtue said.
First year Nkosazana Nkululeko said, “On the first day of the meet, the temperature outside was freezing but we continued to race our hardest. I believe that our performance show cased the mental and physical toughness that we have developed.”
As the race picked up pace, Cyclones got their momentum flowing. Virtue said that “most athletes on the team were right around their best times.”
First year Desirae Tongco said, “I definitely think our performance last weekend demonstrated our season’s peak in conditioning. I raced an event – 200 fly – that I haven’t raced or trained for since last year.”
“The atmosphere was extremely energetic. It was great seeing other athletes and non-athletes come and support our team via back up timing and cheering. The team was especially energetic especially because of the home pool advantage and the opportunity of just competing together and supporting each other. Not once did the energy drop,” said Tongco.
Virtue said in addition to Tongco’s 200 fly, senior Emily Lebsack’s performance in the 400 individual medley, and first year Alixandra Greenman and senior Amelia True’s performances in the mile race were also especially noteworthy.
Nkululeko said “Next year I am looking forward to having a blast with my team mates and breaking some school records.”