Women swimmers wade to win

By Jack Robinson

The women’s swimming and diving team won 13 events in both relay and individual races this weekend, and 2012 Olympian junior Pamela Benitez highlighted the meet with a win in both relay and individual freestyle events.

“In some ways you expect to win,” SIUC swim coach Rick Walker said. “The expectations were there, and the team came through and should be proud of themselves.”

The women’s swim team traveled


to St. Louis Saturday to compete in a meet held by Washington University. The meet consisted of teams from three schools: host Washington University, Rhodes College and SIU.

The team competed strongly the whole day and showed dominance throughout. SIU won 13 out of the 16 events and set seven Washington University pool records.

Record setters included the 200-meter freestyle relay team at one minute and 36.58, freshman Helena Amorim at 10:28.82 in the women’s 1000-meter freestyle, junior Isabela Castro’s record

2:05.72 in the 200-meter fly and Benitez’s record 4:58.75 in the 500-meter freestyle.

The women won 11 individual races swept the meet’s relay portion with two wins in the 200-yard medley and 200- yard freestyle relay.

Both the men and women’s diving teams performed well, with sophomore Kegan Skelton setting a 350.85 points record in the 3-meter dive and Esther Chen setting points records in both the 1-meter dive with 285.1 points and the 3-meter dive with 305.75.

The men’s meet featured four teams

including Washington University, Principia College and Rhodes College. Skelton won as an individual, but the team did not place.

One of the meet’s high points, however, Benitez’s was overall performance.

Benitez showed her talent by competing on the first-place 200-yard freestyle relay team. She won her first event of the season during the weekend and looks to continue her success at the Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Championships Feb. 14.

Walker said Benitez is essential for the team to succeed this year.

“She is a quiet leaning post for the team,” he said. “Everyone wants her to perform at a high level, and she goes about it in a quiet way. She is extremely supportive of what the team is doing and it shows. When she does well, the team does well,” he said.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will compete Saturday at home against the University of Evansville. “It’s our last competition before the conference championships, but our main focus is Evansville,” Walker said. “Evansville has a good program, and it will be a great challenge.”