Pioneers finish first in Oakland meet

Louis LaVenture,
News and Sports Editor

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First place is an envious position.

The Cal State East Bay women’s swimming team were the envied ones on Saturday, as they paddled their way to a first place showing in the Bay Area Invitational at Trefethen Aquatic Center in Oakland.

The Pioneers claimed victories in ten of the 28 events that included first place in all three of the team relays on the day.

“For the 800 Free Relay, we actually split our top swimmers,” CSUEB Head Coach Ben Loorz said. “I evenly divided our top eight 200 Freestylers and then spread them between our “A” and “B” relays. Even having done this, our times were much faster than last year.”

This is the sixth season at the helm for CSUEB and his style is appreciated by his players especially senior Rachel Shimizu.

“I used to think what if he falls into the pool?” Shimizu said. “I never had a coach who was so vocal before. His enthusiastic personally makes me more motivated and happier to be swimming, even though I’m getting my butt kicked every day.”

His enthusiastic personally makes me more motivated and happier to be swimming, even though I’m getting my butt kicked every day”

Mills College hosted the event that featured a variety of teams from NCAA Division II, Division III and the NAIA. The Pioneers finished the day with 762.5 total points in 28 events. The College of Idaho finished second with 497.5 points and Biola University rounded out the top three with 477 points. The UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs and the Mills College Cyclones were the other two participants at the invitational.

Loorz said that they try not to focus on the final score in events like these that feature teams from lower levels and divisions.

Senior Madison Hauanio had an amazing day in the water and she captured four first place individual finishes in the 100 meter backstroke, 200 meter backstroke, 50 meter freestyle and the 100 meter butterfly. Fellow senior Shimizu was also impressive for the Pioneers as she took home victories in the 500 meter freestyle and the 1650 meter freestyle as well, where she just beat fellow senior Hannah Cutts.

Shimizu and Cutts have been training partners at CSUEB since they were freshman.

“I definitely knew it was her in that race,” Cutts said. “It’s fun to compete against somebody that you know.”

The victory comes on the heels of the Pioneers being ranked 14 in the NCAA Division II rankings by collegeswimming.com.

Next up for CSUEB is a road trip to the University of Alaska Fairbanks on Nov. 13-14 where they will compete against the Nanooks. Loorz said that the team has made the trip twice before and he likes it because like CSUEB, their program has just swimming and not diving. U of Alaska are also in the California Collegiate Athletic Association Conference and according to Loorz, have historically been ranked similar to the Pioneers.

“They are a great rival, and we always have close dual meets up there,” Loorz said. “We continue to train very intensely as we approach the Alaska trip, so there is no drop in training.”

The only home event of the year for CSUEB is 1 p.m. on Jan. 16 where the Pioneers will host Fresno Pacific on senior day.