Tigers finish inaugural season with three national championships, 21 All-Americans
Author: Wendy Reid
Posted: Monday, March 04, 2013 at 12:01 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The Olivet Nazarene University swim team was a first year program who qualified just 12 men and nine women to the 2013 NAIA Swimming and Diving Nationals and had been flying under the radar all season, or swimming under the radar. The Tigers surprised a lot of people by walking away with a third place men's finish and a fourth place women's. Well, surprised a lot of people who hadn't been watching them all season. The national meet finished up on Saturday, March 2 at the Oklahoma City Community College and the Tigers found themselves leaving with three individual national championships and 21 NAIA All-Americans.
With only 21 athletes, Olivet truly accomplished this as a team. "I think God is smiling down on the Olivet swim team after nationals," said junior captain Aaron Buchanan (Beavercreek, Ohio). "Not only did we swim hard for each other, but we swam with everything we had for Him."
On the final day of competition, freshman Andrew Fischer (Graaff-Reinet, South Africa) captured his third national championship in as many days when he posted a time of 15:44.71 in the 1650-yard freestyle. He was joined on the 1650 podium by teammates Sam Borgman (Zeeland, Mich.) in fifth place and Jonathan Songer (Wexford, Penn.) in eighth. Borgman finished at 16:07.56, while Songer touched at 16:31.19. One event earlier, junior Samantha Elam (Granada Hills, Cali.) captured fifth in the women's 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 17:49.78.
Buchanan earned his second individual silver medal finish in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:50.36, while freshman Sydney Harris (Fort Wayne, Ind.) captured the bronze in the women's 200-yard butterfly with a 2:25.08. Both Buchanan and Harris earned All-American honors for their performances.
Also finishing in the top eight the final day were sophomore Simon Pheasant (Alexandria, South Africa) and freshman Katie Jo Snyder (Lima, Ohio) in the 100-yard freestyle and freshman Mary Wilson (Fort Collins, Colo.) in the 200-yard backstroke. Pheasant posted a time of 45.70 to finish seventh, while Snyder finished at 52.96 to also take seventh. Wilson's 2:11.91 gave her an eighth place finish.
In the final event of the championship, the men's 400-yard freestyle relay team of Fischer, freshman Kasey Foley (Willows, Cali.) freshman Calvin Price (Grahamstown, South Africa) and sophomore Simon Pheasant (Alexandria, South Africa) touched the pads at 3:04.49 to take second place and earn All-American honors.
Fischer led the Tigers with five All-American performances, while Elam, Buchanan, Harris and Pheasant each earned two. Fischer had become the first athlete in Olivet history to win two individual titles in one championship on Friday, now setting the bar higher.