SEATTLE (March 21) – The Seattle University men’s swimming team continued to raise the bar in the 2016-17 season, establishing several program firsts and setting numerous school records. With a strong roster returning for the 2017-18 campaign, the Redhawks are in position to set their sights higher.
Coach Craig Nisgor, in his sixth season, oversaw a squad that set five program records and tallied 29 individual top-10 times. The Redhawks won four home meets, including the program’s first victory over CSU Bakersfield on Nov. 5. They also claimed a pair of wins over Simon Fraser, including a 138-65 blowout of the Clan on Jan. 21. The margin marked the largest in the matchup’s history.
Seattle U was at its best, though, at the 2017 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championships. It set three individual school records, two relay records, and recorded 40 personal-best times.
Tanner Schelling led the Redhawks, topping his own school record in the 100 breaststroke on Feb. 24. He swam a 53.67 in prelims at the WAC Championships. Schelling’s time was good for an NCAA ‘B’ cut. He followed up with a 53.92 effort in the finals, finishing fourth in the event.
On the same night, Jack Baldoni set the SU record in the 100 butterfly. He logged a 48.15 in prelims, besting Chris Coley’s nine-year-old mark by .04 seconds. Baldoni placed eighth with a 48.49 performance in the finals.
Morgan Montemayor continued the Redhawks’ stellar evening, breaking his own school record in the 100 backstroke. He notched a 49.05 in the finals, taking fifth.
Schelling, Baldoni, and Montemayor also played important roles on two record-breaking relay teams at the WAC Championships. On Feb. 22, the 200 medley relay swam a 1:29.27. Montemayor, Schelling, Baldoni, and Greg Raper combined to beat a school record by .47 seconds. The previous mark was set at the 2016 WAC Championships, as Montemayor, Schelling, and Baldoni joined Matt Morris to set a then-school record.
Mitchell Crossen joined the Redhawk trio in the 400 medley relay on Feb. 24, shattering a nine-year-old SU record. The group put up a 3:16.87, taking nearly two seconds off the previous mark, which featured Coley and Jakub Jiracek, two NCAA Division II champions. The 2017 squad took fifth in the event.
Schelling’s leadoff times in a pair of relays at the WAC Championships were good for second all-time. In the 200 free relay, he got the race started with a 20.44, just behind Jordan Anderson’s school-record time of 20.03. Schelling then led off with a 45.38 100 in the 400 free relay. Anderson is the only Redhawk to swim the 100 freestyle faster (44.56). Schelling, a senior, also posted a 1:59.10 in the 200 breaststroke, marking a ‘B’ cut time and moving up to second on the all-time SU charts in the event.
In the 1650 freestyle, Austin Barnard’s 15:54.99 effort at the conference meet is the second-best in Seattle U history. Jason Klein, at the Husky Invitational on Dec. 3, touched in 49.84 in the 100 backstroke, also second-fastest in school annals.
Schelling, Alec Barnard, Michael Cox, and Connor Webb will graduate. Schelling finished his Redhawk career with one individual school record, three second-best times, and a pair of relay records. Cox leaves with the seventh-best 100 butterfly time (49.78) in SU history, while Webb has the fourth-fastest 200 breaststroke effort (2:01.86) and 400 IM time (4:00.16). Barnard’s 1:49.31 in the 200 butterfly is third-best in Redhawk history. The senior class will leave a strong legacy behind, as the Redhawks continue their rise each season.