Featured Image: VWU Swimming team on deck at the 2023 ODAC Swimming Championships. Kristian Ramkvist | Courtesy
Virginia Wesleyan University Men and Women’s Swimming competed in the 2023 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Swimming Championships on Feb. 8 – 11 in Greensboro, NC. The women’s team finished sixth out of twelve teams competing and the men’s team finished in eighth place out of the eight teams competing.
Sophomore Lauren Hendricks was named to the Women’s All-ODAC third team for the second time of her career, specifically her 5th place performance in the 200-yard freestyle with her time of 1:58.79.
Hendricks also made the A-final in the 100-yard free, finishing seventh overall. In addition, all five relays finished in the top eight to score points for the Marlins.
Despite a last place finish, the men’s team is still optimistic because there are only four swimmers on the team. Freshman Cael Long earned his team the most points and achieved a personal best in the 100-yard butterfly. To his surprise, Long swam a 51.19 which is a new school record. “51.19 was not the time I had in mind. I was looking for a NCAA Division III National cut time in the 100 butterfly,” Long said.
He was also a part of the school’s record-breaking 800-yard freestyle relay along with swimmers junior Stuart Reyes, freshman Logan Schohn and junior Eddie McDonald.
Schohn also had a few record breaking moments at the meet. He broke three individual records. Day two of ODACs he broke his own 500-yard freestyle record, lowering it to 5:04.28. While racing in the mile, at the 1000-yard mark, he split a 10:36.00, which then led Schohn to a new team record in the mile of 17:31.45.
Other moments for the men include McDonald having three personal bests in all his events, 500-yard free, 200-yard free and the 200-yard breaststroke. His teammate, Reyes, also got himself a new personal record in the 200-yard free, swimming a time of 2:01.84. The men finished their regular season with a record of 1-6.
Despite all the smiles and happiness, not all swimmers had the same spirit nor level playing field before swim meets. Long has a rare form of nocturnal epilepsy called autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (ADNFLE). Long has several different types of monitors that give alerts at night. Every seizure he has is recorded on video with a timestamp so he can share with his neurologist.
“The night before my prelims swim of the 100-yard butterfly, I had a major seizure in my sleep. The next morning after the seizure, all of my muscles and joints hurt badly, and I had a severe migraine. I still had a lifetime best time for this event, but I feel that I have much more speed in me. I have three more years of ODACs to look forward to,” Long said.
Freshman Abi Carlson took on ODACs for the first time in her life and was excited about her experience and rejoiced about all the people who helped her get there.
“I have so many great memories from this freshman season, but ODACs is the highlight of these past few months with the team after all of the hard work we put in during training,” Carlson said.
Feeding off of each other’s energy has made the team stronger; the girls will keep the expectations high for next season.
“My teammates are so awesome. They’ve all been so encouraging, starting right from the beginning of the season. I’m super grateful for the friendships I’ve made on the team. They are some of my favorite people to be around, and I always love seeing the way they support each other on and off the pool deck,” Carlson said.
On the women’s side, the Marlins went 4-4 overall during the regular season.
By Josh Heller