For eight months, Grand Canyon University’s inaugural club swimming team trained with goals for their improvement and enjoyment to hit peaks at the year-end national event.
The Lopes’ performances at the U.S. Masters Swimming Spring Nationals checked those boxes.
A 10-person GCU contingent collected 11 medals and set 15 club records over the weekend’s three-day event in Riverside, Calif.
“It was amazing just to see how much they’ve prepared and practiced just for this meet,” said Jeremy Phung, who started and coached the 25-member club this school year as a GCU sophomore with fellow sophomore and assistant coach, Sarah Jacobson. “Seeing them drop times, not just by tenths of seconds but by two to three seconds, was amazing. Some of them dropping two to three seconds in a 50 (-yard race) is insane.”
The Lopes were competing in the 18- to 24-year-old age group of a meet that also featured Olympic gold medalists Ryan Lochte and Nathan Adrian. GCU had tapered for the meet and it showed with continuous personal bests, including all three GCU entries in the women’s 100-yard breaststroke breaking the previous club mark.
Here are the results for events in which the Lopes reached the finals:
- Freshman Daniel Cardoso-Lara finished 27th in the 100 individual medley and 30th in the 100 freestyle.
- Sophomore Parker Freeman finished 11th in the 50 breaststroke, 15th in the 50 butterfly and 41st in the 50 freestyle.
- Freshman Brianna Hernandez-Haddock finished 16th in the 50 freestyle, 16th in the 100 freestyle and 19th in the 50 butterfly.
- Freshman Katrina Hurowyj finished eighth in the 100 backstroke, 13th in the 50 butterfly and 18th in the 100 IM.
- Sophomore Mariah Lamb finished seventh in the 200 freestyle, eighth in the 100 breaststroke, 17th in the 50 butterfly, 20th in the 100 freestyle, 21st in the 50 freestyle and 25th in the 100 IM.
- Freshman Nathaniel Lee finished eighth in the 400 IM, 11th in the 50 backstroke, 13th in the 100 backstroke, 18th in the 100 IM, 20th in the 100 freestyle and 24th in the 50 freestyle.
- Junior Riley Lium finished fifth in the 200 breaststroke and sixth in the 100 breaststroke.
- Freshman Cody McNeese finished ninth in the 100 backstroke, 10th in the 50 backstroke, 10th in the 200 IM, 14th in the 100 IM and 28th in the 50 freestyle. His 200 IM heat time ranked fifth overall.
- Sophomore Molly Santa Maria finished 18th in the 50 freestyle and 18th in the 100 freestyle.
- Freshman Paris Sargent finished fifth in the 100 breaststroke, seventh in the 100 backstroke and 15th in the 100 IM.
“I just love doing it,” Phung said of coaching the club. “Last year, I swam U.S. Masters by myself unattached. There was a lot of interest for starting the club. I talked to so many people who said they’d love to be a part of it. Having that passion in place made me want to do it.”