Lopes shake rust off with 15 new program records
By: Julie Laugel/GCU Staff
After months of no competition, limited practices, and being shut down off and on due to COVID-19 regulations, the Grand Canyon University Club Swimming team finally tested how their skills have held up during the pandemic in their first intrasquad scrimmage of the 2020-21 season.
“To only practice and train twice a week, and then be shut down on and off again, was pretty difficult for a lot of them,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Jeremy Phung. “They’ve pretty much swam their entire lives, and are used to practicing almost every day, so they just aren’t used to missing that much practice.”
The Lopes’ apparent lack of practice went unnoticed, though, since the swimmers broke 15 different program records while participating in over 40 total events.
Lopes’ freshman Savanna Paredes came in first and broke GCU records in three out of her four individual events, including the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, and 50 butterfly. On top of her individual victories, Paredes also helped break the program record in the women’s 200 medley by five seconds with a time of 1:57.59.
Meanwhile, fellow GCU freshman Claire Bigler competed in four individual events and all four relays. Bigler placed second in the 50 butterfly and 100 freestyle with times of 28.66 and 59.00, respectively, and placed third in the 50 freestyle and 100 individual medley.
“The last time I swam competitively was in February, so in comparison to that, I thought those times were really good,” said Bigler. “Near the end of the scrimmage, they went downhill a little more than I had hoped, but those first five or six events went really well.”
After not racing in a competition in over two years, junior transfer Brandon Persky made a strong first impression with the Lopes by placing first and breaking GCU records in all four of his individual events.
“I knew the records coming in, and I knew that I could take them,” said Persky. “I did my best in the 100 breaststroke. I almost had my best time after not being in a meet in that long, so I was very surprised and happy with my results.”
On top of Persky’s individual records, the men also broke GCU program records in the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay.
“I was pretty surprised with the relay records,” said Phung. “Those records are from when we were at nationals in 2019, and that’s shaved, tapered, suited up and everything for those athletes, so the fact that we got three of those records was really good.”
Following the holiday break, the Lopes look to kickstart competition with a scrimmage against Ottawa University on Jan. 30.
Visit the GCU Club Swimming page for past event results!