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GCU Club Swimming places 1st at GSAC Championship

Club swimming team in huddle by pool
February 25, 2021

Lopes shatter 18 records in first meet of 2021

By: Julie Laugel/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff

Competition is finally back.

The Grand Canyon University Club Swimming team finished first at the Golden State Athletic Conference Championship, topping such schools as Arizona Christian University, Ottawa University, and The Masters University. In their first competition back after the long COVID-19 break, the Lopes came in first by over 200 points and broke 18 total GCU program records.

“They did really well for their first competition back,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Jeremy Phung. “There’s been a huge buildup of competing for a year, so I think they were eager to perform well.”

Women – 1st Place Finish

Lopes’ freshman Megan Wilkins was a lead scorer for the women, placing first in the 100 Backstroke, 200 Backstroke, 1000 Freestyle, and 1650 Freestyle. Wilkins also broke program records for the 100 Backstroke, 1000 Freestyle, and 1650 Freestyle, and helped the Lopes finish second in three relay events.

“I was expecting to do a little bit better, but when I stepped backed and looked at where I’m at and the fact that it has been a year, those times are definitely something to be proud of,” said Wilkins. “The team was cheering for everyone, and it was such a cool environment to be a part of, so I’m really thankful for that.”

Tyree Thomson also earned first place and broke program records in the 100 Breaststroke and 200 Individual Medley, with times of 1:12.35 and 2:22.30, respectively.

Men – 1st Place Finish

Brandon Persky helped lead the Lopes’ men to a first-place finish, competing in three individual and three relay events. Persky earned gold finishes in all six events, setting new program marks for the 200 Breaststroke, 200 Individual Medley, and 400 Individual Medley.

In his first competition for GCU, freshman James Lees also swam in six events, placing sixth in the 100 Freestyle and eighth in the 200 Freestyle, while also contributing to two relay wins in the 200 Freestyle and 800 Freestyle.

“I was probably still out of shape from all the time off that we’ve had, but I thought it went really well,” said Lees. “I dropped about two seconds off of my 100 Freestyle, which was really exciting.”

“James had a monster swim in our 200 Freestyle with a 22:85 time, which I think is his personal best,” said Phung. “I don’t think anyone should have been upset with their times. Everyone blew my expectations out of the water. It just gets me excited for what’s to come, especially for nationals.”

The Lopes’ next competition will be Saturday, March 6, where they will host the Canyon Classic. The meet will begin at 10:00 am at Antelope Pool.

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