Swimming, diving Cardinals reap team, individual awards

By Katie Rivera


The men and women’s swimming and diving teams’ season was filled with conferences and competitions that brought the University of the Incarnate Word’s Cardinals national recognition.

Joy Turner swimming (April 2012)
Joy Turner earned RMAC All-Academic honors.

Three days later on Jan. 30, Nascimento went on to win in three contests: the 50, 100 and 200 Freestyle at the UIW Swimming and Diving Invitational. The team overall finished second to Division I Air Force Academy.

The men’s team was going strong in January as well. They swept the board in all five events they participated in at the UIW Swimming and Diving Invitational. Their first event, the 200-Freestyle relay, included Cody Armstrong, Daniel Murata, Joey Reeve and Kody Gagne. They finished in 3:24.46.

When the men’s Cardinal team went to the meet at the Aquatic Center at Palo Alto, they nearly had another sweep of wins. They won three of the five events for which they were entered. The 200-Freestyle race was one of the most exciting for Cardinal fans, because senior Patrick Cardenas touched first as Incarnate Word had the top four finishers and seven of the eight swimmers in the finals.

The end of January and the beginning of February meant lots of practices for the men and women because the biggest conference of the season was just around the corner. The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMCA) championship week was Feb. 15-18 at the Aquatic Center at Palo Alto. Since the Lone Star Conference does not sponsor swimming and diving competitions, UIW competes as an associate member of the RMAC.

This was the fourth year of UIW’s participation and the last three years they walked away with away with league titles.

“After four years as a swimmer for Incarnate Word, I have seen the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference grow substantially in talent and depth,” Cardenas said. “Because of this unprecedented success in RMAC swimming, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has seen its top Division II swimmers record times which are not much different than those of the top Division I swimmers.”

The first day of competition gave men and women Cardinals both strong names to start out with. The women won three of their events and the men’s team finished first in team points for men.

On day two of the RMCA, Mark Rubin took the gold for the 500- freestyle. This makes the win the fourth year in a row for UIW. The women’s team took home two major wins on day two: Nascimento won the 50-meter freestyle and Molly Freeman won the 500-freestyle.

“This year was a lot different,” Freeman said. “Coming off of a great first season at UIW, it was hard for me not to compare this year to my freshman year. A lot of things were different with last year’s seniors and my training partner’s gone, but I think it was a successful year.”

The end of the RMCA brought UIW swimmers lots of success. Kaitlyn Whalen was named RMAC Freshman of the Year, and when RMAC announced its swimming and diving academic teams Rubin was head of the class for men.

“Our Swimming and Diving team had many ups and downs throughout the season, from injuries to excitement,” Rubin said. “ I witnessed many people fight through tough times and overcome enormous obstacles. Not once did I see anyone let anything get the best of them. We fought together as a team. Competing in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference meet is a surreal experience. The team spirit and atmosphere takes over and all the pain and hard times leave, and the only thing that matters is being there for everyone by giving it your all and supporting everyone else. Next fall, it will be sad to not see the seniors who have helped build this team to what it is now, but I am excited (about) this program and what it has become to new people.”




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