Martin Berggren, a sophomore for the Santa Monica College’s swim team, practices on Wednesday, April 11 during their daily trainings at the Santa Monica Swim Center in Santa Monica, California. The team is preparing for championships which will finish out the season beginning Thursday, April 19 until the 21. (Ethan Lauren/Corsair Photo)

Swimmers from Santa Monica College competed in the Western State Conference Championships last week. Competing against nine other schools, the men’s team took second place, losing to Cuesta College, while the women’s team placed seventh. The two teams’ results resulted in the Santa Monica Corsairs finishing in third place overall, behind Bakersfield College in second and Cuesta College in first.

On the men’s team, the Corsairs brought 15 out of the 93 male athletes who competed in the conference and participated in 44 total events.

Colin Casey won first place in each of the three events in which he participated: the 100-yard fly, 200-yard fly, and the 100-yard backstroke. With each win giving the team 20 points, Casey led the team with 60 points out of a total of 591 individual points between all athletes. This performance was enough to give Casey the title, Swimmer of the Meet.

Brian Mcateer received 52 points, with first place in the 200-yard breaststroke. Martin Berggren won 45 points, finishing first in the 100-yard breaststroke, a goal he has been aiming for all year.

Head coach Brian Eskridge, recognized as Coach of the Year at the meet, thought the team had a good chance at winning, but realized Cuesta was a tough opponent. “That’s what’s the hardest thing, because we swam really well, every guy was dropping time, outside of one or two swims, everything was going well,” Eskridge said. “We were moving up places, beating people, it’s just Cuesta did that better.”

In the 2017 conference, the men’s team also placed second, losing at the time to Ventura College. “Second place is still something to be proud of, but we were aiming for first, so second kind of stings,” Berggren said. “When your goal and your mindset is first, getting the silver isn’t exactly your happiest moment.”

On the women’s team, SMC brought six athletes out of 114 swimmers and placed seventh. On the individual side, the team scored 152 points, with Shayna Simmer having the most with 49. SMC’s women’s team had the smallest turnout for the meet, tied with College of the Canyons, yet that team finished in ninth place. Citrus College was placed in sixth, but with a team of 16 female swimmers, they only beat SMC by a total of 8 points.

“It was an impressive showing for them, I’m really proud of the girls,” Eskridge said. “They all swam very well and it’s the best we’ve done in a couple years. We’re building that program and it was a good first step.”

Ten athletes, including Casey, Berggren, and seven other male swimmers and Simmer, the only female swimmer, will be going to the state championships, which will take place during the first weekend of May.


This story was published as part of a partnership between the SMC Corsair student newspaper and the Santa Monica Daily Press.