Year In Review: Swimming into the Record Book

Brad Brooks (c) 2013 David Sinclair/McDaniel College
Brad Brooks (c) 2013 David Sinclair/McDaniel College

This is the fifth in our eight-part Summer Year-In-Review Series. Each Monday, we will recap one of the top stories from the 2013-14 year. In Part Five, we fly head to February and recap another stellar championship weekend for the men's and women's swimming teams.

Brad Brooks

As a freshman, Brad Books was already one of the more decorated swimmers in program history.

As a sophomore, the dominance may have been less apparent but that could be attributed to the standard he had set a season earlier.

He still lowered no fewer than two of his own records during the year, added two more gold medals at the Centennial Conference (CC) championship, returned to the NCAA championship and earned his first Academic All-America honor.

The 4.0 exercise science and physical education major was named to the Academic All-America At-Large third team on June 3, arguable the most difficult team to earn the accolades on since it takes into account all student-athletes who are not part of the 12 sports in which distinct Academic All-America teams are selected.

Brooks won the 500 and 1,650 freestyle races at the 2014 CC championship meet to advance to the NCAA Division III national championship for the second straight season in the two events. Brooks was also second in the 200 free at the CC meet. In two season racing at the CC championship, he has five gold medals and one silver medal to his ledger. 

The only All-American in men's swimming program history, Brooks added his second career honorable mention nod this season to go with one first-team honor last year. At the NCAA meet, he was 10th in the 1650 free with a time of 15:44.66.

Brooks was not alone in his success at the Championship Meet in February.

Freshman Justin Allen joined Brooks as a Green Terror swimmer to stand atop the podium. After qualifying third in the prelims on Saturday with a time of 59.11, Allen broke the program record by a full second in the 100 breaststroke finals. He turned in a time of 57.92 to win by 0.19 seconds.

Two other program records fell over championship weekend. Brooks and Allen teamed with Stevie Hoyt and Patrick Rogers for a new program-best mark in the 400 medley relay to close out Friday's action. The quartet finished sixth in the field with a time of 3:33.62 to smash the previous mark by nearly seven seconds. Brooks led off the relay with a split of 54.25 seconds to establish a new program record in the 100 backstroke.

Allen just missed a second medal on Sunday. After ranking third after the prelims of the 200 breaststroke with a program-record time of 2:10.10, Allen bettered that time to 2:09.09 in the finals but fell to fourth place.

Hoyt rounded out a trio of Green Terror swimmers to notch individual records. In the prelims of the 100 butterfly on Saturday, he finished 11th overall to earn a spot in the B finals with his best collegiate time (53.71). In the finals, he finished 11th with a program-record time of 53.31 seconds.

On the women's side, it was eight records and five medals for McDaniel.

With the trend continuing of a championship-weekend overhaul of the record book, it was a senior – Emma Duesterhaus – and a freshman – Sydney Knadler – leading the charge. As a team, the Green Terror recorded the most points at the CC championship in program history with 398 points over the Feb. 21-23, 2014 weekend.

For Duesterhaus, she went out with four more medals and etched her name atop the record book five times. Individually, she grabbed a silver medal in the 100 backstroke on Saturday night. After lowering her program record to 58.49 seconds in the prelims, she went into the finals as the top seed. In the finals, she lowered her time to 57.94 but fell to second by 0.10 seconds.

She also lowered her program record in the 100 free on Sunday. She turned in a time of 53.85 to take the top spot in the B finals. In the finals, she lowered that time to 53.24 to win the B finals in a time that would have been fifth in the A finals.

Individually, Knadler took bronze in the 50 free with a program-record time of 24.46 seconds. Knadler qualified third in the Friday morning prelims with a time of 24.58.

The duo joined forces for a trio of medals and program records in three relays.

Knadler and Duesterhaus joined Kerrin Holmes and Mariel Ramey to open Friday night's session with a silver medal in the 200 free relay, doing it program-record time. The quartet – paced by Knadler's then-record time of 24.48 to lead off the relay – posted a time of 1:37.94.

Knadler and Duesterhaus then teamed with Abbie Schickler and Kerrie Vanscoy to open Saturday night's session with another relay record. The group earned bronze in the 200 medlay relay with a time of 1:49.18.

Knadler and Duesterhaus joined Holmes and Shannon McClellan to close the meet with a bronze in the 400 free relay in a program-record time of 3:35.19, breaking the previous mark by nearly four seconds.

Vanscoy added an individual program record on Sunday, finishing fifth in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:09.95. She qualified fourth in the morning prelims with a then-best time of 2:10.07.

McClellan added an eighth program record for the Green Terror. After toppling the 500 free record in the prelims to qualify sixth with her time of 5:10.29, she bettered that mark by more than three seconds to finish fourth in the finals with a time of 5:07.06.

Fast-forward again and the teams were recognized in May for something even more.

Each year, the Centennial Conference honors one male, one female and one team as its annual sportsmanship winners. At the end of 2013-14, the team winner was presented to the McDaniel swimming teams for their show of sportsmanship during the season.

The Green Terror was nominated for the award by fellow conference member Bryn Mawr after the team's act of sportsmanship during a dual meet on Feb. 1.

During the meet – a 99-68 win for McDaniel, one of the Bryn Mawr swimmers was taking a little longer than the rest of the field to finish the 400 individual medley. The McDaniel women's team joined her Owl teammates to cheer for the swimmer from the deck. The McDaniel men's team, in attendance in support of their women's team, joined in the cheers for this opponent.

According to the nomination from Bryn Mawr, "It meant so much that the other team did not laugh or make fun of my fellow athlete but rather cheered her on…. I was proud to be in the CC with them."

"Although I think we can agree that one of the top priorities in competition is seeing how you stack up against the person next to you, and hopefully for us, it's on the topside," head coach Jeff Hiestand noted. "But I think competition also provides us with the opportunity to help each other be the best we can be. I want our swimmers to understand the best way to help yourself, is to help others."

Additionally, Bryn Mawr was moved by the sportsmanship shown by the McDaniel teams at the conference championship. The Green Terror was the only team to stay during the entire morning session in support of the other competitors.

"Team first," Hiestand added about the championship event. "I think sending teammates to eat, or back to the hotel, sends the wrong message. In this situation, even if I had asked if they wanted to, they would have said no. Everyone was staying through the afternoon miles (1,650 freestyle) to cheer on their teammates. And our team grew stronger because of it."

In the words of Bryn Mawr head coach Nikki Whitlock, "The Bryn Mawr swim team is proud to have nominated the McDaniel swim team for their unselfish and genuine support during this year's Centennial Conference Swimming Championships. The moment of athletic camaraderie came when the last preliminary heat of the women's 1650 was racing. The spectator stands were empty except for a few parents watching the last race of Sunday morning. The entire McDaniel swim team and Bryn Mawr team were on the poolside cheering on their teammates in the heat. One of Bryn Mawr senior swimmer was finishing her last laps of the 66-lap race solo while the rest of the heat had finished. This swimmer had a goal time for her final race of her swimming career and she was just on pace to break that time. The Bryn Mawr swimmers were wildly cheering for our swimmer to keep her motivated and on pace. Every McDaniel swimmer and coach joined us! There was a wall of enthusiastic arm-waving athletes making that Bryn Mawr swimmer go faster. Our swimmer finished her race and broke her goal time by 4 seconds! Afterwards, the McDaniel swimmers joined us in a congratulatory gauntlet on the pool deck. It was such a moment of pure love of the sport and competition. It was a reminder that every athlete counts and the McDaniel's swim team showed the true spirit of sportsmanship! Congratulations to a well-deserved award to the team and their coach Jeff Hiestand."

The CSEC defines a sportsmanship act as behavior exhibited by student-athletes based on values, respect and integrity.

In addition to meeting that definition, to be nominated the team's act had to positively affect a community's sports culture and game environment, go beyond the sport's playing rules and etiquette and the decision must be respect of the game and opponent.