Setup for Success: Recapping Gardner-Webb Swimming’s Midseason Invitational -—Official Web Site of Gardner-Webb Athletics
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Gardner-Webb will send three swimmers to USA Swimming Winter Nationals, held in Knoxville, Tenn. December 5-7.
Courtesy: Tim Cowie /
Setup for Success: Recapping Gardner-Webb Swimming’s Midseason Invitational
Courtesy: Gardner-Webb
          Release: December 03, 2013
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Boiling Springs, N.C. – Gardner-Webb’s men’s and women’s swim teams wrapped up a three-day weekend at the Wingate Fall Frenzy, its midseason invitational, a week ago, capping a host of head-turning performances that figures to set Mike Simpson’s Runnin’ Bulldogs up for success come February.

GWU not only displayed growth by setting season best times (each swimmer who participated at the invitational, held in Charlotte, N.C. November 22-24, established at least one season best), but went a step further.

Eleven swimmers established at least one personal best time at its midseason taper meet. Additionally, two school records were set, both by men’s standout Nathan Lile.

On Saturday, the middle day of the Frenzy, Lile (Waynesville, N.C.) exemplified the successful weekend for Gardner-Webb by setting two school records individually. The sophomore reset his own GWU-best mark in the 400 I.M., placing fourth with a time of 3:59.67. Later that night, Lile went 1:39.95 leading off the 800 free relay, setting another school record for the men’s 200 free.

Lile would finish the weekend with two more personal best times, finishing finals with the fastest times of his career in the 200 I.M. (1:53.87) and the 200 fly (1:51.68).

Lile’s steady performance over the weekend was joined by a myriad contributions to the Gardner-Webb effort, including junior Charity Byrum’s, characterized by 1st place finishes in both breaststroke events while setting season best times in the process. A Winston-Salem, N.C. native, Byrum won the 100 breast (1:03.06) and the 200 breast (2:21.01) and was a key part of four Top 3 relays at the Wingate Fall Frenzy.

Senior Faith Kempf (Sterling, Kan.) also displayed a knack for getting her relay teams ready, as she was also a part of four Top 3 relays over the weekend. Kempf split 52.05 as the second swimmer on the 3rd place 400 free relay quartet, split 23.79 as the 3rd place 200 free relay team anchor, and placed Top 5 individually in both the 200 free (1:53.96) and the 200 fly (2:06.34), all in season best times.

A resilient weekend for Gardner-Webb swimming was crystallized in the performance of Luke Denman, whose dramatic 9th place showing the 400 I.M. (4:05.23) marked a new season best and gave the Runnin’ Bulldogs two in the Top 10 of that event. The sophomore from Greenville, S.C. also placed 2nd in the 1,650 free (16:00.43) and 4th in the 500 free (4:37.66), establishing season bests in both events and solidifying the men’s distance efforts.

In addition to Lile, five Runnin’ Bulldogs set multiple personal bests at the Wingate Fall Frenzy: sophomore Caroline Andrews, freshman Connor Bos, sophomore Christina Clayton, freshman Adél Kiss, and sophomore April Niccolai.

Andrews (Hillsborough, N.C.) broke loose for personal bests in the 50 free (24.77), 100 free (53.36), and 200 free (1:55.85), setting her up for tremendous opportunity the rest of the season. Bos (Holland, Mich.) sprinted to four personal best performances: 50 back (23.77), 100 back (51.57), 200 back (1:54.37), and 100 fly (52.44).

Clayton recorded the fastest 50 and 100 freestyle times of the season to date for the Runnin' Bulldog women at 24.34 and 53.17, respectively. Her time in the 50 free marked a season best, propelling her to win 'C' finals of the event. Clayton's time in the 100 free set a new personal best, as the Brentwood, Tennessee native again raced to a heat win, this time placing 9th to win 'B' finals.

Kiss (Hungary) experienced immediate success in swimming the 400 I.M. for the first time this season, setting a new personal best in prelims of the event and earning the No. 2 seed going into finals thanks to a time of 4:34.91 before shattering that time in finals to finish in 2nd place in the event with a new best time at 4:30.90. Kiss also set personal bests in the 200 I.M. (2:08.28) and the 200 fly (2:08.30).

Niccolai was Top 5 in each of her three individual events, including a 4th place showing and personal best time (4:34.28) in the 400 I.M. The sophomore from Naperville, Illinois set season bests to finish 5th individually in the 200 back (2:04.62) and 200 I.M. (2:08.22) and established a personal best 100 back time (58.03) leading off GWU’s 7th place 400 medley relay team on the opening night.

Other personal best performances from the Fall Frenzy came from Josh Hanson (200 breast - 2:12.93), Andrew Linzie (100 free – 48.34), Brandon Searle (100 fly – 50.90), Maria Seward (100 free – 53.28), and Tate Warden (100 fly – 50.80).

Gardner-Webb swimming turns its attention to its winter training schedule, a regimen that includes a winter training trip to Sarasota, Florida following Christmas. The Runnin’ Bulldogs follow that trip with a men’s meet against James Madison and Georgetown, run January 10-11 in Harrisonburg, Va.



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