Mesa men stay in front at RMAC swim championships

Colorado Mesa’s Eryn Leonard takes a breath Thursday during the women’s 100-yard butterfly at the RMAC swimming championships at El Pomar Natatorium. Leonard finished third in the event.

Justin Hastings and the Colorado Mesa men’s 200-yard freestyle relay team hoped to clock an automatic national-qualifying time.

They settled for first place in the RMAC swimming & diving championships on Thursday evening at El Pomar Natatorium.

“We didn’t swim as fast as we would’ve liked to, but our goal was to win the event and that’s what happened,” Hastings said.

The men’s 200 freestyle relay took first place with a B standard time of 1 minute, 21.63 seconds to keep the Mavericks in first place in the team standings with 568 points. Seventeenth-ranked California Baptist is second with 517.

Ninth-ranked California Baptist leads the women’s race with 549 points. Colorado Mesa is second with 374. Adams State is third with 354.

“We scored less than I hoped on the men’s side, but we scored more yesterday than I thought we would, so we came out about on my projections,” CMU coach Ron Allen said. “On the women’s side for Baptist, this was one of their strongest days, so I knew they’d blow by us, but we shouldn’t let them go too much farther past us.”

The men’s 200 freestyle relay missed the automatic national-qualifying time of 1:19.91 by less than two seconds.

“Our men’s 200 free relay was just shy of making nationals, so we may try it in a time trial (next week),” Allen said.

The men are in first place because of their success in some of the preliminary swims.

Three reached the final of the 200 freestyle. Drake Mendelson placed fifth in 1:42.36. Jarren Brinton was seventh in 1:42.70 and Rob Eisendrath was eighth in 1:42.96.

“Our performance on the men’s side of the preliminaries in the 200 free was a big key for us,” Allen said. “We had three guys in the finals I had not projected. That was big for us. For Mines and Baptist, that was one of their strong events, so we broke some people up there.”

Hastings not only won his first RMAC relay title, but his first individual RMAC title on the same night.

The Colorado Mesa sophomore came from behind to win the 100 butterfly in 49.36 seconds.

“I’m not the fastest out, but the last 25 (yards) is where my race starts,” Hastings said. “If I’m within a body of someone in the last 25, I can usually catch them.

“At the 50 mark, I snuck a peek. I saw they were a half a body from me and I knew we’d have a good race.”

He was one second from an automatic national-qualifying time.

“It was a good race,” Hastings said. “My personal goals weren’t met, but we needed to place higher than we did in the prelims and team titles are more important than a personal goal.”

Briana Purkapile led the women with a second-place finish in the 400 individual medley (4:29.52). Amanda Jennings placed second in 1-meter diving with a score of 418.80 and Eryn Leonard was third in the 100 butterfly in 58.01 seconds.

“Justin Hastings’ 100 butterfly, I don’t know if it will make nationals, but it was a heck of a swim,” Allen said. “Bri Purkapile is really close to getting into nationals.”

The RMAC championships continue with prelims at 9:30 this morning. Finals are scheduled for 5 p.m.


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