The Brandeis swimming and diving teams were in action this week, competing in the University Athletic Association Championships at the University of Chicago. While both the men’s and women’s teams finished eighth in the conference, there were a number of impressive performances on each squad leading to new school records for the Judges.

The women’s team started the first day of competition by establishing a new University record in the 200-yard freestyle relay. With a time of 1:40.33 in the preliminaries, the group of Amy Sheinhait ’18, Natalya Wozab ’20, Abby Damsky ’18 and Yvette Smith ’20 took 22 seconds off the former record, which had been set at the prior UAA Championships. Sheinhait’s 50-yard time of 24.90 seconds broke the longstanding record of 24.93 seconds held since 1990 by Brandeis swimming Hall of Famer Wendy Lowengrub ’90. The Judges began the second day of competition with another relay school record, this time in the 200-yard medley relay. Again in the preliminary round, the team of Sheinhait, Wozab, Smith, and Hwanee Park ’20 put in a time of 1:52.00, taking off a quarter of a second from the previous record set in 2009.  

For the Brandeis women’s team, Kylie Herman ’19 had a standout run at the conference event. Herman was one of Brandeis’ most consistent swimmers, reaching the finals in an event in three consecutive days. On the Championship’s first day, she finished 19th in the women’s 500-yard freestyle with a personal-best time of 5:09.37. This came after she had set a then-personal-best time of 5:11.65 in the preliminary rounds to qualify for the finals. Later in the meet, she notched a 23rd-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle and a 15th-place finish in the 200-yard butterfly. This has been a very impressive season for the sophomore, as she has often finished in first or second in her events during team competition while consistently placing in invitational meets.

A number of Brandeis records were also set on the men’s team this week. Matching the achievement of the women’s team on the first day, the men similarly set a University relay record. In the 400-yard medley relay, the team of Tamir Zitelny ’20, Richard Avrutsky ’18, Edan Zitelny ’17 and Cameron Braz ’17 clocked in with a time of 3:28.86, finishing in sixth place and taking almost three seconds off the previous record set in 2010. Tamir Zitelny set two individual records, first with a time of 23.97 seconds in his leg of the men’s 200-yard medley relay on day two. The next day, Zitelny’s 1:51.88 in the finals of the 200-yard backstroke took 0.29 seconds off the former record, leading to an 11th-place finish.

These two records for Zitelny highlighted a number of big performances in Chicago. Zitelny’s 10th-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 50.88 seconds was the team’s highest-placing finish of the meet and matched his own school-record time set in December. He also finished 16th overall in the 100-yard butterfly, which marked a 1.3 percent improvement on his previous best time for the event, per Zitelny continued his strong swimming this season, and as a first-year, he will be an athlete to watch over the course of his already promising Brandeis career.

In a conference dominated by the Emory University swim teams, which won the conference championship title for the 19th consecutive year, this has historically been a difficult meet for Brandeis. Both the men’s and women’s teams are currently in runs of 8th place conference finishes, and they were unable to break those streaks this season. With only the New England Swimming and Diving Association Championship remaining this season, the team will look to build on the strength of their recent performances, from rookies and veterans alike, as they make their way to Rhode Island next weekend.