Swimmers hold 5th annual biathlon

Chayse Held and Chayse Held

The opening phase of the 2006-07 BGSU swimming and diving season concluded Saturday with the fifth annual Falcon Biathlon.

The event, which includes a 2,000-yard swim [80 laps] and a 5-kilometer run, is the final test for the Falcon swimmers before Friday’s “Orange and Brown” inter-squad pentathlon.

Immediately after the swimmers completed their 80 laps [four individual 500m swims], the clock started on the 5-K run.

The running portion of the biathlon began outside of Cooper Pool at the Student Recreation Center, looped around the Math Science Building and then around Doyt Perry Stadium back to the pool.

“It’s definitely difficult to get back into training intensely after summer, but I think that the team has always excelled at buckling down and getting those few hard weeks in right when school starts up,” said Lisa Hipp, sprint freestyle and butterfly specialist.

The biathlon is used by the swimming and diving teams to gauge their skill level at this point of the season. It is also used to point out what the team needs to improve on.

“I think the biathlon really gets the team going into the season because it comes right before meets start, so you have some time to prepare and gain confidence before competing with other schools,” said Hipp.

With coach Keri Buff absent on maternity leave since the beginning of the season, there was an added importance to this year’s biathlon.

“I’ve been kind of nervous with our head coach on maternity leave until this week,” said team captain Caroline Keating. “But, overall as a team, this is the best biathlon we’ve had since I’ve been here.”

The swimmers were divided into teams of three for the biathlon, with their times combined for both the swimming and running portions of the event. Injuries discluded some from competing in the swim portion, so instead they “kicked” 2,000 yards in the pool.

Leading the Falcons in the overall time for the biathlon was Jen Wright, who finished in 47:23. Keating had the best individual time in the pool with a combined time of 22:19.37. Wright finished with the fastest 5-K time, finishing 24:16.

“[The biathlon] showed that all of the girls were in pretty good shape and that our training is paying off,” said Brit O’Connor, backstroke and freestyle specialist.

This swimming pentathlon is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday at Cooper Pool.