Leopards close out Winter Invite with strong performances

Leopards close out Winter Invite with strong performances

SOUTH GATE, Calif. — Brandon Pon scored a win in the 1650 freestyle, Lorenzo DeLeon won the 200 backstroke, Mary Hanna set a program record in the 100 individual medley, and the Unversity of La Verne swimming and diving teams closed out the annual Collegiate Winter Invitational on a high note.

"This team grew a ton in these three days, we got better every single day," said La Verne swimming and diving Head Coach Pat Skehan. "They've been working really hard, they're young and inexperienced. They're going to make mistakes but they learn from them and that's going to makes us great in the end."

Pon led from start to finish in the race in the 1650 yard free, finishing with a B-Cut time of 16:15.03, the second fastest time in Leopards' history. Pon currently holds the La Verne record in the event with a time of 16:04.49.

"Brandon worked really hard this summer and was having trouble putting that speed into his swimming, but he got better every day and tonight was his specialty and he nailed it," said Skehan. It was his best swam mile he ever had and I see him in Indianapolis this March."

DeLeon, just a freshman, won the 200 yard backstroke a time of 1:56.86, the fastest time in the event for the Leopards since 2012.

"He was incredible, he's been struggling all week trying to put the pieces together and he finally nailed it tonight which is great for him," said Skehan.

On the women's side, team captain Mary Hanna jumped out fast for the Leopards in the 100 yard individual medley, finishing second overall and first among Division III swimmers on her way to setting a La Verne record at 1:02.30.

"Mary had her personal best in almost everything and set the program record in the 100 yard IM. She loves to race and her hard work is paying off."

Rachel Fox also turned in a top-three finish for the Leopards in the 1650 yard freestyle, finishing third with a time of 19:01.53.

Javier De Santiago touched third in the 200 yard butterfly at 2:04.15. Kayla Yip took third in the consolation final of the 200 yard butterfly and 11th overall with a time of 2:16.76.

La Verne closed ou the meet with fast finishes in the 400 freestyle relay. The women's team of Hanna, Fox, Yip, and Rachel Miyoga touched fifth with a time of 3:46.33. The combination of DeLeon, Pon, Kristofer Grigorian and CJ Woodward also placed fifth with a time of 3:20.94 for the men.

Day One Recap

Day Two Recap

Next Race: The Leopards break for the rest of the year before traveling next to Orange to compete against Chapman, Biloa, and Mills on Friday, January 12 at 3 p.m.