When sophomore swimmer Jailey Reeves arrived Feb. 21 at the Brenda Villa Aquatic Center in Commerce, California, for the first day of the swimming conference championships, she was nervous. At the four-day-long swim meet, in which nine university teams including Chapman competed, the indoor pool became small, stuffy and overcrowded. The floor was more soaked than usual and it was hard for Reeves to breathe with the heavy scent of chlorine in the air.
Despite the chaos, Reeves broke her own record in the 200-meter breaststroke that she set at the championships in 2018. Her fastest time was set in the preliminaries with a time of 2:24.64, which is a 0.23 second decrease in time from last year. The moment, while not surprising, was bittersweet for Reeves because she had higher expectations.
“It was really expected of me to break that record,” she said.
Reeves’ relay team also broke the school record on the final day of the meet, something she found more satisfying than her own accomplishment. The women’s 400-meter freestyle relay team, consisting of Reeves, junior Molly Davis and seniors Kristina Fong and Sadie Wiens, who took third place overall with a record time of 3:33.08, beating Chapman’s previous record time of 3:33.86.
“After the race, we all just sat there and cried together,” Reeves said. “We all did way better than we were expected to do.”
The victory was special to the relay team: It was the last race for the two seniors, Fong and Wiens, in their college careers.
“Our motivation was to do the best we could. It was an emotional day for everyone,” Davis said. “We really wanted to end on a high note.”
Davis also set a new school record in her individual 100-meter freestyle race, finishing with a time of 52.83 seconds. She broke a previous record held by her teammate Fong in 2014 by just 0.01 seconds. Davis said she was taken aback by this news.
“I didn’t even know that was possible or that I had the ability to do it,” Davis said. “It was such a happy surprise.”
Still, both Reeves and Davis said that they still suffer from anxiety and nervousness before an important competition. Reeves seeks “quiet time” to help calm her nerves. Davis prefers chatting with the competitors around her to distract herself.
“You put in all of this work and have one big meet at the end of it,” Davis said. “Everything you’ve done that whole season leads up to this moment. That’s where all the pressure and nerves come from.”
The men’s 400-meter freestyle relay team also broke a school record on the final day of the meet. Junior Dominic DelliQuadri, junior Austin Donaghue, junior Clint Hurdle and sophomore Justin Lammert took fifth overall with a time of 3:06.84, beating the school’s previous record by a minute and 52 seconds.
Hurdle said the victory made the hard work from the season worth it.
“All the 6 a.m. practices on the pool deck in our Speedos in 36-degree weather — it all paid off,” Hurdle said.