Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Mering Makes History with Win at Nationals

Junior Karl Mering started nationals without his goggles and ended with a national championship.

Mering had a successful stint at the Division III Swimming National Championships in Indianapolis, highlighted by a victory in the 100-yard butterfly that made him the first national champion swimmer in Whitman’s history at the DIII level. This feat, however, looked doubtful in the 100-yard butterfly preliminaries, when Mering’s goggles fell off as he dove into the pool.

“It definitely distracted me from my race for a split second,” he said. “But knowing that I was able to get through that gave me a lot of confidence going forward, so it kind of worked in my favor in a weird way.”

After a sixth place finish in preliminaries, Mering was put in an outside lane for the finals, limiting his vision of other swimmers.

“I couldn’t really see anyone as I was swimming, I could just sort of feel them. I think that feeling of people breathing down my neck helped me in the end,” he said.

Mering ended up winning with a time of 47.91 seconds, just a hundredth of a second before the runner-up Samuel Gill from Connecticut College, a wonderful but not entirely unexpected result.

“I came in knowing I was capable of winning,” said Mering. “There’s only so much that you can control in a race, but I knew winning was within my realm of expectations.”

Mering also performed well in his other races, including 14th place in the 100-yard freestyle and third in the 200-yard butterfly. He attributes his success largely to having gone to nationals last year.

“After nationals last year, I understood what I needed to do in training, so this time around I felt a lot more confident and physically prepared,” he said.

He was also aided by having senior Claire Collins competing at nationals with him. Collins capped off her career with 11th-place finishes in both the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events.

“Claire is a wonderful person, so it was nice to have her there as extra support. And it was nice to have a teammate there so I wouldn’t always be thinking about my own races,” Mering said.

After capping his season off well, Mering feels more comfortable going into next year.

“I’ve always wanted to be a 100-yard freestyle guy, but now I realize I’m a butterfly guy. I’ve sort of found my identity,” he said.

Mering is especially excited about the 200-yard butterfly next season, after finishing third behind two other juniors.

“It’s going to be an insane race. Three of us finished within a half second of the national record, and we’re all juniors, so it’ll be a fun race next year,” he said.

While Mering has plenty to anticipate, he also can reflect on a remarkable end to his season.

“To come away with the result that I dreamed about, it feels great,” he said.



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  • K

    KellerMar 25, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    That tenth of a second win was actually a hundredth of a second win, which made for an even more astounding win!