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Pon, Harry Bennett headline first day of Collegiate Winter Invitational

Pon, Harry Bennett headline first day of Collegiate Winter Invitational

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. — Harry Bennett won the men's 200 yard individual medley and Brandon Pon came in second in the men's 500 freestyle to headline the first day of Collegiate Winter Invitational at East Los Angeles College for the La Verne swimming and diving teams.

Bennett was in fifth place after the backstroke leg of the medley but turned in the fastest split in the breaststroke leg—his specialty—to claim the lead and edged out Whittier's Michael Laws for the victory. Bennett split 32.72 in the breaststroke leg and was the only swimmer to go faster than 34 seconds in the leg.

Pon, the distance specialist, was the only NCAA Division III swimmer to make the championship final of the 500 freestyle. He touched the wall at 4:47.10 to place second among six swimmers from Division II Concordia (Calif.) and two from NAIA Biola.

The Leopards had a couple of solid finishes in the relays as well. The men's 200 freestyle relay quartet of Timothy Polman, CJ Woodward, Joey Sabers and Daniel Carpenter turned in a time of 1:26.04 to finish second and half a second off the school record. Polman's leadoff split of 20.89 was the fastest among all swimmers in the event.

The women's 200 free relay team of Kayla Yip, Rachel Miyoga, Rachel Fox and Mary Hanna combined to go 1:41.02 and finished seventh.

The men's 400 medley relay team of Woodward, Bennett, Polman and Carpenter finished sixth in the with a time of 3:37.45 in the last event of the day.

The Leopards are back in action tomorrow at 10 a.m. for prelims and come back at 5 p.m. for evening finals.