Hovarth is top swimmer

The College’s women’s swim team earned first place for the fifth consecutive year at the 2003 Metropolitan Conference Swimming and Diving Championship (MET) held at Rutgers University over the weekend, while the men took second place after nine years of dominant finishes at the top.

The men’s and women’s teams combined for 26 NCAA ‘B’ cuts, 14 school records, 10 NCAA automatic qualifying times and scores and seven MET records after competing from Friday to Sunday.

On the men’s side, senior Brendan Gallagher and sophomore Nick Steffanci earned U. S. National Open cuts in the 100 fly, and freshmen Steve Swenson and Matt Kacprzak earned cuts in the 100 breast.

Second-year coach Jennifer Harnett was given Coach of the Year honors for the second time in her short stint, while juniors Kristen Simms and Aubrey Horvath earned Most Outstanding Diver and Most Outstanding Swimmer awards, respectively.

It was Simms’ third straight such award, as she won both the one and three-meter events with a MET record in the three-meter (493.95), and Horvath’s second straight outstanding swimmer award.

The Lion’s diving coach, Candace Gottlieb, was named the MET Diving Coach of the Year in her fifteenth season with the program. The women’s team posted 851.50 points, topping second place Rowan University by almost 200 points.

“A lot of people really stepped up to help the team,” Harnett said. “We thought Southern Connecticut was going to be a bigger threat than they were, but they had some people missing from their line-up. Rowan kind of surprised us a little considering we crushed them in the dual-meet.”

Highlights for the men’s squad included Steffanci’s performance in the 50 freestyle, which set a Lion’s record at 20.73.

The old mark was held by Gallagher, who was busy helping freshman Swenson, and sophomores Davy Bisslik and Steffanci capture the school record by finishing in second place in the 200 medley relay in 1:33.55. Gallagher also broke a school record in the 100 fly with a time of 50.27.

“They train all year long, but I think it’s the enthusiasm within the team that really gets everyone going and they feed off of each other in that respect,” Harnett said.