Men’s swimming season opens with two victories

Both the men and women’s swim teams brought home season-opening victories on Oct. 27, when the Lions hosted Montclair State University to kick off the season with a 143-95 victory for the men and a 142-93 win for the women.

In their second meet of the season, when both the men and women faced Franklin & Marshall University on Nov. 5, the men managed to stay on top 113-86 but the women’s team lost 121-79.

The men now improve to 2-0 on the year. The Lions won nine of 11 events which lead to their victory.

The men had a big win in the 400 medley relay, featuring senior Jack O’Donnell, juniors Steve Swenson and Jeff Glen and sophomore George Savulich with a Lions’ top time of 3:39.66.

Senior captain Nick Steffanci captured the 50 free in 22.30. Savulich was first in the 200 fly in 1:58.88 and O’Donnell came in first in the 200 back in 2:03.66.

The women did not have the same success, causing their record to drop to 1-1 overall.

The Lion quartet of sophomore Catherine Benigno, junior Karen Bocian, and freshmen Ava Kiss and Kristin Udicious captured the 400 free relay with a time of 3:51.69.

Bocian also won the 200 breast in a time of 2:38.80. Benigno also swam well, coming in second in the 50 free in 26.41. The Lions did not have enough though, and in the end came out on the losing side of a tough battle.

Despite the loss for the women, the team maintains a positive outlook on the season.

“Our team works together, each and every one of the girls on our team has something, in or out of the pool, that contributes to the success of our team as a whole,” women’s senior captain Lauren Smith said.

Men’s senior captain Christopher Levin agreed. “We have strengths in pretty much every event this year,” he said. “It’s probably the strongest team we’ve ever had and we’re looking to set new records all around this year, at dual meets, conference championships and NCAA Championships as well.”

In their first meet against Montclair, the men’s team took the 400 medley relay in 3:41.51 behind the effort of freshman Liam Gallagher, junior Koji Bratcher, Steffanci and sophomore Kyle King.

Freshman Scott Reiners also contributed to the win when he captured the 1000 free with a time of 10:23.13.

On top of Steffanci’s excellent performance in the 400 medley relay, he was also first in the 200 IM with a time of 2:06.21 and first in the 100 free in 50.45.

Other first-place finishers were freshman Josh Forsman, who won the 200 fly in 2:06.55, and senior Bryan Rahter, who took first in the 200 back with a time of 2:04.57.

The women also won the 400 medley relay. Benigno, juniors Karen Bocian and junior Beth Hurley and Kiss all contributed to the winning time of 4:21.54.

The Lion’s women’s team took first in the 1000 free as freshman Liz LaCava won in 11:46.88.

Senior Jackie Whitty added to the win, taking first place in both the 200 IM with a time of 2:22.53 and the 500 free with a time of 5:38.36.

Freshman Christine Marino captured the 200 back in 2:19.09, and sophomore diver Lee Swanson captured both one-meter diving events with scores of 101.35 and 139.40.

“The team is looking great so far,” Levin said. “We have a really solid freshman class and everyone has been really devoted and hard working.”

Smith said the same goes for the women. “We are training harder then ever,” she said.

“We are very supportive of each other in and out of practice which helps us get through it all,” Smith said. “There is no way we would want to get up for 7 a.m. practice every morning if we didn’t like each other and love the sport.”

Both the men and women will be back in action on Saturday when the Lions travel to Southern Connecticut State University for a dual meet.