Swimming attains multiple NCAA ‘B’ cuts

The Lions’ swimming and diving teams recorded several individual victories in separate events this past weekend.

Sophomore diver Lee Swanson crushed the competition at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Swimming and Diving Championships.

In the one-meter event, Swanson led with a score of 333.85, leaving freshman diver Charlotte Rea of Brandeis University behind by 36.50 points. Swanson also won in the three-meter event with a score of 402.70 while Rea fell behind by 94.10 points.

Swanson was named ECAC Female Diver of the Meet after her powerful performance in both events.

The men’s team participated in the Princeton University Invitational and though they were the only Division III representative, the Lions still managed to capture several victories. Junior tri-captain Steve Swenson recorded a first-place finish in the 100 breaststroke at 56.65.

“I’m swimming a lot faster this year and at this point in the season,” Swenson said about his performance. “I’m getting the team points and I’m happy with that.” He then defeated his competitors in the 200 breaststroke with a NCAA ‘B’ cut of 2:05.50.

Senior tri-captain Nick Steffanci recorded an NCAA ‘B’ cut of 51.26 in the 100 butterfly. He did not officially place, however, due to the fact that it was an exhibition swim.

“I did okay (in the meet), but I am not ecstatic about my performance,” Steffanci said.

Junior Jeff Glenn also swam an NCAA ‘B’ cut in the 100 freestyle with a time of 46.69 to place fourth. In the same event, Steffanci came in seventh with a time of 47.02 and sophomore Kyle King placed ninth in the consolations with a time of 46.96.

“We expect to compete against fast swimmers and get good times to make NCAA cuts which is our big goal for the weekend,” head coach Brian Bishop said before the meet. “Of course there are specific swimmers I am looking to do well and I’m hoping we have six to eight guys make (NCAA) cuts. Swenson, Steffanci and King can make individual cuts and there are a few other guys that should, along with a few freshman who are right there as well.”

The team also came away with an NCAA ‘B’ cut in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:06.48. Members of the team included Steffanci, Glenn, King and senior tri-captain Chris Levin. Besides the breaststroke, the Lions consider the medley team one of its strongest weapons and will look for it to advance and win medals in NCAA playoffs as well.

“I was looking for more individual qualifiers because we were hoping to get enough done and be fast enough now so that we could rest until NCAA meets instead of having to put more into the dual meets,” Bishop said.

“We are much better this year than last, but we have to maintain the focus that we have.”

The rest of the team seems to be looking towards playoffs as well.

“We should win the conference and finish in the top five at NCAA championships too,” Swenson said.

Bishop is clear about his goals for the season: “Dual meets are not as important to us because they are just for times and it’s about how fast we swim,” Bishop said. “We do not have any divers this year so each meet we are trying to come up from a 32-point deficit. We can medal in about every event in the conference.”

The women’s team also competed this past weekend in the Franklin and Marshall Invitational, finishing fourth overall out of nine teams. The 200 medley relay team came in first at 1:53.45. The team consisted of freshmen Lauren Breslin and Ava Kiss and juniors Karen Bocian and Beth Hurley.

“It was a nice surprise for the medley team to win,” head coach Jen Harnett said. “It is a change of pace to focus on our medley team and this year they are one of the best in the conference. The whole team went beyond my expectations this weekend.”

Members of the medley team are also extremely confident in themselves.

“We had a good split in the medley as a team,” Breslin said. “We’re very strong. At the rate we’re going, there is no doubt in my mind that our medley can earn a medal (in the NCAA Championships).”

Breslin also took eighth in the 100 backstroke at a career best 1:02.74.

“We swam incredibly well, especially since we were only on three days of rest as a team,” Breslin said.

Another large impact on the Lions this year is Kiss. She set a school record this weekend in the 100 butterfly with an NCAA ‘B’ cut of 58.19 and won the event in the process.

“Ava did phenomenal at the meet,” Harnett said. “I knew she would qualify for Nationals but to see her winning in meets and breaking school records is a surprise and Nationals looks promising for her now.”

Harnett is looking forward to the rest of the season. “We have a lot of big teams coming up that we will swim well against and will put the girls ahead of where I expect them to be,” she said.