Swimming ends dual meet schedule on a high note

At their last dual meet of the season, both the College’s men’s and women’s swimming teams enjoyed decisive victories over William Paterson University.

The event focused on the teams’ seven seniors, beginning with a ceremony recognizing them for their achievements and hard work during their time on the team. The spotlight followed each of the seven individually on their walk around the pool, before shining on the group altogether.

The two seniors honored on the women’s team were Lauren Smith and Jackie Whitty. The five senior swimmers on the men’s team included Chris Levin, Nick Steffanci, Jack O’Donnell, Bryan Rahter and Jeff Sundberg.

Emotions ran high as the rest of the team applauded their teammates before their final dual meet of their college careers. “I am sad but also glad that I got to go through it with this team,” Smith said.

The Lions men won against the Pioneers 128-82, improving their overall record to 7-3. In all but one event, the Lions had a first place finisher.

Beginning the meet with a victory in the 200-medley relay, freshman Kevin Oliver, junior Steve Swenson, freshman Josh Forsman and junior Jeff Glenn set the grounds for the rest of the meet.

Rahter had a victory in the 500-free with a time of 4:57.80 and said that his team is “strong, works hard and has a good attitude.”

“(This meet) was geared for the seniors, who swam very well in their last home meet,” head coach Brian Bishop said.

Although dual meets are important to the team, Bishop explained that both nationals and their conference meet are vital; at this conference meet they always have a “tight battle with Southern Connecticut and Rowan.” Bishop expressed high hopes for nationals, where his goal is to be in the top 10.

Assistant coach Brendan Gallagher said that he believes that this is the “best point potentially that (the team has) ever been at” as they head toward the Metropolitan Conference Championships (METs).

The College’s women’s team beat the Pioneers 148-71 and improved to 2-7. With a first-place finish in the majority of the events, the women made their victory certain. “Everyone had a lot of fun today because we all swam different events,” Smith said.

Freshman Ava Kiss won the 200-individual medley by almost 13 seconds and also won the 500-free. Sophomore Kristin Makris and junior Erin Stutz also secured individual first-place victories in the 200-fly and 200-back.

After many first and second place finishes, the women ended the meet with a win in the 200-free relay in 1:53.80.

“Placewise, (the team) did a great job,” head coach Jennifer Harnett said. “We hope to win METs and have as many people as we can qualify for nationals.”

The Lions look forward to the METs held on Feb. 18-20.

“At the end, I hope everyone goes out with something they are happy with and proud of,” Rahter said.