Double the dual meets, double the fun

Talk about making a splash.

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams made the most of their opening weekend at the Aquatic Center, rolling over the Montclair State University Red Hawks and Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks in dual-meet action. Both squads now stand at 2-0 on the season.

The men downed the Red Hawks 148-128 Saturday before dropping the Ducks 153-106. Meanwhile, the women’s team steamrolled its New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) rivals, crushing the Red Hawks 193.5-105.5 Saturday, before throttling the Ducks 172.5-89.5 Sunday.

Sophomores Tom Medvecky and Margaret Molloy led the weekend-long win parade. Medvecky grabbed six first-place finishes in two days of work. He waltzed to victory in Saturday’s 1,000-yard freestyle (9:57.06) and 500-yard freestyle (4:50.39). The sophomore standout also teamed with seniors Mike Molloy and Ted Yoa and freshman Mike Vernoia to win the 400-yard medley relay in 3:37. Medvecky had success at the shorter distances Sunday, winning the 200-yard butterfly (1:56.62), 100 freestyle (47.99) and 100-yard butterfly (52.34).

“I felt real tired Sunday going in, but after warmup, our captain Mike Heaney gave us a talk about going out and proving yourself to your team and your coaches,” Medvecky said. “I wasn’t really thinking about the wins at this point in the season, I was just focusing on the times.”

Margaret Molloy claimed the 1,000-freestyle crown in both dual meets, completing the grueling contest in 10:42.84 on Saturday, mere seconds off the school record she set last year. She followed up with a solid victory in the same event Sunday, slashing through the water in 10:50.36. The sophomore also claimed Sunday’s 500 freestyle in 5:12.09 and took second in the 200 butterfly in 2:13.51.

“She’s a phenomenal swimmer,” Medvecky said. “I wouldn’t have been surprised if she crushed her own record that day.”

A host of young Lions walked into the winner’s circle over the weekend, forecasting a bright future for the College’s swim program. On Saturday, rookie Melissa Hessler won the 400-yard individual medley (4:52.85) and the 200-yard freestyle (1:59.86).

Sunday afternoon, newcomer Leah Varvaro sped her way to victory in the 100-yard butterfly (1:00.78), 200-yard backstroke (2:15.85) and 100-yard backstroke (1:01.57). Freshman Traci Hofer earned two first-place finishes in the 50 (24.67) and 100-yard freestyle races (55.30).

On the men’s side, freshmen TJ Burns and Ryan Clarke earned wins against the Red Hawks in the 1-meter dive (167.93) and 100 freestyle (48.97), respectively. Clarke also won Sunday’s 50 freestyle in 21.88, and Burns improved on his score in the 1-meter dive with a winning mark of 217.58.

The weekend was not only a rookie showcase. Junior Myles O’Connor snared first in the 50-yard backstroke (27.05) and 50-yard butterfly (24.57) Saturday. He pulled double duty again Sunday, coasting to wins in the 100-yard breaststroke (59.12) and 200-yard breaststroke (2:12.85).

Sophomore Katie Morgan also came home with a pair of first-places Sunday, capturing the 200 breaststroke in 2:30.14 and the 100 breaststroke in 109.19

The men’s and women’s swimming teams will open a month-long road stretch at Ramapo College on Saturday at 2 p.m.

James Queally can be reached at queally2@tcnj.edu.