Swimming teams blow past Montclair in season opener

Both swimming teams started their seasons as strongly as last season. (Chris Gifford / Staff Photographer)
Both swimming teams started their seasons as strongly as last season. (Chris Gifford / Staff Photographer)

By Rachel Morris
Correspondent

The Lions dominated their 2009-10 season opener at Montclair State University on Friday evening, as both the men and women’s swimming and diving teams achieved victory.

The men placed first in every event to defeat Montclair 154-90.

The women also won a number of events and defeated Montclair 151-86.

“This was a great meet for us. I feel everyone swam well and we are ahead of where we were this time last year,” women’s head coach Jennifer Harnett said.

Junior Tom Medvecky and sophomore Mike Vernoia each won two events to lead their team to victory.

Medvecky won the 200-yard butterfly in 1:58.22 and the 100-yard butterfly in 53.24.

Vernoia captured the 100-yard freestyle in 49.98 and the 200-yard freestyle in 1:45.99.

The men had many more individual victories, in addition to Medvecky and Vernoia.

Senior Myles O’Connor finished first in the 100-yard breaststroke in 58.81.

Junior Andrew Hessler won the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:20.07, while junior Rob Moran swam to victory in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:09.31.

Juniors Joe Tseng, Shawn Kircher, and Tim Rauch finished first in 100-yard backstroke, the 50-yard freestyle, and the 500-yard freestyle with times of 55.30, 22.13, and 5:03.27, respectively.

In the one-meter diving event, sophomore T.J. Burns finished in first place.

Three freshmen also contributed to the team’s victory in their first collegiate meet.

Matt Peveler won the 1000-yard freestyle in 10:34.72, while Andrew Smith won the 200-yard backstroke in 2:05.84.

Billy Cavallo had a strong showing by finishing second in the one-meter diving event.

The women dominated in similar fashion to the men.

Junior Danielle Dilts and sophomore Traci Hofer each placed first in two events to help achieve their team’s win.

Dilts won the 200-yard freestyle in 2:00.29, as well as the 500-yard freestyle in 5:28.23.

Hofer won the 100-yard backstroke in 1:03.61 and the 100-yard freestyle in 56.07.

Juniors Danielle Maronne, Katie Morgan, and Margaret Molloy captured first place in the 1000-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, and 200-yard butterfly in times of 11:27.89, 1:10.15, and 2:14.78.

Two freshmen also won events in their first collegiate meet.

Kayleigh Shangle won the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:33.72, as well as the 50-yard freestyle in 25.48.

Kristyn Wikoff swam to a first place finish in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:16.24.

Harnett said after competing in their first meet of the season, the team now knows what techniques they need to work on for the upcoming meets.

“The team has great cohesion and they have a great focus for what we want to accomplish this season,” Harnett said.

Both the men and women’s teams were voted by league coaches to be the preseason favorite for the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC), after finishing 4-0 during the 2008-09 season.

The men will be striving for their fourth NJAC title, while the women will be going after their ninth.

The men ended last season with a 10-1 record, and the women with an 8-2 record.

Both the men and women were 4-0 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference last year.

The Lions will be competing again on Saturday Oct. 31 when they host Ramapo College at noon. Then both teams travel to Stevens Institute of Technology on Nov. 1 for a meet at 1 p.m.