College swimmers crowned NJAC champions; Seniors get one last victory

The Lions are Conference champs again
The Lions are Conference champs again

The Lions men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams sent their seniors out with a bang Saturday afternoon after defeating Rowan University to win their second straight New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) championship.

Both teams have been nothing but successful since they returned to the NJAC last year. The men’s team were absent from the NJAC after the 1994-95 until last year, and the women returned after leaving in the 2002-03 season.

“It feels great to be NJAC champions,” freshman diver Billy Cavallo said. “I’m glad we could send our seniors out on a strong note.”

The men’s team defeated the Profs by a score of 177-122 to finish 4-0 in the NJAC and 6-0 at home on the season. The women’s team matched the men’s performance by defeating the Profs by a score of 183-110, which put the Lions at 4-0 in the NJAC and 4-0 at home.

The meet started off well as the fans helped the Lions celebrate Senior day for six Lions on the men’s side and four on the women’s.

Seniors Myles O’Connor and James VanBiervliet took advantage of their last time in the pool at the College by leading the Lions to a first-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:36.56.

O’Connor finished strong on his way to a first-place finish in the 100-breast with a time of 58.51. VanBiervliet also performed well in his next race as he took second place in the 100-back with a time of 54.71, which was only bested by sophomore teammate Kevin Cain.

O’Connor and VanBiervliet were not the only seniors to cash in on their last home meet as seniors Eric Rohrs and Herman Chu chipped in with first-place finishes of their own. Rohrs placed first in the 200-breast stroke with a time of 2:15.58, while Chu’s time of 53.94 was the best of any swimmer in the 100-butterfly.

The seniors were backed up by underclassmen who also contributed to the NJAC title-clinching victory. Junior Shawn Kircher and freshman Adam Schneider won multiple events for the Lions while freshman Mike Caputo, junior Tom Medvecky, and freshman Andrew Smith won individual events.

Sophomore T.J. Burns was the best of the Lions divers winning the one-meter diving event.

The women’s team was lead by a strong performance as the team of seniors Chrisina Falcone, Ashley Robb, Stephaine Seto and Julianne Clapp won the meet’s final event — the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Falcone also won earlier in the day with a first-place finish in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:11.86. Robb took advantage of her

The men's swimming team awaits the whistle
The men's swimming team awaits the whistle

last meet at the Lions Aquatic Center by contributing to a victory in the 200-medley relay with a winning time of 1:51.31.

Junior Margaret Molloy, sophomore Traci Hofer, sophomore Laura Pierce, and freshman Kayleigh Shangle were multiple event winners and helped secure a memorable moment for their older teammates.

Junior Amanda Obst was the most successful of the women’s divers by placing first in the one-meter dive and second in the three-meter dive.

When all was said and done it was time for the Lions to don their NJAC championship tee-shirts and pose for photos as the crowd cheered them on. For the seniors it was the last time they would get to hear the applause from the home crowd.

“As a freshman it is pretty awesome to be an NJAC champ,” Cavallo said. “The seniors provided us with a good example of what a successful team looks like and we’ll look to continue that in the future.”

The Lions will return to the pool on Feb. 19 in the Metropolitan Conference Championships held at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J.