The College’s swimming and diving teams started their seasons off with a bang, defeating Ramapo College in convincing fashion.
Sophomore Stephen Tarnowski, who placed first in the 200-yard butterfly, 200-yard backstroke and the 200-yard individual medley, led the men’s squad. Senior Ryan Clark, junior Evan Paulan and junior Matt Peveler also finished strong as they all won multiple events.
“I think everyone was happy with the way they swam, but not satisfied,” said Clark. “It is too early in the season to be satisfied with anything, and we have a lot of work to still do.”
Last season, the College’s swimming and diving teams had outstanding success. The women finished with a 9-0 record, while placing fifth at the NCAA championships. The men had similar success, posting an 8-2 record.
“Every year, we want to improve upon past years’ mistakes,” Clark said. “This year, we have altered our training to better benefit the sprinters and distance swimmers and to decrease to number of injuries. This year, we hope our training will lead to an undefeated season with plenty of NCAA qualifiers.”
Much of the teams’ success this season depends on their off-season preparation. A lot of the teams’ practices simulate competitive meets.
“Part of what we learn to do on this team is to swim tired,” said Clark. “We had a tough week of practice and everyone was still able to step up to the blocks and leave everything they had in the pool. That shows us two things. Our training is working, and we are able to overcome weakness in times of competition.”
The women were off to a fast start themselves, winning 12 individual events by 10 different swimmers — this balance represents the Lions’ depth in the pool.
Senior Laura Pierce placed first in the 1,000-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly. Freshman Brennah Ross took home first place in the 100-yard free and the 200-yard medley to begin her collegiate career.
The two of them were the only swimmers who won multiple events.
Sophomore Ashley Conroy, who won the 100-yard backstroke, and senior Melissa Hessker, who won the 200-yard fly, also put in strong performances.
The women’s team has huge expectations to meet after finishing a program-best fifth place at the NCAA championships last season. Due to the experience and depth that this team has garnered, it is certainly a possibility that it will exceed that mark this year.
Both teams are back in action on Saturday at Montclair State University, hoping to continue their dominance in the pool.