By Greg Aaron
Continuing on their path to perfection, both the College’s men’s and women’s swim teams improved their records to 5-0, after successfully hosting the TCNJ Invitational this past weekend.
The men finished with a total of 1,300 points — more than enough to top the second place U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (641 points) and The University of Bridgeport, which finished in third place with a total of 654 points. On the women’s side of the invitational, the College’s squad set the pace by compiling 1,218 points, followed by C.W. Post (666 points) and Randolph Macon College (559.5 points). A number of school records and NCAA B-Cut times were posted by both the men and women Lions.
Sophomore Stephen Tarnowski broke three school records during the three-day event, eclipsing it with a first-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke on Sunday posting a time of 1:51.50. This record was previously held by Mike Heaney, who set the mark in 1999. Additionally, Tarnowski clocked in at 3:58.03 in the 400-individual medley (IM), making him an NCAA automatic qualifier and setting a new school record at the same time. Tarnowski’s final high mark came on the first day of the event, when he surpassed Liam Gallagher’s 2008 College record time of 1:52.78 in the 200-IM, finishing at 1:51.62.
In the 1650-freestyle event, junior Michael Caputo made his own contributions, placing first with an NCAA provisional time of 16:06.21.
A trio of men’s swimmers filled out the top three spots in the 200-breaststroke. Junior Evan Paulan won the event with a time of 2:08.11, followed by sophomores Matthew Knoth (2:10.11) and Matt Morgan (2:11.04).
The four-man relay team of junior Adam Schneider, sophomores Stephen Gibson and Phillip Hawley and senior Ryan Clark placed second in the 400-freestyle relay. Their time of 3:04.36 made the NCAA B-Cut and should give them a good chance of competing in the NCAA Championships in March.
As for the women, freshman Brennah Ross shattered the school record in the 200-yard butterfly. She posted a time of 2:07.53, which bested the 2006 mark set by Ava Kiss.
Sophomore Ashley Conroy came in first in the 100-yard backstroke.
“I am really happy with how I performed this weekend,” Conroy said. “Winning the event (100-yard backstroke) was a bonus.”
“I want to be faster than I was this morning in the preliminaries (2:24.10),” junior Kayleigh Shangle said before competing in the 200-breast stroke finals. Shangle not only accomplished that feat by coming in at 2:21.25, but also placed first in the event overall.
Just as the men were successful in competing in the 400-freestyle relay, the women also fared well. The team of Ross, Shangle and seniors Laura Pierce and Melissa Hessler came in first place with an NCAA B-Cut time of 3:32.72.
After regrouping and enjoying the holidays, both the men and women will return to action in a tri-meet at West Chester University on Saturday, Jan. 13. Johns Hopkins University will also be competing in the event.