The College made its mark at the NCAA Division III championships, both individually and as a team, with the women getting seventh place and the men getting 12th place nationally.
Junior Danica Roskos became the first-ever Lion to win back-to-back national titles, as she won the 1-meter dive with a score of 450.60. She also grabbed a third place finish in the 3-meter dive event.
“I am extremely excited about winning the national championship on one meter,” Raskos said. “However, I could not have done as well without my coach or my teammates — they all push me to work harder and believe in myself. (Sophomore) Sabrina Lucchesi is a great teammate who helped keep me focused and positive throughout the week.”
The women had several top performances on their way to a strong finish. Senior Laura Pierce was truly a leader and sparked the Lions in the early going. She reached a total of 22 All-American Honors, giving her the most in Lions’ history. Pierce was fourth overall in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-butterfly with times of 23.31 and 55.20, respectively, and ninth overall in the 100-free with a time of 51.02.
Pierce also placed in the top 15 on four relay teams. Her 200-medley relay team included sophomore Hailey Growney, junior Kayleigh Shangle and freshman Brennah Ross and finished at 1:46.63. Her 400-medley relay team was the same as the 200-medley relay team and finished with a time of 3.52.76. Finally, Pierce and her team of Shangle, Ross, and senior Melissa Hessler were 11th in the 400-freestyle relay and seventh in another relay event.
“Laura is a great leader,” Roskos said. “She inspires the team through her actions and encourages the team to all do their best. All of the girls on the team are extremely supportive of one another, so we are all able to remain positive throughout the long grueling week.”
“Being in Indianapolis this year was especially exciting because of the surprise comebacks in relays that we weren’t expected to place so high,” Shangle said. “The team really fed off of these successes.”
Shangle also placed 11th in the 100-yard breaststroke event with a time of 1:04.17 and 14th in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:21.56. She was also given honorable mention All American honors.
“It was exhilarating swimming some best times, having amazing relays, and feeding off the energy of such an exciting meet,” Shangle said. “Our ‘mini team’ of girls — just seven — did a lot more than expected.”
The team also brought a more laid-back approach to the meet, which helped them finish as highly as they did.
“The team approached this meet differently than in the past, focusing on the race, not our times,” Shangle said. “Both the swimmers and divers went into this ready to race, and treasured the experience.”
The men kicked off the first day by coming up just short in the 200-medley relay. The team of freshman Aleksander Burzynski, sophomore Michael Oliva, junior Adam Schneider and senior Ryan Clark raced to a finish of 1:31.85, missing the finals by three-hundredths of a second. The team proceeded to bounce back to win the consolation finals.
The 200-freestyle relay brought more success for the Lions. Coming in at an impressive sixth overall nationally, the team of Schneider, sophomore Stephen Gibson, sophomore Philip Halwey and Clark blazed to the finish of 1:21.63.
The 800-free relay was also strong for the College, as they placed 14th. Sophomore Stephen Tarnowski, Clark, senior Jesse Taylor and junior Brian Giacopelli completed the race in 6:48.42.
The men ended the final day of competition with a ninth place finish in the 400-freestyle relay at a time of 3:03.33. The team consisted of Clark, Taylor, Schneider and Gibson.
Senior T. J. Burns was strong in the 1-meter diving event. Burns was 12th overall with a score of 424.65.
Tarnowski made it into the top 20 in both the 200 and 400 individual medleys at the times of 1:52.84 and 4:05.75 respectively. Schneider also finished 15th in the 50-free by swimming at a time of 20.74 in the consolation finals.
The swimmers are proud of their accomplishments this season.
“We are all really excited about this season, it is great that we had a top ten finish two years in a row,” Roskos said. “It was a great way to end the season, everyone worked hard and had fun.”
Alex Wolfe contributed to this report.