Both the men’s and women’s swim teams at the College knew early on that some of their toughest competition would come against Rowan University and Stevens Institute of Technology. With just 24 hours separating matchups between their main rivals, the Lions had a difficult task at hand. The men took full advantage of that opportunity as they swept the Owl’s 162-123 and the sixth-ranked Ducks 151-111, taking the New Jersey Athletic Conference for the fifth straight year in the process.
Leading the men was freshman James Shangle who won the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke twice on two consecutive days. Also having two big performances was senior William Kasper, who was a member of the winning 200-yard medley relay team on Saturday, Jan. 26 with a time of 1:35.12. He also individually won the 100-yard butterfly with a 51.52 finish on Sunday, Jan. 27. Kasper, although successful, knew that this weekend was not going to be easy.
“It is pretty hard having both go your way because they were the two biggest meets of the year,” he said. “It’s a testament to (Coach) Bishop because when we are at Packer Hall we haven’t lost (a meet) in like three years so it’s pretty great.”
The women also started the weekend off strong by beating Rowan University 185-115 to clinch the NJAC’s for the fifth consecutive season. Although they had another great performance the following day, their six-game winning streak came to an end against Stevens Institute of Technology by a final score of 148-140.
“They’re a tough team and they’ve always been a tough team,” Head Coach Jennifer Harnett said. “We swam great races but they were just a little bit better (on Sunday).”
One swimmer who had an exceptional meet was senior captain Kayleigh Shangle who won a total of five events in two days. Three of those came individually against the Ducks in the 100-yard breaststroke, 50-yard freestyle and the 200-yard breaststroke. Shangle’s most impressive victory was when she defeated the defending national champion, Brittany Geyer, at the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:25.13.
Senior Ashley Conroy also did well at both meets. On Saturday, she won both the 100-yard backstroke and the 100-yard freestyle with respective times of 1:00.47 and 54.7. The following day, Conroy returned to top form as she took first in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:10.86 and finished second in the 100-yard backstroke.
“We’ve raced each other before at Nationals so we know each other and how they swim,” Shangle said. “Every year we come into this meet knowing that it’ll come down to the last race and that every point counts.”
Although the meet against Stevens may not have turned out like the lady Lions had planned, Harnett is still optimistic with Nationals looming.
“It was a tough weekend, but I wanted to see how the girls could handle back-to-back days,” she said. “We had some great swims, some personal best times today, and (overall) I thought that the girls did a fantastic job.”