Swimming schools all comers over break

The men’s team surges to a perfect record at the TCNJ Invitational. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)
The men’s team surges to a perfect record at the TCNJ Invitational. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

Over the course of winter break, the College’s swimming and diving teams were not able to relax quite like the rest of the students. It was back to work as usual, and the Lions were ready to go.

Before the holidays, the College participated in the TCNJ Invitational, an event that showcases the best swimmers from multiple teams. The Lions came roaring in, defeating the four opponents they faced.

Some spectacular events were held, with many highlights for the Lions in each.  Brett Pedersen set a new record in the 100-yard freestyle race, posting a new time of 45.18.

In the A-final event, sophomore Joseph Dunn, senior Philip Hawley and junior Brian Perez placed fourth, sixth and seventh, respectively, accumulating a total of 56 points.

In the backstroke events, four Lions qualified for the A-final, including junior Aleksander Burzynski, senior Stephen Tarnowski, junior Matthew Vanbiervliet and junior Dennis Hall-App. The College also dominated in the butterfly and breaststroke events, receiving top honors for the day.

In the next day of the invitational, the Lions maintained their dominance, as Burzynski, Tarnowski and multiple other Lions led the way and captured the top spots in each race.

The women’s TCNJ Invitational was just as exciting and hard-fought. Senior Nina Sabatini, sophomore  Lauren Rothstein, senior Michelle Sanders and junior Brennah Ross made up the 200-freestyle relay team and placed fourth in the event.

In the 400-medley relay, senior Hailey Growney, freshman Brenna Strollo, Rothstein and Ross finished fifth with a time of 4:07.44.

The second day of the Lions’ invitational was even stronger. Ross finished third in the 100-butterfly, while senior Amy Schurer and junior Summer Thomas placed fifth and seventh in the 400-individual medley event.

In the 800-freestyle relay, freshman Colleen Magley, Sabatini, Strollo and Thomas swam their way to a fourth place finish, racking up 30 points.

After this event, the Lions got to enjoy the holidays for a brief break but went right back to work as soon as they were over.

Back and ready to go, the men’s team fell short of a victory in a 102-160 loss against Johns Hopkins University on Wednesday, Jan 6.  However, the day was highlighted by sophomore James Shangle’s performance, winning three events, including the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke and the 400-individual medley.

Burzynski also had a very strong day, winning the 100-yard backstroke and placing second in the 200-backstroke.  Andrew Nesbitt placed second in the 200-freestyle while freshman Ryan Gajdzisz placed second in the 500-freestyle event.

The College’s men’s team then took on William Paterson University the following week and was back on top in a 180-109 victory.

Tarnowski had a dominant day, as he conquered the 100-yard freestyle and 200-butterfly. In the 200-medley relay, Tarnowski, Nesbitt and freshman Scott Vitabile took top honors.

Senior James Milone was victorious in the 500-freestyle event while sophomore Daniel Tsinis dominated the diving board, placing first in the 1- and 3-meter events.

Also going up against William Paterson, the women’s swim team was superior as well, earning a 170-109 victory.

Sabatini was strong all day, helping out in two winning relays and coming out on top in the 100-yard freestyle.  In the 200-free relay, Strollo, Thomas and Rothstein teamed up to gain another victory for the Lions.

On the diving board, senior Sabrina Lucchesi took the 1 and 3-meter events in a strong outing.

This week, both teams take on Rowan University in a crucial meet on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 2 p.m.