Swimming and Diving continue late success

By Jessica Ganga
Nation & World Editor

Ryan Gajdzisz helps the Lions to victory over Stevens Institute. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)
Ryan Gajdzisz helps the Lions to victory over Stevens Institute. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

Last week, the College’s swimming and diving teams added wins to their already successful seasons. The men’s team won two in a row, while the women’s team took home one win. Both teams continued to dominate in the water and show off the hard work they’ve put into the season.

On Monday, Jan. 19, the men’s swimming and diving team competed against Stevens Institute of Technology and came out strong in the first event — the men’s 200-yard medley relay. Senior Aleksander Burzysnski, juniors James Shangle, Joseph Dunn and sophomore Andrew Nesbitt swam to a winning time of 1:34.20.

Shangle had a great night, placing first in the two other events he competed in — the men’s 100 and 200-yard breaststroke. Shangle posted impressive times of 58.79 and 2:11.66, respectively.

Dunn also swam for two wins in the men’s 50-yard freestyle and the men’s 100-yard butterfly with first place times of 21.32 and 50.90, respectively.

Sophomore Ryan Gajdzisz added points to the 150-110 victory over Stevens. Gajdzisz touched the wall at 1:42.59 in the men’s 200-yard freestyle. Later in the meet, Gajdzisz topped the field again with a winning time of 4:42.22 in the men’s 500-yard freestyle.

The men’s team ended another successful meet with Dunn, Gajdzisz, sophomore Scott Vitabile and senior Brett Pederson winning the men’s 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:07.97.

Although the women’s swimming and diving team did not have the same success, they still posted great times, showing that the women always work hard for a win. Not only do these women train hard for meets, but their support for each other during races is what  helps them jet through the waters.

“During meets, we are always cheering one another on,” sophomore Brenna Strollo said. “(We) like to make our goals known for each race, that way our teammates can be a part of our success.”

Strollo competed in the women’s 50-yard freestyle and won a close race — just touching the wall at 25.45. Strollo also competed in the 200-yard medley relay with teammates freshmen Katie Kilfeather, Ali Huber and Marta Lawler where they placed as runner-ups with a time of 1:54.48.

Huber was in the water again at the end of the meet alongside senior Summer Thomas, junior Lauren Rothstein and freshman Emily Rothstein, all competing in the women’s 400-yard freestyle relay. The winning foursome posted a time of 3:42.08 with Thomas clinching the win in the final leg of the race. 

Jennifer Harnett, the coach for the women’s team, commented on the race saying that she “was happy with how everyone swam” and that the meet allowed for some teammates who had been previously injured to be worked back into the lineup.

“Our focus is on Rowan,” Harnett said. The team would go on to have a day-and-night performance against Rowan University on Saturday, Jan. 24.

The team was able to take nine events and both of the relay races. Thomas had a successful night, winning three individual events. Thomas posted a time of 10:58.06 in the women’s 1,000-yard freestyle, beating her competitor by about a minute. Thomas came in first again in the women’s 200-yard freestyle, posting a time of 1:58.46, and then continued the streak by winning the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:1.90.

Every contribution counted and helped the team finish their dominating, 188-100 win over Rowan.

“It wasn’t just about the first place finishes,” Harnett said. “The third, fourth and fifth places were just as important.”

Strollo and Kilfeather both went one and two in the 100-yard backstroke. Strollo clocked in a time of 1:00.37 and Kilfeather followed behind with a time of 1:02.05.

The men’s team also won 155.5-138.5 against Rowan with, once again, impressive performances from every corner of the lineup.

The Lions swept the top three spots in the men’s 200-yard IM led by Gajdzisz with a time of 1:50.90 followed by sophomore Jin Roh and freshman Chris O’Sullivan with times of 1:58.16 and 1:59.26, respectively.

Gajdzisz also won two of his individual events, touching the wall first in the men’s 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:50.06. He was in the water again — winning the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:41.71.

With these successful meets, the teams and their coaches have their eyes set on the Metropolitan Conference Championships and NCAA championships.

“We use the METRO championships as our opportunity to qualify for the NCAA championships,” men’s swimming coach Brian Bishop said. “Our goal is to win the conference, qualify as many swimmers as possible for NCAA’s and place in the top five at the NCAA championships.”

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