By Jessica Ganga
The stands were packed with parents and friends as the College’s swimming and diving teams competed in their first home meet of the season. Both teams had strong performances against Southern Connecticut State University, beating the Division II team and taking home another win for the beginning of the season on Saturday, Oct. 31 in the Packer Hall pool.
The men’s swimming team began the meet by taking first in the men’s 200-yard medley relay. Seniors James Shangle and Joseph Dunn, alongside junior Andrew Nesbitt and freshman Alex Skoog touched the wall with a time of 1:34.38.
Shangle, a captain who was named New Jersey Athletic Conference swimmer of the week last week, placed first in two individual events. In the men’s 100-yard breaststroke, it came down to a one second difference between Shangle and the SCU swimmer, with Shangle reaching out to the wall first with a time of 57.84. There was another one-second difference when Shangle competed in the men’s 200-yard breaststroke where he recorded a time of 2:10.03, to take first.
Throughout the meet, many of the men were able to take commanding leads in the water as soon as they leaped off the block. In the men’s 100-yard breaststroke, Skoog led the pack and easily took first in the event, clocking in a time of 52.34. Skoog went on to win the 200-yard backstroke as he coasted to the wall at 1:56.21, yet again having a strong lead.
In the fast-paced men’s 50-yard freestyle, the College was able to not only put up impressive numbers, but also sweep the event. Dunn, Nesbitt and junior Anthony Guirrieri went one, two and three with times of 21.11, 21.77 and 22.18, consecutively.
Together, the men’s team beat SCU, 184-108, showing just how hard they are going to be working this season to make sure they are consistently successful.
The women took home a 160-128 win against SCU and, like the men’s team, had events that were games of inches and seconds.
Sophomore Jill Galindo won by a second in the women’s 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:19.63. The College was leading the pack during the beginning of the event, but SCU pulled through to take second, with Galindo gliding into first for the Lions.
During the women’s 100-yard breaststroke, sophomores Marta Lawler, freshman Lindsay Rippey and sophomore Madeleine Clements swept the event going 1:10.99, 1:14.02 and 1:14.41, respectively.
The meet intensified during the final event. The women’s 400-yard freestyle relay proved to be the nail-biter of the afternoon. Senior Lauren Rothstein, sophomore Emily Rothstein, freshman Maddie Hynoski and sophomore Ali Huber swam for the team, which lead in the beginning of the event. At one point, the College lost the lead but was able to regain it. In the end, the team came in second with a time of 3:44.52, but the event showed just how supportive the team is for one another during a meet, with the women cheering their teammates on the entire time.
“We always go in with a really positive attitude,” senior Melissa Haley said about the team’s mindset for every meet. “That’s one of our big things on the team is positivity. We always try to be upbeat, everyone cheers for everybody.”
With their second win of the season, the women came into the season with one goal in sight: winning the NJAC.
“One of our big goals is to win (the) NJAC — New Jersey Athletic Conference,” Haley said. “In practices, we’ve been focusing on our finishes, our starts and our turns to be quick and out-touch the other team.”
Coach Jennifer Harnett explained how there were many goals set before the season began, some of which the team has already met. Harnett, like Haley, knows that the number one goal that needs to be met is the NJAC win, but she believes her team will have a successful season.
“We have already set our team goals for the season,” Harnett said. “We’ve actually accomplished some of those goals already. We had a certain amount of sweeps we wanted to do in events and we’ve already met that number for the season so we have to reevaluate that now. Obviously we want to win the NJAC. That is one of our top goals. I think overall our team is doing a great job. The team chemistry is phenomenal this year. We’re excited to see what the team’s going to accomplish together.”