By George Tatoris
The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams won a pair of victories against the Montclair State University Red Hawks on Friday, Oct. 28.
The men’s team soundly defeated the Red Hawks, 189-102, and the women’s team conquered with a 178-108 score.
“Anytime you can beat a conference foe is a plus,” men’s head coach Brian Bishop said.
The victory marked the 33rd consecutive New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) win for the women’s team since the sport was re-introduced in the 2008-09 season.
Senior Brenna Strollo contributed to the win with two first-place performances. She clocked in at 1:30.07 in the 100-yard backstroke, and at 2:13.00 in the 200-back.
Junior Marta Lawler also won two races — the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke, which she finished at 1:11.39 and 2:32.38, respectively. Lawler narrowly beat out Red Hawk Claire Luigard by mere milliseconds in both events.
Junior Debbie Meskin dominated in the butterfly category, hitting the wall in the 100-yard fly at 1:03.11 and the 200-yard at 2:20.68, seven seconds ahead of her nearest Red Hawk opponent.
Junior Allison Huber won the 50-yard freestyle at a swift 25.76 seconds.
The quartet of Strollo, Lawler, Meskin and Huber teamed up for the highlight of the Lions performance that night — the 200-yard medley relay.
The four combined for a time of 1:30.07, a full half a minute ahead of Montclair’s top finish of 1:57.78.
Junior Emily Rothstein skirted past her Red Hawk opponents to earn the College a win in the 200-yard freestyle.
Huber, Rothstein and juniors Robin Lukens and Cassidy Bergeron capped the Lions win with a first-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay race at 3:49.13.
Junior diver Hannah Raymond and senior diver Sarah Grassi split the diving events. Raymond won the 1-meter dive with a score of 189.00, while Grassi followed with a score of 172.28.
In the 3-meter, Grassi took first with a score of 284.85 while Raymond finished second with 268.73. The women’s team is 1-1 after the Montclair meet, while the men’s team is 2-0.
On the men’s team, junior David Adlai-Gail took first in both men’s diving events, scoring 174.00 in the 1-meter and 225.30 in the 3-meter. Freshman Matthew Bendik finished second in the 1-meter with a score of 126.98.
Senior Scott Vitabile captured the win in three races — he won the 100- and 200-yard freestyles with times of 47.32 and 1:42.78, respectively, and the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 51.97.
Bishop said Vitabile has developed into a “true leader.”
Vitabile played a key role in the 400-yard freestyle relay, which saw him team up with freshman Harrison Yi, senior Andrew Nesbitt and junior Adam Coppola for a 3:18.09 first-place finish.
Yi, the NJAC Rookie of the Week, took top honors in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:45.43. The Lions swept that event — sophomore Alex Skoog finished second with a time of 4:54.49 and freshman David Madigan clocked in just behind with a time of 4:56.94.
Coppola, Nesbitt, Skoog and Madigan combined to win the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:36.58.
Coppola also took first in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.61 seconds.
Nesbitt hit the wall in less than a minute to win the 100-yard breaststroke, clocking in at 58.83 seconds. Just behind him was junior Chris O’Sullivan, finishing in 1:01.36.
To top this long list of winners, sophomore Sam Maquet won the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:00.82, and freshman Andrew Ro won his first collegiate-level event by clocking in at 2:15.02 in the 200-yard breaststroke.
The diving team will get a break next week as the Lions travel to Mahwah, N.J., for a swimming-only meet against Ramapo College on Friday, Nov. 5.
“Away conference meets are always a challenge so we will need to stay focused and swim well in order to win,” Bishop said.