By Miguel Gonzalez
After a memorable regular season, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams put forth their best effort at the Metropolitan Conference Championships from Friday, Feb. 16 to Sunday, Feb. 18 at Rutgers University.
For head coach Brian Bishop, the team’s main priority is to qualify for the NCAA Division III championships.
“Our first goal at (the championships) is to qualify as many athletes as possible for NCAA’s and the second goal is to win,” Bishop said.
Sophomore Harrison Yi and junior Sam Maquet started the first day at the 500-freestyle, where they placed in fourth and fifth with times of 4:35.95 and 4:39.50, respectively.
In the B-Final 500-freestyle, freshman James Keane raced his way to ninth place and recorded a time of 4:41.66. Afterward, freshman Kai Michaud and sophomore David Madigan finished within the top 20 at 15th and 16th places respectively.
At the preliminary 200-individual medley, junior John Gregory nearly qualified for the B-Final, claiming second place with a time of 1:52.58.
In the B-Final 50-freestyle, junior Alex Skoog closed in on third place with a time of 20.78. Freshman Griffin Morgan was not far behind as he finished in 15th place.
At the diving board, freshman Jay Soukup was the runner-up at the 3-meter dive with a score of 483.10. Sophomore Zachary Volm earned seventh place with a score of 301.30 points.
Heading into the Metropolitan Conference Championships, head coach Jennifer Harnett was confident that the team would be successful against the tough opposition.
“There are going to be some really strong teams at the meet,” Harnett said. “We just need to stay focused, have fun and not let other teams get in our heads. We have been a solid team that has really supported and pushed each other throughout the season. That is always a good recipe for success.”
Sophomore Annie Menninger earned sixth place at the B-Final 500-freestyle while improving her personal record at the event with a time of 5:11.23. Freshman Kelsey Ballard, junior Gabi Denicola and junior Hailey Thayer all claimed spots in the top 20.
Freshman Melanie Fosko achieved her personal best record at the B-Final 200-individual medley, where she got fifth place at a time of 2:11.85. Following Fosko, seniors Marta Lawler and Jillian Galindo and freshman Darby VanDeVeen all placed within the top 20. Afterward, freshman Elise Fraser earned 11th place in a competitive 50-freestyle with a time of 24.63.
Senior Hannah Raymond led the slate of opponents at the diving board, where she won the 1-meter event with a score of 448.85.
During the second day, the men stood at second place with a total score of 883 points. The College’s most notable performance was at the 400-individual medley. Maquet, senior Logan Barnes and Gregory claimed second, third and fourth place with times of 4:03.57, 4:04.73 and 4:05.11 respectively. Seven seconds later, Keane came in seventh place, clocking in at 4:12.52.
In the 100-butterfly, freshman Andrew Thompson snatched fourth place with a time of 50.50. Yi also finished in fourth place at the 200-freestyle with a time of 1:40.83. Senior Chris O'Sullivan saw success at the B-Final 100-breaststroke and won the race with a time of 58.03. In the 100-backstroke, Skoog claimed second place and clocked in at 50.07.
Soukup was competitive at the 1-meter event, as he finished in fifth place and scored 400.40 points.
Meanwhile, the women’s team was chasing after Long Island University for second place.
Fosko started the second day by finishing in seventh place at the 400-individual medley with a time of 4:42.39. In the next event, VanDeVeen, Thayer and senior Debbie Meskin qualified for the B-Final 100-butterfly by finishing within the top 20. Menninger went beyond to earn second place and set a personal record at the 100-breaststroke with a time of 1:06.00.
During the final day of the competition, the men squared up against the United States Merchant Marine Academy for second place. USMA just barely took second with 1208 points, with the Lions finishing closely behind with 1207 points.
Keane started off with a fourth place finish at the 1650-freestyle, clocking in at 16:18.96. Skoog was on top of the scoreboard at the 200-backstroke, winning the race with a time of 1:49.45. Gregory and sophomore Derek Kneisel also finished within the top 10 of the race.
Yi then claimed seventh place at the 100-freestyle with a time of 46.90. Maquet continued his dominance at the pool as he earned second place at the 200-butterfly and finished under two minutes with a time of 1:52.26.
After a series of contentious races, the Lions fate was ultimately sealed at the 400-freestyle relay. The team completed the relay just 29 milliseconds behind USMA for fourth place at a time of 3:03.95. USMA’s third place finish gathered enough points to put the team ahead of the College.
On the same day, the women earned third place overall.
Menninger had another impressive performance at the 1650-freestyle, earning fifth place while setting a personal best record time of 17:55.99. Following Menninger, Denicola and Ballard claimed seventh and eighth place with times of 18:18.01 and 18:25.55, respectively.
At the 200-butterfly, sophomore Samantha Askin, freshman Jamie Bowne and Meskin all finished within the slate of 20 competitors. The women were also competitive at the 200-breaststroke, where Lawler and Fosko placed fourth and fifth with times of 2:26.56 and 2:26.92, respectively.