By Miguel Gonzalez
At home, the men’s and women’s swimming teams dashed past the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks on Friday night.
The men’s swimming team captured its first meet victory since its home invitational on Dec. 4. The Lions dominated throughout the meet, beating the Ducks 172-89.
Starting at the 200-medley relay, the team of senior Adam Coppola, senior Sean Johnson, sophomore Alex Skoog and freshman Derek Kniesel swam past the Ducks and recorded a time of 1:34.43.
The 200-medley relay was followed up with another win at the 200-free relay by the senior squad of Andrew Nesbitt, Ryan Gajdzisz, Scott Vitabile and Coppola.
“It’s easy to get motivated when you are competing with a great program like Stevens,” said Brian Bishop, men’s swimming head coach.
The Lions team strength was further showcased at the 500-free and 50-fly. Gajdzisz, freshman Harrison Yi and junior Logan Barnes claimed the first three spots of the
Meanwhile, senior Vince Masciandaro, junior Chris O’Sullivan, Johnson and Nesbitt tramped the Ducks on the 50-fly, claiming all the first top four finishes.
“The upperclassmen are able to set the tone for the underclassmen, which allows for the younger guys to develop without being expected to carry the team,” said Bishop.
At the women’s meet, the Lions prevailed over injuries and grinded out a 147-137 victory over the Ducks. The underclassman carried the Lions through the races.
Sophomore Hailey Thayer seized first place at the 50-backstroke with a time of 29.44. Freshman Annie Menninger performed tremendously for the Lions. She won the 1000-freestyle and the 50-breastroke and finished third at the 100-breastroke.
Experience swimmers also played a crucial role. Senior Brenna Stollo snatched first at the 100-back and junior Ali Huber claimed first at the 100-free.
At the diving board, senior Sarah Grassi and junior Hannah Raymond dove to the top finishes. Grassi brought first place at the 1- and 3-meter diving events.
“Sarah and Hannah put in a lot of training over winter break,” said Jennifer Harnett, women’s swimming head coach. “They personally performed really well on the boards this past weekend.”
Both the men and women set their ambitions toward the Metropolitan Conference Championships this February.
“It was a non-conference meet so we will swim right through it and swim some people around in events. It’s just another opportunity for us to have some good races in before we start to taper.” said Harnett.
“Our focus is more in (Metropolitan) without a doubt,” Bishop said. “(Metropolitan) will be our teams opportunity to qualify for NCAAs, and that’s the ultimate goal.”
Both the men’s and women’s swimming teams host their last conference meet of the season on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 2 p.m. against the William Paterson University Pioneers.