By Jacob Malik
Both the men’s and women’s swim teams dominated from Friday, Feb. 21, to Sunday, Feb. 23, at the MET championships. Both squads placed second behind Rowan University, with the men scoring an impressive 1,478.5 points while the women scored even more, with a final tally of 1,523 points.
The Lions got off to a strong start on Friday. In nearly every single event there was at least one top-five finisher per race. The main highlights of Friday were two new program records. Both records came in the 200-yard individual medley. The first record set was by sophomore Zoe Chan when she placed first with an incredible time of 2:07.48.
This was followed by a fourth-place finish from junior Melanie Fosko and a seventh-place finish by sophomore Kori Jelinek. They finished with times of 2:12.44 and 2:14.02, respectively. But this was only the beginning of the records. In the men’s individual medley junior Andrew Thompson placed second and set a program record with a time of 1:50.61. The Lions also had junior Griff Morgan place third with a time of 1:52.98 and an eighth-place finish from senior Elias O’Connor with a time of 1:55.25.
Saturday was just as dominant for the Lions. Early in the day they were crushing the competition. They would go on to have first-place finishes. Not only did they finish first in those three races, they also would have three top-10 finishers in those races.
The first race would be the men’s 400-yard individual medley. Morgan finished first with blazing speed and was able to achieve an impressive time of 4:00.69. He would be followed closely behind by teammate freshman Conrad Hoody who finished second with a time of 4:03.84. The Lions would round out the top-five of the race with junior Jimmy Keane taking fifth and finishing with a time of 4:07.21.
The Lions had pure dominance in the following race, the women’s 100 yard butterfly. Chan turned in yet another incredible performance, finishing first with a time of 56.14. This was Chan’s second first-place finish for the weekend. Jelinek was also successful, placing second just behind Chan with a time of 57.06. To round out the race, junior Darby VanDeVeen finished seventh at 1:00.61.
If two first-place finishes in a row wasn’t impressive enough, the Lions nabbed a third straight first-place finish in the men’s 100-yard butterfly. Thompson also grabbed his second-first place finish from the weekend after finishing at 48.86. If that wasn’t enough, the College had three more top-10 finishes within the same race. Freshman Sean Rave finished fifth at 50.35 while seniors Derek Kneisel and Zach Volm grabbed the 9 and 10 spots with times of 51.48 and 51.91 respectively.
To round the day out, in the final races of the day, the women’s team placed second in the 800-yard free relay while the men nabbed the Lions fourth first place of the day and sixth overall. Freshman Rachel Hannah, freshman Cameron Carrazza, Chan and junior Melania Fosko placed second with a time of 7:55.16. The team of Thompson, Morgan, senior Harrison Yi and freshman Dixon Kahler finished first with an impressive time of 6:43.23.
The last and final day, Sunday, Feb. 23, was filled with more of the same achievements. The Lions would go on to claim four more first-place finishes as well as have yet another program record be crushed. The women got things started with a first, fifth, seventh and eighth place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke. Senior Annie Menninger would claim first with an impressive time of 2:25.99, and she would be followed closely behind by teammates Fosko, as well as juniors Chiara Mennonna and Haley Crispell. They would finish with times of 2:28.96, 2:29.98 and 2:30.20, respectively.
For Chan, however, one program record didn’t seem to be enough, as she would go on to set yet another record in the 200-yard butterfly. Chan posted a record time of 2:05.91. Jelinek didn’t finish too far behind in second place with a time of 2:09.06 senior Samantha Askin finished in sixth place with a time of 2:16.15.
The Lions weren’t quite done yet, they would round out the weekend with consecutive first-place finishes in the 400-free relay. The women grabbed first place with a time of 3:32.66, with the relay consisting of Fosko, freshman Shannon Hesse, Hannah and anchored by Chan. For the men, Kahler, Yi, Morgan and Thompson placed first with a speedy time of 3:02.06.
The weekend as a whole was a great success, with both the men’s and women’s swim teams just narrowly falling short to Rowan, managing to get the silver medal.