Colonials top local foe in D.C. swimming event

Spurred by sophomore David Zenk, the Atlantic 10’s reigning Most Outstanding Performer, the men’s swim team defeated Georgetown University 120 points to 96 Saturday. The women’s team fell to the Hoyas 138 to 90 at the Yates Field House at the same meet.

Zenk won all three races he competed in, as the men earned first place in seven of the 11 events. The women finished first in four of their 11 races.

The teams did not let two fatiguing meets last weekend affect their efforts, coaches and players said. On Oct. 13, the men won the Potomac Relays at American University, an event that also included the Hoyas, who finished last in a six-team field. The following day, both teams came out with third-place finishes in a quad meet hosted by Loyola College of Maryland in Baltimore.

“We were swimming tired, but we were much improved,” said John Bruenning, both team’s assistant coach. “We stepped it up today. We’re prepared for anything.”

“More so than any other year, (this team) is dynamically more diverse,” Bruenning said. “It’s a unique team, and this year (there is) much more of a team environment.”

The two teams have 33 swimmers between them, hailing from 20 different states, spanning from the northeast to the southwest.

“Everyone has a different personality (on this team),” said senior Jeff Cohn. “We blend well together. … We’ve got great chemistry between the men and women’s teams. It’s a reciprocal relationship and it makes us very cohesive.”

The level of camaraderie the two teams share could be seen throughout Saturday’s meet. The swimmers screamed and clapped the entire the afternoon. At the end of most races, the team stood in unison and grew even louder.

Cohn lauded the performances of freshmen Cascade Tuholske and Stephen Cosme (200-yard butterfly), senior Daniel Mahoney (200-yard freestyle) and sophomore Tom Pullen (200-yard individual medley) for finishing either first or second in their respective races.

The women’s side wasn’t without impressive performances. Freshman Cissey Ye won the 1000-yard freestyle, and freshman Emily Leik and sophomore Lauren Fuchs finished first and second, respectively, in the 200-yard individual medley. Leik also won the 200-yard backstroke. One setback was its disqualification in the “B” 400-yard medley relay, the meet’s first event.

“We are in a building phase,” Bruenning said. “There are solid underclassmen on the women’s side. We have goals and plans, but we don’t have expectations.”

Leik and Ye’s performances give the Colonials reason to be optimistic. The two are joined by classmates Jennifer Cohn, Christa Gorenflo, Katrina Timlin and Zoe Litsios.

A disappointment for the Colonials this year is their diving program. Junior John Osterholt is the only non-swimming member of the squad (Litsios is officially listed as a diver too, but did not compete on Saturday), but he was forced to sit out of the meet on Saturday due to mono. He is not expected to dive for another month. Diving coach Michael Tober is in his first year at GW after spending the last three as the head diving coach at the University of Maryland.

As a result of GW’s lack of divers, the Hoyas swept all of the available diving points.

“I’m increasing my workouts, but taking it slower than normal,” Osterholt said. “I need to get my balance back.” He hopes to see a big recruiting class for next year, he said.

The Colonials continue their season on Friday at Catholic University before heading to American for a meet on Saturday.

“It’s still very early,” said Cohn. “We need to stay focused and get ready.”

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