Bucknell tops Colonials in Smith Center pool

Milliseconds made the difference Sunday afternoon as the men’s and women’s swim teams played host to Bucknell. In their first home meets of the year, the men’s team fell short 157-100 and the women lost 151.5-105.5.

In one of only three meets at the Smith Center this season, the Colonials started off slow, failing to place first until the third event of the day, when freshman Caroline Myers took a commanding two-second lead halfway through the 200-yard freestyle and never looked back. She placed first with a time of 1:54, while teammates Kristina Martin and Sameera Al Bitar took third and seventh, respectively.

“I am just going out there and doing what I can to help the team win,” Myers said. “It’s great to be at home and have our friends come out and cheer for us.”

Myers, last week’s Atlantic 10 Women’s Swimming Performer of the Week, had an especially strong showing Sunday, winning the 200-yard freestyle, the 500-yard freestyle, the 200-yard individual medley and swam the anchor leg for the Colonials in their win in the 400-yard freestyle.

After the meet, head coach Dan Rhinehart said he was very proud of the way his team battled.

“I thought we did a great job today,” Rhinehart said. “We gave 100 percent effort out there. Although Bucknell is a stronger team, we didn’t back down.”

For the men’s team, freshman Spencer Neff won the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:48.70. Neff, who also placed second in the 1000-yard freestyle, and swam for the fourth-place 400-yard freestyle relay, was also recognized by the A-10 as the Men’s Swimming Performer of the Week. The freshman said he was unsure of what to expect from Bucknell early Sunday but ended up happy with the first dual meet of his collegiate career.

“They are a very strong team,” Neff said of Bucknell. “This was my first dual race in college and it was very exciting. I am really happy to be here and swimming well for the team. All of our hard work is paying off.”

Sophomore Phillip Graeter, who won the men’s 200-yard individual medley last week in a meet against Catholic and American, had another strong performance against the Bison, once again placing first in this weekend’s 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:56.88.

Although it’s still early in the year, Rhinehart said he’s excited as the team moves forward and prepares for its next meet against Drexel Nov. 7, also scheduled to be held the Smith Center.

“Today’s meet is a great starting point for us,” Rhinehart said. “We had great times for this early in the season. Some of the kids had personal bests and we were seconds shy of team records. I am very proud of everyone.”

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