When the A-10 tournament began Wednesday, the men’s and women’s swim teams were staring down four straight days of competition – a schedule that threatened to exhaust the Colonials with each additional day of races.
GW worked to maintain a solid level of production throughout the week, setting career and school records along the way. Though the men’s team ultimately placed sixth out of seven teams and the women finished in ninth out of 10, head coach Dan Rhinehart said he was impressed with his team’s ability to maintain consistent effort throughout competition.
“I loved the way the kids came back strong on the last day,” Rhinehart said.
The men’s 800-yard freestyle relay team of juniors Phillip Graeter, Stephen Nelson, Luke Quimby and Niklas Glenesk, placed third, breaking a school record with a time of 6:40.15. Junior Alex Etz, freshman Garrett Cottingham and senior Marshall Seedorff joined Graeter to put up a season-best time in the 200-yard medley relay.
Graeter, who has been a standout performer all season, placed second in the 200-yard individual medley with a career-best time of 1:48.48, just .38 seconds out of first. Graeter also snagged a second place finish in the 400-yard individual medley on the third day of competition, setting a new school record. On the final day of competition, Graeter picked up his third silver medal in the 200-yard backstroke.
“Phillip had three real exciting races, and every one of them was a fight to the finish,” Rhinehart said. “In the end, he brought home a lot of silver medals, but he is eager for next year.”
Seedorff swam the 50-yard freestyle, finishing in fourth place, and Glenesk placed sixth in the 500-yard freestyle. Glenesk also swam a career-best time in the 200-yard freestyle, which earned him a fifth place finish.
Sophomore Spencer Neff placed third in the 1,650-yard freestyle, making the first trip to the podium of his career. He swam a career-best time of 15:53.34. Another Colonial who stepped up was freshman Adam Rabe, who swam a career-best time of 2:01.56 in the 200-yard breaststroke, just .21 seconds behind the first place finisher.
“When he finished second, he went from a freshman who might ‘contribute,’ to someone to be respected in the A-10,” Rhinehart said.
On the women’s side, the team swam season-best times in the 200-yard medley and 800-yard freestyle relays, earning seventh and ninth place finishes, respectively. In the 800-yard free relay, sophomores Caroline Myers, Melissa Fernandez, Sloan Saunders and freshman Janica Lee took nearly 10 seconds off of their previous season-best time, swimming the race in 7:35.14.
Myers landed a second place finish in the 500-yard freestyle with a career best time of 4:54.73. She snagged another second place finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle, and also finished fifth in the 400-yard individual medley with a season-best time of 4:30.42.
“Caroline also had a great 1,650. It’s the longest race in our sport, but even so, when you have someone staying with you from start to finish, it brings the excitement to a whole different level,” Rhinehart said.