Broken school records highlight A-10 swimming championships

Media Credit: File Photo by Sam Johnson

The Colonial swimmers finished toward the back of the pack but broke several school records last weekend in the Atlantic 10 championships.

In Ohio, the men’s and women’s swimming teams finished in sixth and eighth place, respectively. One of just two teams competing without a diving squad, GW rallied to take home a combined team score of 619.5 points for an overall ranking of seventh place in the championships.

The men’s team gathered 366 points over the four days, while last years champions – St. Bonaventure University – reclaimed its title with 718 points. Massachusetts and cross-town rival George Mason took home second and third place, respectively.

The women’s team totaled 253.5 points throughout the event, as Richmond won the team title with 645.5 points. Fordham followed in second and UMass in third, with 493 and 467 points, respectively.

Wednesday night saw two school-relay records broken for the Colonials. In the 800-yard freestyle relay, junior Goran Koprivnjak, sophomore Jordan Sharples, and freshmen Liam Huffman and Bogdan Balteanu combined for a 6:35.92 record-breaking time. The 200-yard individual medley saw Koprivnjak, joined by senior Jake Mortensen, junior Adam Rabe, and sophomore Oliver Keegan swim a university record-tying 1:31.32 performance. The two swims resulted in fourth and fifth place finishes, respectively.

“It was definitely a great opener for us,” Koprivnjak reflected. “I mean the whole weekend was definitely the best meet of the season we had.”

Huffman took the men’s first podium on Thursday, delivering a personal best 4:29.35 to earn bronze in the 500-yard freestyle. Koprivnjak’s personal best came with a bronze medal as well, with the Croatian-born swimmer posting a 1:49.65 time in the 200-yard individual medley event.

Koprivnjak’s exceptional weekend continued on Friday, with a fourth-place finish of 49.00 seconds in the 100m fly – breaking a school record set in 1999. For the men’s 400-yard medley relay, Mortensen, Rabe, Keegan, and Koprivnjak shattered another GW record with their fourth-place time of 3:19.45. Koprivnjak and Keegan stood together on the podium after the 200-yard butterfly. Koprivnjak, who specializes in the event, took home silver (1:48.12) and Keegan the bronze (1:48.65).

“Day to day, I feel like I got better and better,” Koprivnjak said. “I am definitely satisfied with the performance on an individual level.”

On the final day, Rabe nabbed the silver with his 1:59.35 performance in the 200-yard breaststroke. The swim set a new school record in the event and qualified him for an NCAA B cut time.

The female swimmers set records of their own as well, beginning with the 800-freestyle team of senior Caroline Myers, freshman Lauren Law, and sophomores Madison Reinker and Kally Vanderbilt. Together they posted a collective 7:27.67 performance and replaced the old GW mark in doing so.

Freestyle-specialist Myers continued her success, earning silver in the 500-yard freestyle with a personal best 4:50.46 swim. She also took home gold in the 1,650-yard freestyle on Saturday. The senior, a two-time silver medalist in the event, stood atop the podium with her 16:36.61 final day performance.

The seventh-place finish by the 200-yard freestyle relay squad of Vanderbilt, seniors Sloan and Sydney Saunders, and junior Morgan Zebley’s broke the GW record with a 1:35.45 finish. Law found personal success on the third day in the 400-yard IM event. Though she didn’t qualify for the A Final that morning, the freshman won the B Final while breaking her own school record with a new time of 4:23.32.

Against unprecedented competition, GW struggled. However, certain individuals shone and earned individual recognition throughout the weekend.

But, swimming is a sport about besting personal records and breaking school records. The sport is about improvement and in that regard, GW certainly flaunted its ability. Breaking a number of school records, the men and women’s swimming teams added “2014” to the Colonials record books. These are times to appreciate now, but benchmarks for the future and the new definitions of success in GW swimming.

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