Men’s and women’s swimming and diving show promise in first home meet

Media Credit: Allison Robbert | Photographer

In the tight confines of the Smith Center Pool, the ear-splittingly loud cheers of swimmers and the packed crowd of over 100 fans reverberated around the room, adding to the excitement of the Colonial’s first home meet of the season.

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams won in their tri-meet against James Madison and Old Dominion Saturday, building aspirations of another Atlantic 10 Championship title.

Marking the first win of the fresh season for the men’s and women’s programs, the Colonials swam their way to victory in 22 of the meet’s 32 events – a rebound from the their respective pair losses against Virginia Tech and Ohio University earlier this month. After winning the A-10 Championship last year, the team appears ready to meet high expectations as the projected favorites to take their second straight conference crowns.

In the tight confines of the Smith Center Pool, the ear-splittingly loud cheers of swimmers and the packed crowd of more than 100 fans reverberated across the pool for the Saturday meet, adding to the excitement of the Colonial’s first home swim of the season.

“It was absolutely as crowded and loud as I’ve ever seen it, ever heard it,” Head Coach Brian Thomas said in a video posted to Twitter Sunday. “And I think our kids fed off of that, especially early in the meet, it’s sometimes a challenge in a dual meet. They are three hours long, so you want to kind of bottle that up a little bit.”

The men’s swimming team faced off against Old Dominion and outscored the Monarchs 167 to 95, taking nine of 14 top places. The women’s swimming and diving team easily handled Old Dominion 232 to 61 and took care of JMU 163 to 136, winning 13 of 18 top places.

To start the meet, GW unveiled the men’s and women’s A-10 Championship banners from last season, which made them the first A-10 swimming and diving program to win both titles since Massachusetts in 2001. The championship win was the fifth in six years for the men’s team and the second in three years for the women’s squad.

The diving competition at the meet was limited to the 1- and 3-meter women’s dives. Freshman Olivia Paquette was the top performer for GW, recording a score of 262.13 on the 1-meter dive and a score of 265.35 on the 3-meter dive, good to win third place in both events out of 17 and 16 competitors respectively.

“Our divers stepped up and helped break up some of the Madison divers and allowed us to get in there with a manageable score to overcome on the swimming side,” Thomas said. “So we’re happy with everything that way.”

In men’s swimming, the Colonials’ squad cruised to first and second in a field of six competitors for the 400 medley relay, separated by just 1.03 seconds. The team of junior Karol Mlynarczyk, freshman Preston Lin, graduate student Matthew Whelan and junior Dylan Koo finished in the top spot with a time of 3:22.81 – nearly six seconds faster than Old Dominion’s third place finish.

The team also swept the 100 and 200 butterfly, finishing in the first four positions in both events that consisted of a respective 12 and eight swimmer pool.

Despite the dominance over Old Dominion, Thomas said the team must continue to improveme their game to finish atop the A-10. He said the repeated races for the swimmers in a single meet might have fatigued the swimmers without proper preparation.

“I felt the guys were so-so today – some good performances, some performances that could have been better.” Thomas said. “We need to be a little bit better at racing when we’re a little tired.”

In women’s swimming, sophomore Moriah Freitas was the standout swimmer on the day, leading the team with four top-three finishes, placing first in the 400 medley relay, the 200 butterfly and the 100 butterfly.

“She’s off to a great start this year,” Thomas said. “It was evident from the get-go that maybe she had come in with a little bit more maturity this year and has been on point with everything she’s done both academically and athletically, and it’s starting to show itself with a lot of consistency.”

Freitas easily finished first alongside teammates sophomore Ava DeAngelis, freshman Phoebe Wright and sophomore Barbara Schaal in the 400 medley relay in a field of nine. Adding to their solid afternoons, Schaal and Wright were separated by just 0.01 seconds at the top of standings for the 200 backstroke among 14 other racers.

Looking to the future, Thomas’ goal is to keep the team on track to win the A-10 without pushing his athletes too hard this early in the season.

“It’s still early in the year and we’ll pump the breaks on everything,” Thomas said. “Just get back to work on Monday, taking it a day at a time.”

Moving forward, both teams will compete at Navy Oct. 21 and 22.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.