The Fairfield men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both handily defeated Pace University Saturday afternoon as they approach midseason form. In a very busy day for Fairfield sports – men’s basketball taking on Duke University, the rugby team playing in the Division II playoffs and the volleyball team playing Niagara University – the swim team still managed to gather a fair-sized crowd of passionate fans for their out-of-conference meet with Pace.
At a time in the season when every point is crucial for qualifying for placement in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships, the men’s and women’s team dominated Pace with the men’s team winning 156.5 to 54.5 and the women’s team winning 149 to 89.
Both the men’s and women’s team combined to win an impressive 20 of 26 events between the swimming and diving teams. It was clear from the beginning that Pace’s efforts would fall far short of Fairfield because they were short on swimmers and didn’t have nearly the depth nor strength that Fairfield had in its roster.
In fact, Fairfield knew going into the meet that they would outmatch Pace’s roster, so a handful of swimmers swam events outside of their specialties.
Diver Ashlee Steinberger ‘15 started things off for Fairfield by winning nine points in the women’s one-meter dive for Fairfield by a large margin. The men’s dive team garnered another 30 points in the one- and three-meter dive to add on to the 32 points that the women had picked up already. Senior Evan Barr and Daniel Pires ‘17 led the charge for the men’s diving team by winning the one- and three-meter dives, respectively.
The most impressive feat of the day, however, was by none other than swimmer
Connor Daly ‘16, who set a new school record in the 100-meter backstroke. Daly, who already holds school records in the 100-meter and 200-yard butterfly among others, was able to add another record in an event that he typically does not even train much for. This was the first time Daly was even able to swim the 100-meter backstroke in a meet at Fairfield.
“I didn’t have very high expectations for myself in the race. But I knew I was racing the fastest kid on Pace’s men’s team, so I knew I had a tough race in front of me,” said Daly. “I basically just took it out as fast as I could and tried not to die too badly on that last 25. It was cool setting the record by breaking a minute and also giving our team an event win.”
One of the swim team’s best leaders is Jay Cook ‘15, who had himself a great race by winning the 50- and 100-meter freestyles with times of 25.23 and 55.74 seconds. He credits a lot of the team’s success to Head Coach Janelle Atkinson-Wignall saying, “As a team, we are in the best shape we have ever been in thanks to our new head coach. We wouldn’t be where we are without her intense coaching and hard work.”
Junior Kelly Mulligan also helped carry the Stags to victory by winning the women’s 200-meter freestyle by nearly 3 seconds ahead of Pace, and winning the 400-meter freestyle relay.
Mulligan was pleased with their performance and said afterwards, “I think the Stags’ performance against Pace put us in a good position going into the Terrier Invitational next weekend. Boston will be a competitive meet, and having a win right behind us will hopefully keep everyone motivated to do even better in their next races/events.”