The men’s and women’s swim team finished better than expected, placing fourth and fifth, respectively in last week’s MAAC Tournament at Loyola.
The men’s team edged out Niagara by a mere two points (355-353) to take the No. 4 position. It was redemption for Stags, who lost the dual meet to Niagara earlier this year. The women’s team took the fifth spot by a large margin over Iona.
“I didn’t think we’d finish so high,” said Kyle Stefanczyk, ’04. “But we really stepped up the last day and placed higher than expected.”
Numerous school records were set. Most notably Frank Vitulli set records in both 1,000 and 1,650 free style with times of 9:53.57 and 16:38.46. In the 1,000 free style, Vitulli shattered his own record by an astounding 17 seconds.
Freshman Sean Killelea also set a record with a time of 4:27.43 in the 400 individual medley.
The women’s team was able to set four school records of their own. They performed well particularly in the relay races. A new mark of 4:10.37 was set by Christie LaRusso, Janet Early, Jaime Bivona and Kelly Steele in the 400 Medley Relay. This time beat the former record by almost three seconds.
“That record was a great surprise,” LaRusso said. “We normally go out there to do our best. We were excited to swim fast all together. The record was just a sweet bonus.”
Regina Lawrence, Bridget McKeon, Virginia Meade and Steele also combined to set the record in the 800 Free Relay. The relay records continued as Megan Magura, Meade, Megan Powers, and Steele’s time of 3:42.39 set a new premium in the 400 Free Relay.
Individually for the women’s team, Early’s time of 1:11.07 set a new school record in the 100 Breaststroke. She also missed setting a new record in the 200 Breaststroke by .4 of a second.
The men’s divers had one of their best showings of the year. The Stags had three divers in the top ten on the one meter. On the three meter, Peter Loverme and Rob Penwell picked up big points for the Stags finishing sixth and ninth respectively.
The women’s divers also failed to disappoint. The Stags were lead by Chrissie Mayr who finished 3rd in the one meter and 5th in the three meter. She was followed by strong performances from Karen Seavers, Kate Niemczyk and Stephanie Gonzalez who all had top 15 finishes in both events.
The men’s team’s result was overly surprising since the team was undersized and only had ten swimmers and four divers.
“Compared to last year, we had a lot less guys,” Stefanczyk said. “A bunch of guys either got injured or quit the team.”
The women also swam well as a team. The women had finalists in six of the seven events on the final day.
Lawrence credits the team’s poise to head coach Bill Farley’s guidance this year. Farley, however, was unavailable for comment.
“His consistency throughout the year, both in coaching techniques and his focus on team unity, made a huge difference when we needed to behave like a team,” Lawrence said. “At MAAC’s, every single person was cheering on and encouraging their teammates.”