Underclassmen propel swimming and diving teams to third place finishes at championship meets

Photo courtesy of Scranton Athletics.
FIRST-YEAR student Lauren Byrne swam to victory in three races at the Landmark Conference championship meet.

JILL WALL
SPORTS EDITOR

The University’s men and women’s swimming and diving teams found success at their championship meets this past weekend in Germantown, MD.

Both teams came home with third place finishes, driven by a number of outstanding performances, particularly from underclassmen.

Women’s Team

First-year student Lauren Byrne proved to be a standout performer. The Royal was honored as Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year after she won three gold medals, set two conference meet records and posted an NCAA B-Cut qualifying time in the 100 breaststroke.

Byrne, whose first season was bursting with accomplishments, was initially unsure of what to expect heading into the weekend.

“Going into the meet I really didn’t know what to expect but I was hoping to drop my times and to place high and score as many points as I could,” Byrne said. “I knew there would be a lot of competition and I wanted to be able to compete with the other girls. I knew that the team could perform really well at the meet but we needed to really cheer and support one another for that to happen.”

Byrne’s expectations were quickly exceeded, not only by herself but by her teammates who performed remarkably as well.

Junior Claire Mason, who came home with gold in the 200 breaststroke, relied on her previous experience at the championship meets to guide her expectation for this season’s.

As [the championship meets] were approaching I knew my main goals were to break some of my personal best times and then to place either one, two or three in my main events. I knew my breaststroke was feeling good and I was excited to see what I could do,” Mason said. “As for the team, we always like approach [the championship meets] with a winning mindset. One of the biggest aspects we focused on was being supportive of each other, having good energy at the meet, and of course cheering each other on in our races. If we did all these things we knew we would have a great end of the season.”

As for the success that the royals found throughout the season and in the championship meets, both Byrne and Mason were pleasantly surprised to see such a big number of Royals standing on the podium at the end of each race.

“I was extremely surprised by the results of this weekend. I never expected to win three individual events or to have as much success as I did,” Byrne said. “The team had an incredible meet and I was really impressed with our third place finish. We will definitely continue to try to move up in the conference in the next few years.”“Overall the team did amazing. Watching people place well, win, and break records was so exciting. I think we all took all we had and put it into this meet,” Mason said. Although we did not win, we all realized this meet was faster in general this year and that we all gave it 100 percent effort and heart so we were happy with the results.”

Other notable performances during the meet came from sophomore Emma Harper, and juniors Susannah Ilseman, Emma Ilseman, Lucy Fulton and Suze Neggia.

Men’s Team

 Like the women’s team, the men’s team’s success came greatly from underclassmen.

First-year student Timothy Quigley proved that age does not always matter when it comes to competition, as he took home gold in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke, breaking program records for both.

First-year student John Fimmano earned silver in the 200 butterfly after breaking a 10-year old school record with a time of 1.56.17.

Another huge performance came from sophomore Michael Diana, who was named Landmark Conference Diver of the Year for the second year in a row. Diana took home gold in the 3-meter dive while breaking a school record, and earned silver in the 1-meter dive.

Other standout performances from underclassmen included Matthew Mills taking home third in the 200 backstroke and 200 breaststroke and John Cannilla placing fourth in the 1650 freestyle.

Juniors Michael Ramsthaler and Bryan Winiarz along with senior Patrick Blaser were part of a program record-breaking 200 medley that brought home silver.

Juniors Chris Whalen and Alex Rigione also led the Royals a fourth place finish in the 400 freestyle.

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