F&M swimming teams compete in conference championships

The F&M men’s and women’s swimming teams competed in and hosted the Centennial Conference Championships in the Kunkel Aquatic Center from Feb. 21 to 23.

For both the men’s and women’s teams, there were many highlights from competing in the three-day long championships.

“It’s always a little nerve-racking going into a big meet like conference championships, knowing you have worked incredibly hard for five months straight but not knowing if all that work will pay off in the end,” Grant said. “But with a team as close as we are it is very easy to dispel those negative thoughts during all the excitement. Championships are a time when all the dedication and sacrifices pay off, a time for all doubts to be dismissed and a time to just enjoy the weekend, enjoy being with your teammates, and enjoy every single new memory made.”

The men’s team placed fifth, earning 419 total points. Gettysburg College took home the gold with 757 points, Dickinson College placed second with 553 points, Ursinus College placed third with 532 points, and Washington College placed fourth with 524.5 points.

The women’s team finished third with 528 points. Ursinus took home the win with 671.5 points and Gettysburg took home the silver in a close battle with 664 points.

Jillian Albus ’17 was named the second annual Centennial Conference outstanding rookie swimmer award Sunday immediately following the championships.

“When they called my name for the award I was completely surprised,” Albus said. “I’ve never won anything like that before. It’s very rewarding to know that all of my hard work throughout the season paid off and was

recognized.”

Albus marks the first F&M swimmer to be recognized with this award.

“It’s very exciting to be a part of history,” Albus said. “I can’t wait for future F&M swimmers to win it as well.”

Albus left quite the impression her first time in the championships. Albus won the 50-yard freestyle at a time of 24.24 seconds, won the bronze in the 100-yard freestyle at a time of 53.07 seconds, won the bronze in the 100-yard butterfly at a time of 59.14 seconds, and played a role in the 200-yard freestyle relay, where she, Taylor Mateja ’16, Rebecca Daen ’14, and Katie Grant ’15 won with a time of 1:37.55 seconds, setting a new school record. She also competed in the 400-yard freestyle relay with Grant, Daen, and Courtney Collins ’16, setting a new school record and earning the silver with a time of 3:34.02.

“The 200-freestyle relay not only broke the school record that was set back in 2006, but also won gold,” Grant said. “It was an amazing experience to be a part of and a great way to get the meet rolling. Each event that took place after that was even more exciting than the last and we came together as a team and family to make it one of the most incredible meets I have ever been a part of.”

Albus seems to be a bright future for the team.

In terms of the rest of the women’s team, Grant took home the gold in the 500-yard freestyle and 1650-yard freestyle. In addition, the relay team of Grant, Daen, Maggie Johns ’14, and Alexia Tomlinson ’14 took home the silver in the 800-yard freestyle.

The men’s team of John Zipp ’14, Richard Denton ’15, Patrick Greaney ’16, and Dennis Chen ’15 took home the silver in the 800-yard freestyle. The 400-yard freestyle relay of Zipp, Denton, Chen, and Jim Hwang ’14 took home the bronze.

Grant will be headed to Indianapolis, Ind. March 19-22 to compete in the NCAA Championship in three events: the 1650-yard freestyle, the 200-yard freestyle, and the 200-yard freestyle. Grant placed for all three of these events last year as well. At the championships, Grant took home the gold in the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 17:09.69, breaking (her own) school record, bronze in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:54.51, and gold in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:59.49.

“From the moment my season ended last year I have been doing everything in my power to have the best season I could possibly have, including qualifying for sectionals,” Grant said. “I was truly psyched to find out, but also very relieved. Every year the competition gets faster and the times more difficult, it’s hard to keep up. My hope for nationals is to represent F&M and my teammates to the best of my ability on the national level.

“In terms of swimming, I hope to once again be named All-American in the 500 and 1650, as well as get a best time in my 200,” Grant added.

The F&M men’s and women’s swim teams had successful seasons this semester.

“Starting from the second we got home from our training trip in Florida we knew we had some tough dual meets ahead of us, but through it all we maintained a positive attitude and continued pushing ourselves harder than ever,” Grant said. “Even if we did not win some of the dual meets we had hoped, we raced well as championships approached and continued to get faster and faster.”

Although the men’s and women’s teams did not place in the top-three of conference competition, many swimmers swam their best and medaled in the championships. The teams have a lot to be proud of this season and, as their season culminates, are happy with how their seasons panned out.

All statistics are according to godiplomats.com.

Senior Mark Rossman is the Sports Editor. His email is mrossman@fandm.edu

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