Niagara Women Win The Program’s 1st MAAC Title, Rider Men Win 10th Consecutive

Metro Atlantic Conference (MAAC)

The Niagara University women’s swimming and diving won its first MAAC title in program history. The last time the MAAC Championships occurred in 2020, the Niagara women placed 7th. 

This is Niagara’s 1st full season with Head Coach Eric Bugby, and also Bugby’s first head coach position. At the end of the meet, Bugby was named the MAAC Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year. 

Bugby came to Niagara in the middle of the 2019-2020 season after former head coach Ben Nigro left the program after three members of the women’s swim team sued Niagara for harassment by men’s swimmers, a situation that Nigro did not handle properly.

The Fairfield University women’s team was denied its 4th consecutive conference title. In 2018, the Fairfield women’s freshman class won 72% of the team’s points en-route to winning the MAAC title. That class has since graduated, and the MAAC Championships did not occur last year due to COVID-19.

Meanwhile, on the men’s side, Rider University won it’s 10th consecutive MAAC title, remaining steadily in 1st place throughout the entire meet. Head Coach Steve Fletcher was named the MAAC Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year. 

Women’s Recap

Georgia Watkins of Monmouth won her 2nd event of the meet, touching 1st in the 1,650 freestyle (17:10.25) after she won the 500 freestyle on night two of the meet. She then followed up that performance by winning the 200 butterfly (2:02.80) later on in the session, 3.5-seconds ahead of the field. At the conclusion of the meet, Watkins was named Rookie Swimmer of the Meet and Co-Swimmer of the Meet with Camryn McHugh of Monmouth.

McHugh touched first in the 200 backstroke (1:58.64) after winning the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly double on Friday. McHugh also won the 200 backstroke in 2020 (2:00.48) and 2019 (2:02.06). Taking 2nd in the event was Fairfield’s Erini Pappas (2:00.38), who swept the IM races earlier in the meet. 

Sage Pollack of Canisius won the 100 freestyle (51.26), edging out Katherine Lee of Iona (51.59) and Alexandra Ho of Monmouth (51.82). Swimming in the B-final, Niagara’s Paige South swam a time that would have placed 4th in the A final (51.95), en-route to finishing 9th. 

Iona’s Julia Moser completed the breaststroke sweep by winning the 200 breaststroke (2:19.26) as the only swimmer sub-2:20. In 2020, Moser won the B-final (2:24.79). Monmouth’s Tahlia Botha, who won the event in 2020 touched 4th tonight (2:22.00). 

The MAAC title came down to the final event, the 400 freestyle relay. Niagara narrowly touched 1st (3:28.13) ahead of Iona (3:28.65).

Women’s Team Final Standing

  1. Niagara University, 582.5
  2. Iona College, 554
  3. Fairfield University, 548
  4. Marist College, 482.5
  5. Monmouth University, 442.5
  6. Siena College, 299.5
  7. Canisius College, 294
  8. Rider University, 261
  9. Manhattan College, 105
  10. Saint Peter’s University, 81

Men’s Recap

Monmouth’s Callan Smith touched 1st in the 200 backstroke (1:43.89) breaking his own meet record (1:43.92), which was set en-route to winning the event in 2020. Callan was named Swimmer of the Meet at the conclusion of the evening. Lucas Racevicius was 2nd (1:44.57) after touching 3rd in 2020 (1:47.29). 

The 200 butterfly came down to the wire between Canisius freshman Archie Minto (1:47.87) and Iona senior and defending champion Conor Mullin (1:47.94). Minto was out fast (50.90/56.97) and Mullin had a little bit more coming home (51.29/56.65). Swimming in the B-final, Orry Zayit of Marist posted a time that would have placed 3rd overall (1:49.92). 

Kyle Iorizzo of Rider defended his 2020 MAAC title in the 1,650 freestyle (15:29.48), which was almost 11-seconds ahead of 2nd place finisher Joseph Stewart of Fairfield (15:40.31), who was named the MAAC Rookie of the Meet. Liam O’Connell touched in 3rd (15:42.19). He was 4th in the event in 2020 (15:44.27).

Ahmed Sallam of Marist won the 100 freestyle (44.04). He won the 50 freestyle earlier in the meet. He was 2nd in this event in 2020 (44.57). 

Chris Ford of Fairfield won the 200 breaststroke (1:59.30) after taking 3rd in the 100 breaststroke earlier in the meet. Ford was 10th in this event in 2020 (2:04.54). In 2nd was David Cooper of Rider (2:00.94), who was 4th in 2020 (2:02.55). Peter Sloan of Fairfield touched 3rd (2:01.14) and placed 4th in 2020 (2:02.55). 

Sean Binning of Rider achieved the highest score on the 1-meter board tonight (252.30), after taking 2nd place in the 3-meter event. Later that night, he was named the Diver of the Meet and Rookie Diver of the Meet. Fairfield’s Sam Tonole finished 2nd (226.55) after taking 12th place in 2020 (192.05). 

Rider University won the 400 freestyle relay (3:00.33), almost two-seconds ahead of 2nd place Monmouth University (3:01.93). The Rider lineup included:

Men’s Team Final Scores

  1. Rider University, 706
  2. Fairfield University, 585
  3. Marist College, 532
  4. Iona College, 420
  5. Monmouth University, 383
  6. Niagara University, 327
  7. Canisius College, 251
  8. Saint Peter’s University, 238
  9. Manhattan College, 123

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