Ursinus Women, Swarthmore Men Begin to Pull Away on Day 2

2017 Centennial Conference Swimming Championships

  • February 17th-19th, 2017
  • Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Championship Central (including results)

Article by Dan Mallozzi and Michael Harmon

Lancaster PA –  Day 2 of the Centennial Conference Championships came to an end as the Ursinus Lady Bears improved their lead on the rest of the field. With a dominant showing in the women’s 100 Fly as well as both relays, it appears that the meet is shaping up to be a competition for second. When speaking with Ursinus head coach Mark Feinberg, it was apparent that the main priority was pursuing individual improvements. “We are focused on the record board, and getting best times. The score will take care of itself if we see improvements across the board” Said Feinberg. The Lady Bears (567) currently own a sizeable lead of 197 points over the second place Swarthmore women’s team (370). Gettysburg (352) sits within striking distance of the Garnet only trailing by 18 points.

The session began with yet another victory by Ursinus. The team of Lyons, Tierney, Baker, and Hemp claimed the 3rd relay title for the Lady Bears by posting a 1:46.06 in the 200 Medley Relay. Gettysburg finished 2nd (1:47.48) out touching Swarthmore (1:47.76).

The 400 IM was won by Emily Bley, a sophomore from Swarthmore in a time of 4:37.45. Finishing 0.01 seconds behind Bley was Olivia Tierney from Ursinus in a time of 4:37.46. Rounding out the top 3 was Junior Melissa Mullin from Franklin and Marshall (4:39.43). When asked about her race strategy, Bley said, “I knew I had to get out in front by the breaststroke leg.” Olivia did just that and managed to hold off Tierney by the smallest of margins.

The 100 Fly showcased a dominant performance by Ursinus as they swept the top 3 spots in the finals. Leading the way for the Lady Bears was Clara Baker (55.55), 2nd was Maggie Leitz (56.73) and 3rd was Katherine Porter (57.57). In a performance dedicated to her sister Lauren, Clara repeated as conference champion in the event. When asked about her mindset during the race Baker said, “I was focused on my breakouts.”

Olivia Lyman won another event for Dickinson, claiming the 200 Freestyle by over a second (1:53.66), toping Sydney Gundersen from Ursinus (1:54.73). Julia Portmann from Washington finished 3rd in a time of 1:56.02. Olivia, who always looks up at her mom in the stands before her races, said, “Just like the 500, I know this will be one of my last swims before I study abroad in Rwanda next year, so I gave it my all.”

Jenny Clune from Washington took home the gold in the women’s 100 Breaststroke in a time of 1:05.03. 2nd was Liz Stanton from Swarthmore (1:05.59). Taking 3rd was two time defending champion Caroline Moyer who finished in a time of 1:06.00. When asked about her race Clune said, “I wore my lucky socks before the race and made sure to stay controlled in the first 25.”

In the 100 Back, Peyton Lyons (56.96) claimed another impressive victory for, you guessed it, the Ursinus Lady Bears. Coming in second was teammate Maggie Leitz (58.09), and 3rd was Katie Schmidt (58.33) a sophomore from Dickinson. “I would like to dedicate my performance to my teammates and coaches, thank you” said Lyons.

To conclude the evening, The Ursinus women posted quite possibly the most dominant performance of the meet thus far, clearing the field by nearly 10 seconds. The relay of Leitz, Longenecker, Sturla and Gundersen touched in a time of 7:44.51. 2nd was Washington (7:53.41) while the Garnet finished 3rd (7:54.89).

During Sunday night’s final session, the Lady Bears will attempt to solidify their 4th consecutive conference title, while Gettysburg will try to close the slim margin on Swarthmore in their battle for second place. However, don’t count out the Washington women, as they are currently tied for 4th place with Franklin and Marshall and are looking to make a run at the top 3 spots. When asked about his team’s signature strength Washington coach Matt Harris said, “Comradery, everyone genuinely enjoys seeing each other every day. It helps us to lay down ground work, from which anything is possible.”

On the flip side, Swarthmore men extended their lead and positioned themselves nicely to claim their first Centennial Conference Title. The incredibly talented Garnet are highly motivated and focused on finishing the meet strong. When asked about Swarthmore’s motivation, Coach Karin Colby said, “Our strength is our commitment to excellence with a healthy dose of reality and what it all means.” Swarthmore has had an incredible meet thus far, claiming multiple individual titles as well as winning or tying every relay. However, the Garnet’s true key to success has been their depth and their ability to send multiple athletes into a majority of finals. When asked to comment on the overall meet goal Colby said, “From a coaching perspective it’s all about individual improvement, but our men’s team set a goal this year to win their first conference title.” Boasting a 112 point lead over second place Gettysburg, Swarthmore is the clear favorite to come away victorious at the conclusion of the meet.

Saturday’s finals session began with another dominant relay performance from Swarthmore as the team of Tse, Hernandez, Steele and Smith posted a 200 Medley Relay time of 1:31.57 beating the field by over 2 seconds. Touching 2nd was Washington (1:33.60) and 3rd was Franklin and Marshall (1:34.43).

Following the relay came the 400 Individual medley. Though a long event, it took all 16 laps to decide the champion as Swarthmore Senior Liam Fitzstevens (4:03.76) pulled away from Ursinus’ James Callaghan (4:04.57) in the final strokes. Brendan Jones (4:07.57) of Washington finished in 3rd. “I closed my eyes, cleared my head and centered myself” said Fitzstevens when as about his pre-race preparation. “My goal was race hard and break the 4 minute mark, but I know I left it all in the pool, so I’m not disappointed” added Fitzstevens.

The 100 Butterfly proved to be a key point scoring event for Franklin and Marshall as they posted 2 of the top 3 finishers. However, Andrew Steele from Swarthmore cruised to victory in a time of 49.48. Coming in 2nd was Danny Sanders (50.86) from Franklin and Marshall. Following Sanders was teammate Eric Dietrich-Peterson (51.07). When asked to comment on his mindset during his championship performance, Steele said, “I didn’t have to think, I’ve swam this event hundreds of times, at this point it is muscle memory.” “I’d like to give a shout out to my younger twin brothers Charles, and William. They are competing at the Ivy League Championships next week, Good luck!” Steele concluded.

The 200 Freestyle was a blast from the past as Gettysburg Freshman Ogden Leyens eclipsed the conference record previously held by his older brother Ashton “Big Chief” Leyens. The previous mark was set at 1:39.02. Ogden scorched the field with a time of 1:38.95. Finishing 2nd was another freshman from Ursinus, Jake Menzer (1:41.70), and 3rd was Swarthmore’s Chris Smith (1:42.18). “I would like to dedicate my performance to my brother, Ashton” said Ogden. “My strategy was to get out fast in the 1st 100 and hold on for a strong finish” Ogden added.

In the 100 Breaststroke, Gettysburg claimed another individual victory as Ty Dougherty finished in 1st with a time of 56.22. 2nd was Kevin Mackenzie from Washington (56.63). 3rd was Henry Wilson from Swarthmore (57.23). It was strictly business for Dougherty once again, as he politely declined the interview.  The most notable occurrence during the 100 Breaststroke was a highly contested disqualification of Gettysburg Freshmen Adam Dias who would have placed 3rd in the event with a time of 57.01. This stripped the Bullets of desperately needed points as the Orange and Blue struggle to keep pace with Swarthmore.

Arguably the most exhilarating event of the evening was the Men’s 100 backstroke. Heavy favorite Jeff Tse echoed confidence before his race and after 3 laps, it appeared that he was indeed a lock in win for the Garnet. However, Ursinus senior William Benn found his stride within the last 15 yards as he closed the gap and touched the wall 1st in a time of 50.69, edging Tse by 0.13 seconds (50.82). Rounding out the top 3 was Franklin and Marshall Sophomore Timothy Gould (51.91). When asked about his post-race thoughts, Benn said, “I don’t know how, I just wanted a best time, it just happened.”

The evening concluded with the Men’s 800 Freestyle relay, where Swarthmore won yet another relay event by upsetting the two event favorites, Ursinus and Gettysburg. Coming in 1st in a time of 6:51.50 was the team of Sekula, Fitzstevens, Lutzker and Smith. 2nd was Ursinus (6:52.46) and 3rd was Gettysburg (6:54.61) despite the efforts of rising star Ogden Leyens.

Heading into the final session, the Garnet will attempt to hold off the competition as Gettysburg looks to make a final push at the championship. Zachary Moser, in his 1st year of coaching with the Bullets, has confidence in his team. When asked to comment on his team’s strength Moser said, “Competitive spirit, our team will get up and go in close races, especially with the championship on the line.” With the Bullets heading into their strongest day, a comeback, though a long shot, is still within reach. Having one of the smallest teams in the conference, Gettysburg has struggled this year in finding depth in events, however, with 3 swimmers in the finals of the mile as well as the 100 free, the Orange and Blue remain hopeful in defending their title.

Finals resume tonight at 6:00PM at the Kunkel Aquatic Center.

Scoring After Day 2

Women’s

  1. Ursinus College -567
  2. Swarthmore College – 370
  3. Gettysburg College – 352
  4. Washington College – 287
  5. Franklin & Marshall College – 277
  6. McDaniel College – 240
  7. Dickinson College -237
  8. Bryn Mawr College – 125

Men’s

  1. Swarthore College – 511
  2. Gettysburg College – 399
  3. Ursinus College – 344
  4. Franklin & Marshall College – 341
  5. Washington College – 314
  6. Dicksinson College – 288
  7. McDaniel College – 161

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