As most winter sports teams are still defrosting, the men and women’s swim teams have been in the water for almost two months.

Saturday, Nov. 16, the men and women hit the water against Nazareth College and Brandeis University for a double-dual meet and the women emerged victorious, beating Nazareth 137-105 and Brandeis 134-110. The women stand at 4-2.

The men swam successfully against Nazareth, drowning the squad 153-76. However, the men came up short against Brandeis, losing 134-103. Currently, the men are 2-4 overall.

For the women, junior captain Christina deVries won the 50-yard free with a time of 26.31 while sophomore Tiffany Siu won the 200-yard fly with a time of 2:16.62. Freshman Ann Richards won the 500-yard free against both teams with a time of 5:24.90.

The women’s 400-yard relay team, featuring Richards, freshman Kim Bouch, Siu and freshman Annie Podkaminer, also grabbed a win with a time of 3:54.49.

For the men, sophomore Brian Immerman won the 1000-yard free with a time of 10:48.29. Ryan Montgomery swam to victories in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:04.16 and the 100-yard free with a time of 48.71. Sophomore Mark Radloff won the 200-yard breaststoke with 2:15.79.

To wrap it up, the men’s 400-yard medley relay, the all-sophomore team of Immerman, Radloff, Mike McCormick and Ryan Montgomery, posted the winning time of 3:41.82.

“All in all, it was a great meet with many best times,” head coach Julie Benker-O’Brien said.

UR kicked off its first meet early this year with dual meets against Carnegie Mellon University and Franklin and Marshall College. The women split, beating Franklin and Marshall while dropping to Carnegie. The men lost both openers.

But during the following meet, the men and women showed that they were poised to be in winning form this season by sweeping SUNY Brockport with ease, 131-90 and 141-99 respectively.

The Yellowjackets then officially kicked off the swim season by hosting the Harvest Relays Nov. 3, and as the Yellowjackets realized, the competition this year will be tough.

“The Carnegie Mellon University men showed that they will definitely be a force at the national meet in March, as did the Ithaca College women,” Benker-O’Brien said about the Relays.

But as UR’s third and fifth place performances were mostly by B-squad swimmers, the Yellowjackets have demonstrated a pack of solid talent as well.

Senior diver Kelly Coulehan will carry the diving squad this year and as a four-year veteran, she will prove to be a consistent contributor for the women.

The men also have junior Travis Acker and freshman David Bergman in the three-meter diving competition that have shown to be important ingredients in the Yellowjacket success this upcoming season.

Acker had banked a first place victory during UR’s matchup against Brockport Oct. 27.

Juniors Jacque Staple and Siu will also carry the women’s team this season. These two Yellowjackets swam their way to qualify for the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament last spring and both are likely to do the same this year.

Staple proved her solid talent as she led the Yellowjackets in the meet against Union College Nov. 10. She swam in four individual events, including the challenging 200-yard IM, and won all four.

“This was a very challenging combination of events,” Benker-O’Brien said. “Through guts and determination, she came out on top.”

On the men’s side of the deck, Radloff, Tynan, McCormick and Immerman should post excellent times in the breaststroke, freestyle, fly and backstroke, respectively.

Aside from a deep pool of veterans, freshmen talents Richards, Chris Preston and Kevin VanderNaald should prove to step up for the Yellowjackets this year.

“The freshmen bring a lot of talent to the team, as well as enthusiasm and team spirit,” DeVries said. “They are a great group and they will be a vital part of the team’s success.”

But as DeVries put it best, the Yellowjackets will “need everyone at every meet to swim well to be successful.”

And UR will have to put all the talent together to make up for the graduation of a few key swimmers from last year’s squad.

Captain Torrey Podkaminer was a strong contributor in the sprint freestyle events while co-captain Courtney Pederson led for the Yellowjackets in the fly and the IM.

The men will also miss captain Erik Dunki-Jacobs in the fly as well as Joel Harden in the distance and freestyle.

Despite missing talented graduates, Benker-O’Brien feels extreme optimism for UR’s performance this season amongst traditionally solid opponents.

“Both teams expect to move up at least one place in the University Athletic Association and have swimmers qualify for nationals, as well as swimmers being selected to compete in the national meet,” she continued.

Improvements on last year will be a challenge. The women finished strongly at 7-2 and the men finished even at 4-4.

The women placed second in the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association and seventh in the University Athletic Association. The men were fourth at the UCAAs and seventh in the UAAs.

The Yellowjackets will hit the pool next at this year’s UCAAs hosted by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The meet will start tomorrow and will conclude Saturday.

Wu can be reached at jwu@campustimes.org.



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