With the University Athletic Association Championships right around the corner, the UR women’s swimming and diving team pulled out two important wins this past week to finish the season with a 10-2 record.
First, the team traveled to William Smith College and came out on top on Jan. 26, 136-107.
“We have really been able to keep our momentum strong these past few weeks,” Head Coach Danielle Herring said. “I was really proud of the women’s performance, especially in the final events. It has been really great to see all the hard work spent training produce the fantastic results we have seen this season.”
Several team members made key contributions to UR’s victory. Sophomore Michele Gruen placed first in both the 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard butterfly.
Sophomore Kari Joyce won the 200-yard backstroke and was on the winning 200-yard freestyle relay team.
In the 200-yard breaststroke, freshman Denise Moseman took first and then contributed to the Yellowjackets’ second-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay along with Joyce.
For the fourth time this season, freshman Danielle Scherry was named Liberty League Rookie of the Week. She took first in the 500-yard freestyle and was on the winning 200-yard freestyle relay team. Scherry’s third gain for UR came in second in the 200-yard freestyle.
“Danielle has proven herself to be a vital part of this team,” Herring said. “It will be very exciting to see what other contributions she will make in the years to come.”
Scherry came through with two more victories against Ithaca College, taking first in both the 1,650-yard and 500-yard freestyle. In a thrilling finish, the UR women triumphed, 123-120, defeating Ithaca for the first time in the team’s history.
“Our team was able to pull together on Saturday against Ithaca and I think team unity will really help us at [the UAA Championships] next weekend,” Scherry said. “Based on our performances in the last few meets, we should have a lot of fun swimming fast at UAAs.”
Along with Scherry, Moseman also had outstanding performances in the 400-yard individual medley, where she placed second, and in the 100-meter breaststroke, where she took first.
“I knew that we could do it because our team had more heart than Ithaca’s,” Moseman said. “We wanted to break the streak more than Ithaca wanted the win, and it paid off. The breaststrokers especially performed well under pressure, and the diving team continues to make great contributions.”
In the 3-meter dive, junior Patricia McHale took first. Sophomores Kara Nash and Shannon Kahabka took second and third, respectively.
“When we went 1-2-3, it was unbelievable,” McHale said. “For Shannon Kahabka to come back after being off the boards for almost a month with a ruptured eardrum and beat out Ithaca’s top diver by only 0.7 of a point, you could tell we were there to win.”
“The victory against Ithaca could not have been a better way to end the season,” Herring said. “The women really got to put their skills on display and as a result, team morale is high and we have the momentum to compete strongly in the UAA Championships next week.”
On the men’s side, the team put up a solid effort against Ithaca on Saturday, but fell short, 140-94.
“It was a tough loss against Ithaca, but I still think that the men swam very well and really did try their best,” Herring said. “We look forward to success in Chicago at the UAA’s.”
The Yellowjackets placed first in six of their 13 events. Sophomore Craig Matt won both the 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard butterfly. Matt also contributed to UR’s first place in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Senior Pete Maxwell was also on the 400-yard freestyle relay team and earned an individual victory in the 200-yard backstroke.
Sophomore Anthony Freed, who took second in the 1,000-yard freestyle, also swam on the 400-yard freestyle relay team. Junior Ted Elton continued to show his strength on the diving board, winning both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives.
Both the women’s and men’s teams have the coming week free from competition. It is a short rest for the Yellowjackets before the beginning of the UAA Championships in Chicago on Feb. 9.
Troyer can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.