The UR swimming and diving teams hosted the 2006 Liberty League championships this weekend at the Speegle-Wilbraham Aquatic Complex. Both teams posted strong finishes for the home crowd, with the men placing first and the women taking second.
The men edged out Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute by 27 points for their first league title. The win was especially sweet, considering the Yellowjackets’ only dual meet loss this season came at the hands of the Red Hawks. Yellowjacket Bruce Maki was named Male Swimmer of the Year after winning three individual events and placing second in a fourth.
Maki, a sophomore, was first to the wall in the 1650-yard and 500-yard freestyle races. He has yet to lose a distance race this season, taking first in all eleven he has entered. Also scoring points for UR in the 500 were senior Zach Freed (fourth), freshman Timothy Anderson (ninth), freshman Matt Kaule (10th) and junior Joe Subjeck (12th). Freed continued his strong performance with a fifth place finish in the 1650, followed by Anderson in ninth, Subjeck in 10th and senior Chase Hannon in 13th.
Maki also won the 400 individual medley, a race in which eight UR swimmers scored points. Freed came to the wall third, with freshman Danny Friel eighth, freshman Garrett Lam 10th, Subjeck 11th, junior Dev Master 12th, Kaule 13th and sophomore Eric Fischer 15th.
In the 200-yard butterfly, Maki took second, Freed nabbed seventh and Friel was right behind in eighth.
Lam, freshman Dave Madar and sophomore Ryan White went 2-3-4 in the 100-yard backstroke, with freshman Patrick Messmer placing eighth and senior Anthony Furstoss taking 12th.
The team was just as solid in the 200 back, as Madar, White and Lam placed third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Kaule took eight and Messmer finished 13th.
The Yellowjackets picked up significant points in all the freestyle races, thanks in large part to sophomore Michael Hoffman. He placed third in both the 50 and 100 free, with junior Jonathan Dennison and White right behind (fifth and sixth) in the 50. In the 200 free, White grabbed second place and Furstoss took eighth.
In the 200 IM, five UR swimmers scored points. Dennison led the way in third, followed by Lam, Madar and Friel (6-7-8) and Master in 10th. The feat was repeated in the 200 breaststroke, with Dennison once again placing third. Hoffman was fourth, followed by Subjeck (9th), Master (10th) and Jensen (15th).
UR also placed well in each of the relays. The 400 free and 400 medley relays each placed second, while the 200 free and 200 medley teams took third. Relays are worth double points at the league meet, so these strong performances were important.In the diving events, held at Monroe Community College, sophomore David Mistche placed sixth on the one-meter board and eighth on the three-meter board.
For the meet, the RPI men raked in more than twice as many first-place finishes as the ‘Jackets, but UR had at least five swimmers place in the top 16 in eight of the 13 individual events. “The difference in the meet was our depth,” head coach Pete Thompson said. “Just about all of our men were point scorers in the meet.”
While the accolades were heaped on the men, it did not diminish the accomplishments for the women’s team. While Union College ran away with the meet, the ‘Jackets were a solid second, finishing 120.5 points ahead of the third place team.
Kari Joyce ruled the pool for the Yellowjackets, finishing the event with three wins in individual events along with two relay wins.
Joyce swam the leadoff leg of the record-setting 200 free relay, which also included Nora Hoefer, Jill Endres and Karen Gromer. The relay team broke a seven-year-old Liberty League record by finishing in 1:41.36.
She also tied a league record in the 200 free, clocking in at 1:58.54. Also scoring in the race were Gruen (fifth), Hoefer (eighth) and freshman Libby Cavagnaro (13th).
Joyce’s other individual wins came in the 100 free and the 500 free. She also teamed with Hoefer, Gromer and Gruen to win the 400 free relay.
Joyce wasn’t the only Yellowjacket to find success in the 500 free. UR swept the podium, with Gruen in second and Gromer third. Also scoring for UR were Denise Moseman (ninth) and Cavagnaro (14th). In the 100 free, Hoefer finished 10th while Endres took 16th.
UR garnered a third league record on the weekend, thanks to Gruen. In the 1650 free, she left the field in her wake and beat a decade-old record by almost two seconds, finishing in 18:10.81. Megan Miller placed fifth in the event, with Sonja Brun ninth, Cavagnaro 10th and Sara Tomaski 14th.
The 400 IM produced six point scorers for the ‘Jackets. Gromer and Gruen paced the group, finishing fourth and sixth, respectively. Moseman placed seventh with Tomaski 10th, Miller 12th and Kelly Fischer 15th.
In the 200 back, Joyce placed second with Mary Carol Karl ninth and Hoefer 10th. Gromer placed third in the 200 fly and Miller was 16th.
Sophomore Nancy Tremblay and senior Shannon Kahabka led a strong group of divers for UR. Tremblay placed second on the three-meter board, while Kahabka placed fifth. Senior Kara Nash took sixth and sophomore Cheryl Blechman finished 11th.
On the one meter board, Tremblay and Kahabka went 4-5, with Nash in seventh and Blechman 11th.
The Yellowjackets stay home this weekend to host Rochester Institute of Technology. The meet is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
Moeller is a member of the class of 2009.