Navy Sweeps League Swimming & Diving Titles
Feb. 18, 2018
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Another successful day allowed the Navy swimming and diving teams to close the Patriot League Championship in impressive fashion and sweep the team crowns once again. The Navy women's team totaled 904.5 points to win the championship by nearly 350 points and the Navy men's team tallied 990.5 points to win the title by over 200 points.
The Navy women's team has now won each of the last seven league titles as well as 17 in the program's 27 seasons in the league. The 17 titles ties the Mids for the most by any program in any league sport. The Navy men's team won its 15th championship in its 15 years of competing at the meet. That leaves the Mids one win shy of tying the league record for the most consecutive titles won by a team in any sport.
Additionally, the 904 points posted by the women are the second most tallied by a women's team since the league went to 10 teams in the 2013-14 season (958.5, Navy, 2016), and the 990.5 points are the most by a men's team since the expansion to 10 teams (previous high was Navy's 2016 total of 951.5).
"It was a real hard-fought championship," said Navy women's swimming head coach John Morrison. "We had a real good season of training for this, and it all came together this weekend. Seven in a row means a lot; there is no doubt about it. We talk about consistency in training and being consistently good in everything and that is what this team accomplished."
"We say this every year," said Navy men's swimming head coach Bill Roberts. "We try to treat each one as its own entity, and this was a real special meet. Right from the beginning to the very last relay, these guys operated as one cohesive unit. We talk about that a lot, competing as a pack. That to me, how they performed in that regard, is what I will always remember about the 2018 championship meet."
"The weekend was great," said Navy women's team captain Biz Graeff (Sr., Canton, Ohio). "We tried to keep the energy up as much as we could. I was really proud of how everyone did. They fought hard and raced to the wall. Most everyone improved their places and their times. I couldn't be more proud of the team."
"It was awesome seeing so many events in the championship finals being filled by Navy swimmers," said Navy men's team captain William Rittenhouse (Sr., London, England). "That shows the depth we have. We are looking forward to seeing the success of this program in future years as so many of the wins and top-three finishes were from plebes (freshmen) and youngsters (sophomores)."
Along with the team trophies, the Navy programs also saw several of its individuals earn major awards. Bradley Buchter (So., Hickory, N.C.) was named the men's diver of the year (second year in a row), Lauren Barber (Jr., New Wilmington, Pa.) was selected the women's swimmer of the year (second year in a row), Billy Cadigan (Fr., Lutherville, Md.) was named the men's rookie of the year, Roberts was tabbed as the men's swimming coach of the year (ninth award) and Rich MacDonald was selected as the diving coach of the year (fifth award).
Barber has now competed in 21 events over her three years at the Patriot League Championship, and she has won all 21 of those events. Her 21 gold medals breaks the league record for career wins at the meet by a male or female swimmer. Navy's Laura Gorinski totaled 20 event wins during her four-year career that ended in 2013.
"My freshman year I was just a little plebe," said Barber. "I had never really had a team before, so that was all new to me. I had so many nerves coming into the meet that year. I didn't want to let my teammates down, I didn't want to let myself down, and I got really anxious before all of my races. Last year I was really happy with how the team did and happy I was able to earn the points I did, but personally I was looking for faster times. This year, I just worked past the nerves, got more excited for my teammates and fed off them. I think that helped me a lot.
"I have been on four relays every year. More than half (12) of those are relay titles. It is not so much about the overall wins as it is just putting up the best times I can for my team. It is an honor to be able to swim on those relays with all of the teammates I have swam with. It is pretty cool to have the most titles, I guess, but I didn't really look at that coming into the meet. I just wanted to swim well for myself and my team."
The evening began with the 1650 freestyle timed finals. Navy's women's team saw a trio of its swimmers place among the top-eight in the event, with Erin Jordan (Jr., Schnecksville, Pa.) placing second in a time of 16:31.09. Joining her toward the top of the finishers were Erin Scudder (So., Western Springs, Ill.) in fifth place (16:50.58) and Jenny Smith (Sr., Columbus, Ohio) in seventh (16:55.73).
A great race followed in the men's 1650 free. Navy's Luke Johnson (Fr., Charlotte, N.C.) trailed Army's Tom Ottman at every 50-yard time check, including by as much as two seconds with 100 yards remaining. He shaved the deficit down to a little more than one-half of a second with 50 yards to go, then bettered Ottman by over two seconds on the last lap to win with a time of 15:05.59 to Ottman's effort of 15:07.22. Also having a good race was Ryan Waters (Fr., Basking Ridge, N.J.), who placed third for the Mids (15:08.93).
Saturday morning began with Navy's Jamie Miller (So., Rochester Hills, Mich.) setting a Navy (1:56.78) and meet record (1:56.22) in the 200 backstroke with her time of 1:55.30. That was the fastest effort in the trial heats by nearly four seconds. She made her top seed hold up as she won the championship final in a time of 1:56.79. She had company in the final with teammates Ashley Boddiford (Fr., Oviedo, Fla.) placing fourth (1:58.98) and Emily Ranzau (Sr., Johns Creek, Ga.) placing sixth (1:59.95).
Navy swimmers would place second and third in the men's 200 back. Dominick Wallace (Fr., la Jolla, Calif.) posted a time of 1:45.27 to take the silver medal and Cadigan took the bronze with his effort of 1:45.73.
The Mids also scored a pair of placings in the final of the women's 100 freestyle. Casey Lawson (Jr., Spring Lake Heights, N.J) placed second (50.24) by just two-tenths of a second and Ally Warnimont (Jr., Winston-Salem, N.C.) placed fifth (50.44).
Half of the eight-person field in the men's 100 freestyle were Mids. Zach Piedt (Jr., Fort Mill, S.C.) was the top-placing Mid with his second-place effort (44.23), Joseph Jaime (Sr., San Antonio, Texas) was one spot back (44.40), Vince Everman (Jr., Philadelphia, Pa.) claimed sixth place (44.79) and Ethan Whitaker took eighth (45.04).
The final of the women's 200 breaststroke had a similar feel to it as three Mids advanced to the final. Leading the way was Barber, who won the event for the third year in a row with her time of 2:12.28. Placing second (2:13.98) was Kaitlyn O'Reilly (Sr., Farmington, Minn.) and Elyse MacIsaac (So., Stafford, Va.) finished in sixth place (2:17.25).
Another four Mids reached the final of the men's 200 breast, with that foursome placing second, third, fourth and sixth, respectively. In order, Navy's quartet was comprised of Brayden Lauffer (Jr., Apex, N.C.), 1:57.66; Chris Bondarowicz (Fr., Scotch Plains, N.J.), 1:59.27; Michael Velazquez (Jr., Henderson, Nev.), 2:00.21; and Johnson, 2:00.28.
Delaney Walz (So., Mays Landing, N.J.) captured the crown in the final women's individual swimming event of the night, the 200 fly. She posted a time of 1:59.09 to win the event for the second year in a row. Finishing in third place (2:00.32) in the final was Lauren Greenberg (Jr., Waxhaw, N.C.).
The final of the men's 200 fly saw Nick Lara (So., Boulder City, Nev.) place third (1:46.88) and Rittenhouse finish in seventh place (1:49.19).
The last diving event of the four-day meet was the women's three-meter board. Navy's Meghan Gerdes (Fr., Spring, Texas) totaled 296.45 points to win the title by 16.05 points.
"Can't tell you how impressed I was with Meghan," said MacDonald. "She was real consistent all week. We knew it was a goal for her to win at this meet and the three meter was her event. For her to step up and drill every single dive and keep everyone else at bay was exciting. And with being only a plebe, her future is really bright and we are excited about it."
Two great 400 freestyle relay races closed the championship for the Mids. In the women's race, Navy trailed Lehigh by nearly a body length at the midway point of the race. Barber was Navy's third swimmer in the water and she whittled down the deficit to eight-tenths of a second when she exited the water. Anchoring the event for the Mids was Lawson and she took a slight lead after the final turn for home and hung on to give Navy the title by 14-hundredths of a second.
In the men's edition of the race, Navy's team of Jamie, Everman, Piedt and Connor Davis (Sr., Shelton, Conn.) not only won the race by almost 1.6 seconds, they also broke the Navy, meet, league and pool record (2:54.92) with their time of 2:54.68.
Women's Swim Coach of the Year: Rob Herb, Lehigh
Men's Swim Coach of the Year: Bill Roberts, Navy
Diving Coach of the Year: Rich MacDonald, Navy
Female Diver of the Meet: Megan Fennell, Lehigh
Male Diver of the Meet: Bradley Buchter, Navy
Female Rookie of the Meet: Maggie Wyngowski, Bucknell
Male Rookie of the Meet: Billy Cadigan, Navy
Female Swimmer of the Meet: Lauren Barber, Navy
Male Swimmer of the Meet: Ben Cono, Loyola Maryland
Holy Cross: 107
Holy Cross: 108