Army-Navy Swim-Dive Meet Slated for Thursday at USNA
ANNAPOLIS, Md. ---- The annual Army-Navy swimming and diving meet will be contested Thursday evening at Lejeune Hall in Annapolis. The Star Meet, part of the Star Series presented by USAA, will begin at 5 p.m. Both Navy teams enter the meet with identical records this season of 7-0, Army's men's team has compiled a 2-1 record in dual meets this year and the school's women's squad has split the two dual meets it has competed in.
NavySports.com will have links to free live results and a free live video stream of the meet via the Patriot League Network. Olympic Gold Medalist and NBC Sports announcer Rowdy Gaines will serve as the analyst on the stream, with Navy's Pete Medhurst calling the play-by-play. The video stream will begin at 4:50 p.m.
Admission is free to the meet. Nearly all seating in the 1,000-seat facility is available on a first-come, first serve basis.
Parking on The Yard is limited to those vehicles driven by someone with a Department of Defense identification card. All others must either park outside of the USNA and walk through the gate one visitors center or park at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (blue / west side, by the Blue Angel jet) and ride the free shuttle bus (3:30-8:30 p.m.). A government issued ID card (drivers license) must be displayed by everyone age 18 and over before they will be allowed through the gates whether they are walking or taking the shuttle bus. Those age 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
Navy's women's team has defeated its counterpart in each of the last 28 years. This streak includes a 194-106 victory last year at West Point.
"Being the most exciting rivalry in the country," said Navy women's swimming head coach John Morrison, "it is very difficult to not be excited about this competition. Rowdy Gaines will be calling the meet, Lejeune Hall will have over 1,000 spectators yelling and screaming, the environment will be electric and world class. We will look to our very talented and cohesive senior leadership to take charge and set the tone for the meet. With losing several event winners from our 2016 meet, there is no doubt we will need several to step out of the shadow and lay it all on the line to challenge a very fast Army West Point team, which also has some the top divers in the league. Regardless, it will be an awesome meet and our team is looking forward to an exciting competition."
The Mids posted 12 event wins a year ago to extend the longest winning streak by any sport in the Army-Navy series. Headlining the returners for Navy is Lauren Barber (Jr., New Wilmington, Pa.), who won the 200 individual medley and both breaststroke events last season. Also back for the Mids are Casey Lawson (Jr., Spring Lake Heights, N.J.), the winner of the 200 free, and Delaney Walz (So., Mays Landing, N.J.), who won the 200 fly. Navy also won both relay races during the 2016 meet.
Returning for Army are event winners Serica Hallstead (both diving boards) and Jo Marsh (200 backstroke).
Navy would go on to win the 2017 Patriot League title, with Army placing second at the championship.
Navy's men's team has won the annual Star Meet in each of the last 26 seasons, but last year's contest was not decided until the final event of the meet. In the end, the Mids won the 400 freestyle relay to record a narrow 156.5-143.5 win, which was the closest in the series since Navy won by seven points during the 1993-94 season.
"This is a very special event which we never take for granted," said Navy men's swimming head coach Bill Roberts. "This team is prepared and ready to compete on Thursday evening."
Army won eight events during last year's meet, Navy won seven and the teams shared one first-place finish. The Black Knights return all but one of their six swimmers who won an individual event last season, including double event winners Tom Ottman (500 free, 1000 free), Josh Sembrano (100 back, 200 back) and Evin Rude (shared 100 free, 200 free). Conversely, the Mids return event winners Bradley Buchter (So., Hickory, N.C.), the winner of both diving boards; Connor Davis (Sr., Shelton, Conn.), who won the 50 free; and Zach Piedt (Jr., Fort Mill, S.C.), who shared the victory in the 100 free. Two of Navy's additional four wins during the 2016 meet came in the relay events, with 2017 graduate Marlin Brutkiewicz winning both breaststroke events.
Last year's close Star Meet carried over into the Patriot League Championship as the Mids edged the Black Knights for the title by just 60 points.
The Navy teams will be wearing special caps during the meet. One side will have the N Star logo and the other will say Swim to Honor. The latter is in conjunction with the Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation's Honor Our Fallen Heroes Program, which recognizes the families of USNA alumni who lost their lives in action.