Swimming and Diving Teams to Open Season Friday
ANNAPOLIS, Md. –– The Navy swimming and diving teams will open their respective seasons Friday when the Mids play host to East Carolina at 4 p.m. in Lejeune Hall.
Navy’s women’s team returns 10 all-league athletes and 30 letterwinners from last year’s team that tallied a 9-2 record during the regular season and won the program’s sixth Patriot League Championship in a row. Returning for the Navy men’s team from last year’s roster that posted a 9-3 record and won its 14th-straight Patriot League crown are 11 all-league honorees and 29 letterwinners.
East Carolina’s women’s team compiled a 9-3 record during the 2016-17 regular season before posting a fourth-place finish at the American Athletic Conference Championship. On the men’s side, the Pirates notched a 7-3 record during the regular season and went on to win the program’s third-straight AAC title.
The Mids swept the Pirates during last year’s meet held in Greenville, N.C., which was contested days after flooding from Hurricane Matthew inundated the area. Navy’s women’s team posted a 185-111 victory that day and the Navy men’s squad won its meet by the score of 170-128.
“Following five weeks of solid training,” said 14th year Navy head coach John Morrison, “we are excited to get up and compete this weekend. ECU will be a strong challenge for our team. We were able to sneak a victory over them last year. In his first year as head coach after being associated with the program for many years as an assistant, Matt Jabs will have his team ready to go. We lost several key contributors due to graduation last year. We will need our returning letter winners to step up to big roles and our very deep freshman class to come out strong in their first dual meet to compete with the Pirates this year.”
“We are certainly excited and enthusiastic to begin the 2017-18 season,” said Bill Roberts, who is entering his 15th season as Navy’s men’s head coach. “Our first meet is a terrific opportunity to race against a program that has won its conference title three years running. We fully expect a competitive meet from beginning to end.”
Navy’s women’s team returns a trio of swimmers who combined to win five events against the Pirates a year ago. Back for the Mids are Lauren Barber (Jr., New Wilmington, Pa.), who won the 200 free, 200 breast and 200 IM events; Aly Warnimont (Jr., Winston-Salem, N.C.), the winner of the 100 back race; and Delaney Walz (So., Mays Landing, N.J.), who touched the wall first in the 100 fly. East Carolina returns diver Alicia Roueche, who won both boards against the Mids, and Julie Lajoie, who won the 200 fly and 200 back races.
Returning event winners from last year’s dual for the Navy men’s team includes Joseph Jaime (Sr., San Antonio, Texas), who won the 100 and 200 freestyle events; James Wilson (So., Ephrata, Pa.), who earned the win in the 100 backstroke; Nick Pfanstiel (Jr., Fishers, Ind.), the winner of the 200 butterfly event; and Bradley Buchter (So., Hickory, N.C.), who swept both diving events. Back for East Carolina are Grega Poppvic, winner of the 500 and 1000 free events against the Mids, and Tristan Taylor, who won the 200 IM a year ago.
Navy’s men’s team totaled 11 event victories against East Carolina and the Navy women’s team totaled 10 event wins. Included in that tally were a pair of relay event wins for both Navy programs.
The Navy teams return a combined three major individual award winners in the Patriot League from a year ago. Barber was the 2017 women’s swimmer in the league, Walz was tabbed as the women’s rookie of the meet and Buchter garnered the men’s diver-of-the-year accolade.
Additionally, Barber, Walz, Casey Lawson (Jr., Spring Lake Heights, N.J.) and Kaitlyn O’Reilly (Sr., Farmington, Minn.) earned 2017 first-team all-league honors for the women, as did Buchter, Jaime and Vince Everman (Jr., Philadelphia, Pa.) on the men’s side. Also back for the Navy women are six second-team all-league performers, with the Navy men bringing back eight second-team all-league honorees.