College Swimming and Diving
Men: Rider University 202, Loyola University Maryland 96
Women: Rider University 195, Loyola University Maryland 99
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Meet
Men's 400 Medley Relay Coppola Pool Record
LAWRENCEVILLE--When facing adversity, the most important thing is to have a place to come home to and literally a roof over your head.
With the Coppola Pool roof repaired from Hurricane Sandy, the Rider University men's and women's swimming and diving teams returned to friendly pool (and not rain) water in the Maurer Center and used that as inspiration to properly honor 13 graduating seniors with a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference win Saturday afternoon over Loyola University.
"We are very excited to be back home and training," said head coach Steve Fletcher. "We are grateful to the Rider University Facilities Management team and the coordination of the Rider Department of Athletics to get us back into the pool at the speed that it was accomplished. The Northeast, during winter, is a tough place to have a partially outdoor facility."
The men's 400 medley relay of seniors Johnny Funk (Las Vegas, Nev./Southeast Career & Tech. Academy), Julien Hensen (Delafield, Wis./Kettle Moraine), sophomore Shane Tubb (Swedesboro/St. Augustine Prep) and senior Brian Molloy (Toms River/Toms River HS East) won with a time of 3:28.32, besting the Coppola Pool mark of 3:29.43 from November 5, 2005. The record was held by Josh Rosenbluth, Brandon Modrov, Daniel Burgess and Stuart Barr.
"We've been chasing the record for a while," said Hensen. "We don't swim that event often at home and today was a great chance to get it."
"The guys had their eye on that record," Fletcher said. "When it is the last opportunity to do something, those thoughts of setting a record get tossed around. Everyone got fired up when the record was broken."
Funk won three individual events, the 100 back (53.68), 200 back (1:58.55) and 200 IM (1:54.79) with Molloy winning two events, the 200 free (1:43.76) and 500 free (4:47.23). Hensen was also a double-winner, in the 100 breast with a time of 58.98 and 200 breast (2:15.68) with sophomore Brett Pedersen (Sewell/St. Augustine Prep) winning the 50 free (22.04) and 100 free (47.74). Tubb also won the 200 fly (1:58.26) for the Broncs.
"Today was an emotional day," Funk said about swimming at home for the final time in competition. "The fact that this class started out and finished with all 13 members says a lot about the program. It feels great to finish the experience with everyone we started with."
"One of the keys to our success the last few years had been that this class has stayed together," Fletcher said. "They are loyal to the program and their development as athletes and leaders has certainly helped out their teammates. That reverberation has been felt throughout the program."
Junior Trevor Hiller (Galloway Twp./Absegami) won both the one-meter dive (278.10) and the three-meter dive (326.02).
For the Rider women, freshman Taylor Shelley (Wilmington, Del./Padua Academy) gave fans a glance at what the future will be, winning the 100 breast (1:09.21), 200 breast (2:30.23) and 200 IM (2:18.11). Sophomore Carlee Oswald (Henderson, Nev./Green Valley) won the 100 back (1:00.70) and 200 back (2:11.27) and senior Kelly O'Connor (Beverly, Mass./Beverly) won the 100 fly (59.64) and 200 fly (2:09.66).
"Senior day was exciting," said O'Connor. "The whole class is close so it was a fun meet and a good performance to end the home season with."
Also for the Rider women, senior Addie Oswald (Henderson, Nev./Green Valley) won the 500 free (5:17.38), junior Melanie Leonhard (Piscataway) won the 1000 free (10:59.39) and freshman Emma Billerbeck (Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale) won the three-meter dive (222.07).
"Today was bittersweet," A. Oswald said. "We've obviously enjoyed every meet that we've had here and it was an exciting finish to our careers. It was a good meet and everyone competed well. The attitude was great and everyone was hyped up."
Also for the Rider men, sophomore Zach DeLillo (Reading, Pa./Wilson) won the 100 fly (51.54).
The women's 400 medley relay of A. Oswald, sophomore Heather Good (Hillsborough), Ke. O'Connor and senior Carly Misiewicz (Vineland/Sacred Heart) won with a time of 4:03.34 with the 200 free relay of sophomore Gess Charniga (Kendall Park/South Brunswick), senior Katlyn Andrews (Lawrenceville/Notre Dame), Misiewicz and A. Oswald winning with a time of 1:39.68, missing a Coppola Pool record by 58/100th of a second.
"This was a tough meet health wise," said Fletcher. "We've had a number of athletes who are under the weather (including one who went to the emergency room this morning) but our training leading up to the meet was excellent and that's what pushed everyone through and helped make the team successful. But make no mistake, the team was swimming sick today. With the last minute lineup changes, the team handled the adversity with maturity with everyone sacrificing personal goals for the team. The more flexibility we have now, the deeper we will be for MAACs."
Prior to the meet, Rider honored its graduating seniors, Stephanie Anderer (Nesconset, N.Y./Smithtown HS East), Andrews, Daniel Brady (Turnersville/Gloucester Catholic), Funk, Kyle Grosman (Green Pond/Morris Knolls), Hensen, Kevin Mahana (Toms River/Toms River HS East), Misiewicz, Matt Mitchell (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North), Molloy, Ke. O'Connor, A. Oswald and Jimmy Sileo (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh).
"Today was a great day to honor the seniors," said Fletcher. "In my mind, I wait and put off the thoughts that their careers are winding down because we still have a lot of competition remaining. They are a great and super competitive group and it will be difficult to see them leave. They have been very committed to Rider University and the swimming and diving program."
Rider swims a MAAC meet at Saint Peter's January 19.
"The fact that we won by so much is great for the team at the end of the season," said Molloy. "I feel the meet wrapped up well and today was a great way to end the home season."
"Our goal the next few weeks is to work on starts, turns and the little details that will make a difference at the conference championships in mid-February," Fletcher said. "We can use this time, during the break between semesters, to really focus just on swimming and diving."