College Swimming and Diving
Men: Maryland Baltimore County 158, Rider University 133
Women: Maryland Baltimore County 162, Rider University 132
LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – The Rider University men’s and women’s swimming and diving team opened up the 2013-14 season with a dual meet against the University of Maryland Baltimore County. The men’s side lost the meet 158-133 while the women were defeated 162-132 at Coppola Pool in the MaurerCenter.
“We expect great racing from UMBC every year,” head coach Steve Fletcher said. “They’re perennial conference champions, wherever their home happens to be this year. They’re a talented program, very well coached historically with great athletes. We’re trying to set up the relationships where our athletes have the best competition each week. Our team held on pretty well, we had some athletes win their events and some close races, so I am really proud of how the team did.”
For the Rider women, freshman diver Heather Lonkert (Moon Township, Pa./Moon Area) won two events for the Broncs, finishing first in the one meter dive (255.82) and the three meter dive (237.97).
“For their first meet of the year, they did very well,” diving coach Eric Blevins said. “Trevor has been struggling a little bit but him and Wacko are very good together. UMBC is a tough team so it is good that they could power out a win today with that. Heather has had an unfortunate ear infection, so today is pretty much her first day back in the water and she did great.”
“It was a lot of fun, it was nerve wracking because it was my first collegiate meet, but the team was really supportive and I knew that if I did what I had been practicing that I’d be good,” Lonkert said about her first collegiate meet.
For the men, freshman Sam Cramer (Escondido, Calif./San Pasqual) won the 1,000 yard freestyle with a time of 9:37.97. Cramer also finished second in the 500 yard freestyle in a time of 4:41.71.
Sophomore Evan Paules (Emmaus, Pa./Emmaus) won the 200 yard IM with a time of 2:00.91.
“It was a test of our freshmen class today and their ability to assimilate into how we compete,” Fletcher said about his team’s performance in the pool. “I think the upperclassmen did a nice job today supporting that and we had good energy the whole today. We also had some impressive racing for our first time out.”
On the boards, sophomore Wayco Bailey (Casper, Wyo./Natrona County) won the three meter dive (293.62) while senior Trevor Hiller (Galloway Twp./Absegami) won the one meter dive with a score of 292.80.
“We’re really willing to go the extra mile, swim hard and dive better,” Bailey said. “That’s the good thing about going against tough competition. They push you harder because you want to make a statement.”
Also for the Bronc women, freshman Ariana Palmer (Burlington/Burlington Township) finished first in the 50 yard free with a time of 25.04. Sophomore Taylor Shelley (Wilmington, Del./Padua Academy) also won the 200 yard IM with a time of 2:17.79.
Both the men’s and women’s 400 relay teams found success in the water against UMBC.
For the women, the team of junior Carlee Oswald (Henderson, Nev./Green Valley), junior Gess Charniga (Kendall Park/South Brunswick), freshman Jacquelynn Parker (Hillsborough) and Palmer finished with a time of 3:41.36.
On the men’s side, the team of freshman William Molloy (Toms River/Toms River HS North), freshman Michael Regan (Flower Mound, Texas/Flower Mound), sophomore Adam Phillips (Springville, Pa./Elk Lake) and Cramer won with a time of 3:16.88.
The Broncs traveled to UMBC last year, losing the meet 171-114 for the men and 167-117 for the women.
“It is definitely a process and I am not sure we are prepared to predict which will occur because it is such a process,” Fletcher said about the progress of the team. “So much of it goes on outside of our control as coaches. It depends how the team responds to its own goals outside and inside the pool. It is coming along and the dynamic of the upperclassmen and the freshmen is good because everyone wants the same thing.”
“With these freshmen that we have, especially on the men’s side, they’re all uniquely fast and great swimmers and divers,” Bailey said about how he thinks the men’s and women’s programs will do this year. “I feel very confident in our ability to go to the MAACs and win again.”
Rider travels to East Orange to take on the Seton Hall Pirates October 17.