The Binghamton swimming and diving teams both finished second in their first invitational of the season against difficult competition. Over the course of the three-day Harold Anderson Invitational, both teams overcame constant fatigue to deliver a promising performance going into the heart of the winter season.
“I think it’s more important how we swim and getting through being tired, not necessarily well rested, but still getting up and having a lot of season-best times and great values,” said Binghamton head coach Jerry Cummiskey. “That’s really your main focus right now … Every team is in a different phase of their season, some rest more than others. We’ve been pretty competitive with where we’re at right now.”
The women’s team’s strongest performance on the first day came from junior Kaitlyn Smolar, who finished second in the 500 free, clocking in at 5:00.44. She battled with UVM freshman Mina Poppas the whole way, but Poppas just out-touched her, taking first with a time of 5:00.12. Although no other Binghamton women finished top three on the first day, the team’s depth made up enough points to land them a second-place position going into Saturday.
The men’s races also proved competitive, as Providence put forth a strong performance against the other competing teams. The Friars started by taking the 200 free relay despite a strong showing from the BU team that placed second (1:26.72). The Bearcats continued to put up top-three results. Freshman Matthew Palguta took third in the 500 free with a time of 4:41.29, senior Ross Bernstein placed second in the 200 individual medley (1:55.22) and the 400 medley relay team placed second. The divers also swept the competition in the three-meter diving event, with sophomore Chris Egan leading the sweep and scoring 268.15. Freshman Ryan Cohn and junior Erik Temple took second and third with scores of 260.05 and 250.85, respectively.
Returning Saturday, the Bearcats continued to perform consistently. The women’s team began the day with a third-place finish in the 200 medley relay. Shortly after, freshman Manuela Matkovic placed third in the 100 fly with a time of 57.60. Additionally, Smolar finished third in the 200 free (1:52.89), while freshman Audrey Pesek placed second in the 100 backstroke (56.48) and junior Sophia Howard took the second spot in the three-meter diving event with a score of 243.50 to keep the Bearcats in second place overall with 448.5 points.
As with the women’s team, the men’s side came back strong, opening the day with a first-place finish in the 200 medley relay, clocking in at 1:35.15. In the 400 individual medley, freshman Jackson Homan took second with a time of 4:08.52. Palguta returned Saturday to continue his run of good form to finish second in the 200 free (1:46.20), followed by a first-place performance from sophomore Ryan Board in the 100 breaststroke (57.88). Finally, junior Shane Morris finished second in the 100 backstroke (52.37). The day was capped off by another sweeping performance by Egan in the one-meter diving event to help the Bearcats finish with 676 points, only 17 points behind Providence.
The final day of the meet was decisive for the Bearcats. Pesek had the first big performance of the day with a third-place finish in the 200 backstroke (2:06.71), followed by senior Olivia Santos, who took second in the 100 freestyle (52.81). To end the meet on the women’s side, Smolar took gold in the 1,650 freestyle with a time of 17:32.70, sealing the Bearcat’s second-place finish with a total score of 613.5.
On the men’s side, freshman Justin Meyn placed second in the 100 freestyle (47.58), Board grabbed first in the 200 breaststroke (2:08.35), Bernstein took second in the 200 fly (1:52.74), freshman Zach Ciriaco clocked in at 16:34.42 in the 1,650 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay team delivered a second-place result (3:08.37). Despite finishing with a score of 925.5 points overall, the men’s team couldn’t edge out Providence, who claimed first place with 980.5 points.
“This meet kind of simulates our championship format, so it’s really our ‘dress rehearsal’ for championships in February,” Cummiskey said. “Our expectation is we swim well this weekend and come February when we rest and fully taper for championships, we feel even better and it makes everything that much easier.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 4 p.m., the Binghamton swimming and diving teams will take on Cornell University in a dual meet in Ithaca, New York.