In the final dual meet of the regular season, the Binghamton University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams packed up and headed down to compete with America East rival Stony Brook University this past Saturday. The men’s had a successful meet, with an impressive 163-124 win. Though faced with the looming prospect of Stony Brook’s senior day motivating the opposition, the women’s side managed to stick with the Seawolves to notch Binghamton’s first-ever Division I tie, with a score of 150-150.
“You know when you score that many points, it’s rare that you would come up on an even keel,” said BU head coach Sean Clark. “Everybody’s points mattered and anything could have gone differently on either side, but even against a strong opponent, and on their special day, they didn’t beat us.”
With the win, the Binghamton men secured a final regular season record of 5-4, while the women had their second-consecutive winning season with a final record of 6-3-1.
On the men’s side, a strong opening win in the 200-medley relay (1:36.85) set the tone for the rest of their day. However, ahead of the men’s push was junior Nolan Slesnick (dubbed America East Male Swimmer of the Week on Jan. 19) who had three individual wins, including the 1000 free (9:55.57), 500 free (4:46.70) and 200 IM (1:58.82). Senior Jason Chen tacked on two individual wins with a pool record in the 200 back (1:52.47) and a personal best in the 100 fly (51.12).
“Jason has been on fire all year long, determined to lead this team,” Clark said. “It’s been a thrill [to watch him] through this whole dual meet season.”
The Bearcats also saw strong performances from a duo of sophomores. Josh Saccurato registered a win in the 200 breast (2:15.97) while Mark Cereste earned his first-ever collegiate victory in the 100 back (56.22).
Seen on the boards for the men was an impressive performance by sophomore Anthony Foiles, as he walked away with victories in both the one- and three-meter diving events, earning important points toward his team’s victory.
Turning to the women’s side, spectators enjoyed a fervent competition up to the very last event. Sophomore Tiffany Siu put in yet another dazzling performance with three individual wins in 1000 free (10:28.63), 200 fly (2:07.93) and the 500 free (5:05.98).
“We needed it and she responded with all the toughness she could muster,” Clark said.
Senior Amanda Ciccone put forth her best efforts as she came away with yet another two-win day, taking both the 50 (24.75) and 100 free (53.31).
The Bearcat women divers contributed their points in yet another solid performance, as the trio of junior Jenna Easton, senior Liz Esposito and junior Morgan Neal pulled a 1-2-3 sweep on the meter dive. Easton also notched a victory in the three-meter dive (214.80).
“We rely on our divers to score a lot of points for us, and the finish on the meter and three-meter dives were definitely key in us not losing [on Saturday],” Clark said.
However, it was senior Brittany Detlef who caught Clark’s eye by the end of the meet, as she came away with an all-important win in the 100 fly (1:00.14) right before the final and meet-tying event, the 400-medley relay.
“There were four swimmers who finished within about seven-tenths of a second, and Brittany just came through with another enormous swim,” Clark said. “After that, I knew that we would be okay at least for a chance to tie because I knew our 400 relay team would just be ready to go, as they’ve been on top of their game all year long.”
As predicted, the last event on the day for the women was a steadfast Bearcat win, as the foursome 400 free relay team of junior Margaret Rakoczy, Siu and sophomores Caitlin Nelson and Olivia Baczek forced the unprecedented tie with a time of 3:37.73.
A very happy and content Clark reflected on his team’s season.
“I think we did an awful lot of good preparation for our main event, which is the Championship pavement,” he said. “Every race, every practice is like putting bricks in place for climbing the final wall and getting it done for an ultimate opportunity at the end of February [in the America East Championships]. It’s going to be a great matchup this year.”
With the regular season over, the BU swimming and diving teams will next be seen in the America East Championships, Feb. 17-20 on the campus of UMBC in Baltimore, M.D.