With snowstorms pounding through the Northeast and the rest of the country at record high snow totals, the last thing on most people’s minds was getting in a pool. This was not the case, though, for the Binghamton University swimming and diving teams.
After spending time training in Florida, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving squads headed north to Binghamton to host Niagara of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Niagara’s men’s team featured Ian O’Rourke, the senior standout who holds the record for all four of the program’s diving events. O’Rourke was able to cause considerable damage, sweeping all of the diving events. However, the Bearcats made quite the showing with notable accomplishments of their own.
The men were successful on their end with a 125-107 victory and the women notched the win with a 140-94 victory.
Binghamton head coach Sean Clark noted that his team was “a little rusty for the first dual meet of the second semester.”
He credited the victories to “some real team strength” and, according to him, “it’s always fun to perform well in front of the home crowd.”
Clark recognized some outstanding performances in freshman John Pangal, who snagged his first collegiate victory in the 1000 free, and sophomore Josh Saccurato, who had a solid performance winning the 200 backstroke and 200 breast stroke. In addition, Anthony Foiles and Justin Mattison had their best performances of the season.
For the women, Karissa Gorman had dual victories in the 1000 free and 200 breast stroke. Jordyn Kline won her event in the 200 backstroke and Brittany Detlef had a victory in the 50 free.
The then 4-1 women’s team and 3-2 men’s team headed to the University of Buffalo to face, as Clark described, “some very tough competition” in the Bulls.
The Bulls came in battle-tested, having hailed from a tough Mid Atlantic Conference. Their men entered competition posting a 4-0 record and their entered women came in sporting a 2-2 record.
The meet ended in defeat for the Bearcats with a 145-87 loss for the men and a 138-96 loss for the women.
According to Clark, “the Bulls pushed us around a bit, but I was very pleased with our individual competitiveness … our athletes can turn it loose under any circumstance and they enjoy every opportunity to compete.”
Clark recognized performances by Tiffany Siu, who had a lifetime best and won the 200 individual medley; Danielle Gallo, who won the 200 breast stroke; Morgan Neal, who came in second place on the 1m board and Collin Figus, who had a season best in the 200 breast stroke and a lifetime best in the 500 free. Finally, Justin Mattison, as coach Clark put it, “launched himself into eighth place on the Binghamton all-time top-10 list with his fourth-place finish on the 1m board.”
Six days later the men’s and women’s teams were back in action against St. Bonaventure University. The St. Bonaventure men were ranked 18th and outlasted the Bearcat men 188-112. The Bearcat women’s team soundly defeated St. Bonaventure with a score of 174-125. Clarke was proud of the teams’ performances and was impressed with how the teams were improving as conference play draws near.
Seniors Amanda Ciccone, Tricia Alejandro and Liz Esposito all celebrated their victories, racking up five wins among the three seniors.
Tiffany Siu had three wins in the 200 butterfly, 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly, while sophomores Karissa Gorman and Olivia Baczek also posted strong showings, with Gorman winning the 100 freestyle and Baczek coming second in the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke.
The men, despite their loss, also showed stellar performances. Senior Jason Chen took first in the 200 freestyle while fellow senior Phil Dzieniszewski settled for second place in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly. Juniors Nolan Slesnick and Joe Perez-Rogers also posted victories in the 1000 freestyle and 100 backstroke, respectively.
The teams had their final home meet last Saturday as they hosted Colgate and Vermont. It was also senior day as the men’s and women’s teams honored 11 seniors, who were competing in their final home matches of their career. The men put a halt to their losing streak as they beat Colgate 166-111 and the women split the meet by beating Vermont 178.5-121.5 but falling to Colgate 196-104.
The men started off quickly by winning the 200 medley relay, which was swam by the four seniors: Kevin Kearney, Phil Dzieniszewski, Ziyad Rouhana and Jason Chen.
The seniors continued to put up wins and build on their legacy as senior Dzieniszewski took first in the 50 freestyle and Kearney took two victories in 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke.
Senior Jason Chen put the biggest mark in the books as he broke the pool record for 200 IM and beat the competition by six seconds. He later capped that record with another victory in the 100 freestyle.
The seniors on the women’s side were equally strong with senior Amanda Ciccone putting up a win in the 100 freestyle and senior Brittany Detlef taking second place. Freshman Lauren Flower won the 100 breaststroke and senior Danielle Gallo was right behind her, taking second place.
The Bearcats travel to Stony Brook for their last dual meet of the season before going on to the America East Championships at UMBC near the end of February. The first race is scheduled for 2 p.m.