Swimming season opener points towards successful 2004 campaign

Courtney Scrib

New pool and personal records were set on Saturday when ‘Nova’s men and women’s swimming and diving teams took on Big East rival UConn at home. While the Wildcat women defeated the Huskies with a score of 150-91, the men fell short, 87-148. “The men did a great job of stepping up to the competition,” head coach Rick Simpson said.

There were several outstanding first place finishes from the men, including junior Bryan Rivera, who won the 500-yard freestyle (4:42.25) and freshmen Ryan McKenna and David Drysdale. The Villanova men swept the first three places in the 200-yard backstroke as well as in the 200-yard breaststroke and 500-yard freestyle.

“The team is training especially hard, and it shows at our meets,” Drysdale, who placed first in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:12.43), said.

In the men’s relay competition, Villanova’s A team won the 400-yard freestyle in 3:15.15 minutes.

In addition to his win in the 500-yard freestyle, Rivera also placed second in the 200-yard freestyle (1:44.78). “Ultimately, I want to become a role model for my swimmates by proving that Villanova swimmers are up to the same level of other Big East schools despite the fact that we don’t get scholarships.”

On the women’s side, Villanova continued to dominate the pool, and the competition, with impressive performances. Freshman Annie Kelley not only won the 200-yard individual medley but also broke the pool record with a time of 2:05.65 minutes. Later in the meet, she took first in the 200-yard butterfly (2:06.38).

Senior Becky Koch and junior Nichole Werger each earned two first place finishes, while junior Tori Delollo and freshman Jenny Somerville added two more wins in their respective events.

Koch continued her phenomenal season by winning the 200-yard freestyle (1:50.49) and 500-yard freestyle (4:51.43). Delollo placed first in the 200-yard backstroke (2:03.87). Distance freestyler Somerville won the 1,000-yard freestyle in 10:09.69, beating her closet competitor by over 15 seconds. “The women just proved to the conference, and more importantly, themselves, that they are the real deal,” Simpson said.

Led by seniors Amy Sfara and Julie Rhines, the diving team also produced solid results. In the one-meter event, Sfara placed second with Rhines following closely in third. Sfara and Rhines also took the first two places in the three meter.

“The team has certainly come together this year and has bonded,” Simpson said. “They are all bonded by the common goal that has been set for the Big East Championship in February, As a coach, this is the type of team that you love to be a part of.” ‘Nova swims next at Virginia Tech Sunday.