Swimming and diving opens season in fine form

Cailin Brophy

The Villanova swimming and diving squad kicked off its 2002 campaign against local rival LaSalle on Friday at the Villanova Swim Center.

The meet was characterized by a dominating performance by the Wildcat women, who broke both pool records and the spirits of the LaSalle squad in a convincing 158-71 victory. The men swam strong as well, but were on the losing end of a tightly-contested meet, falling to the Explorers 133-100.

The performer of the day was Villanova swimmer Becky Koch. The junior Texas native broke the pool record 500 freestyle with a time of 4:51.23, holding off Olympian teammate Maddie Crippen by a quarter of a second to win the event.

Koch was also victorious in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:51.69. The women were also bolstered by strong efforts by sophomore Nichole Werger, who won the 50 yard free (24.87) and the 100-yard free (53.68). Crippen hit the wall first in the 200-yard butterfly (2:05.53), while teammate Katie Shipe won the 200 yard individual medley (2:11.89) and sophomore Tori DeLollo rounded out the Villanova victories with a first-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke (2:06.74).

Senior Andie Scelsi, who missed all of last year due to a shoulder injury, swam well in her first meet in over a year, placing third in the 1,000-yard free (10:31.61). Freshman Trista Felty showed promise in her events, the 500 and 1,000-yard freestyles, recording personal best times in both events.

The 400-yard medley relay team composed of DeLollo, Charysse Johnston, Koch and Kiersten Rosenberg added points for the squad with a victory in 3:56.48.

On the men’s side, senior standout Peter Klimas had impressive wins in both the 50-yard freestyle (21.59) and the 100-yard free (47.87). Classmates Justin Buland and Andrew Harbuck racked up points for the team as well, with Buland posting a victory in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:16.14), while Harbuck swam to first in the 200 yard individual medley.

Rounding out the first place finishes for the men’s team was the 400-yard medley relay combination of Klimas, fellow seniors Adam Walchak and Harbuck and Mike Phinney.

The diving squad enjoyed success against LaSalle as well, with Amy Sfara scoring 254.55 for first place on the three-meter board while teammate Julie Rhines nabbed first place honors on the one-meter (275.48).

For the men, freshman Colin Ray notched a second-place finish on the one-meter board (207.68).The Wildcats will open up Big East competition when they travel to New Jersey to take on Seton Hall today at 3 p.m.