Swim Swept in Final Regular Season Meet


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Swim & Dive celebrated the team’s seniors during the annual Sprintfest event.

Zac Tipton, Staff Writer

Both the men’s and women’s swim teams traveled to State College on Friday, Jan. 28 to face off against the Nittany Lions in their last official event before the Big East championship meet. Both teams lost their respective matchups, with the men falling, 215-81, and the women suffering a 202-91 defeat.

The teams were only able to combine for three first place finishes, two of which came in relays, across the 32 total events. Senior Kelly Montesi was the only Wildcat to win an individual race, taking first in the 200-yard individual medley. The men and women both swept the podium in the 400-yard freestyle relay. 

On the women’s side, Montesi also put up top three finishes in the 200-yard back, 50-yard free and the 200-yard medley relay. Senior Nicole Welch joined the first-place team in the 400-yard free relay while also taking second in the 500-yard and 1000-yard freestyle. Graduate student Milly Routledge was also on the 400-yard free relay team and finished third in the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle races. Senior Andrea Holtz took third in the 1 meter dive. 

The men were led by sophomore Nolan Danus, who was on the third place 400-yard free relay team, while also placing second in the 200-yard fly and third in the 200-yard IM. Sophomores Ethan Brown and Richard Nolan both were on the third-place 400-yard free relay team, and both had third place finishes in the 200-yard back and 200-yard breast. The fourth member of the third-place team, junior Jake McIntyre, also had a third-place finish of his own in the 500-yard frees. Junior Reid Hutcherson was on the first-place team in the 400-yard free relay, while also finishing third in the 200-yard free. In diving, freshman Nicholas Jubilee set a new personal best score of 290 to earn him a second-place finish in the 1-meter dive. 

On Sunday, Jan. 30, Villanova held its annual Sprintfest. This event is used as a time to honor the seniors on the team and also give the swimmers one last run before going into the Big East meet. There is no scoring, but times are official. 

“What I personally like about this event: no stress,” head coach Rick Simpson said. “While I’m here, without a score, I just get to let them race.” 

This year, Villanova honored nine senior swimmers. The swimmers that were honored Sunday are Holtz, Montesi, Routledge, Welch, Elizabeth Bailey, Abbey Berloco, Grace Wielar, Michael Ackert, Sam Fanatico and Jesse Marsh. 

Of the nine seniors, Montesi’s departure is undoubtedly going to be the biggest hit for the Wildcats next season. Last season, Montesi was a Big East champion in six events and was named the Most Outstanding Women’s Swimmer of last year’s Big East Championship.

“I mean, she is going to be a Hall of Famer here at Nova, that’s pretty much a given, given her accomplishments over the years,” Simpson said of Montesi.

This year, La Salle took part in Sprintfest, racing in 23 events excluding the diving portion. When the final race was run, there was a cool down before the big All-Sports relay.

The All-Sports relay is where athletes from some of the teams on campus participate in a four by 100-yard freestyle relay to see who gets bragging rights. The Simpson family, other varsity swim coaches and the divers participate as well. In the first heat, the varsity swim coaches dominated with Rowing, beating out the rest of the sports teams in that heat. In the second heat, women’s water polo upset the divers. 

Up next for Villanova is a three-week break where the teams start preparing for the Big East championship meet, which starts on Feb. 23 in East Meadow, New York. The Big East on the men’s side is always competitive. It is never clear who is going to win, and the champion usually triumphs by a slim margin. The women’s side is also competitive but has become much more difficult to win since UConn returned to the conference. 

“It’s going to be a competitive meet,” Simpson said. “Whoever happens to have the lead after the last event is going to walk home with the trophy.”