Swim and Dive Competes in WVU Invitational


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Jake McIntyre (above) won the 1650 Free with a time of 15:20.52, the second fastest time in Villanova history.

Aphrodite Dimopoulos, Staff Writer

This past weekend, both the men and women’s swimming and diving teams traveled to West Virginia for the WVU Invitational. This is the third time in four seasons that the Wildcats have attended the WVU Invitational for their three-day event in Morgantown. Last year, both the men and women finished in second place. Returning this year and competing against 14 other teams, six of which have also brought both their men’s and women’s teams, the Wildcats entered with high expectations. As a collective, the women placed fourth and the men placed sixth overall. Individually speaking, many Villanova athletes stood out with record times. 

Day one of the meet took place on Thursday, November 17. The most notable event for both the men and the women was the 500 Free. For the women, both junior Molly Benson and freshman Katie White had personal bests, with times of 4:55.93 to land ninth and 5:01.59 to land 14th, respectively. Senior Kaitlin Gravell also raced, posting a 5:02.21 to secure 15th. For the men, Charlie Hinckley was the second highest finisher of the day with his time in the 500 Free. The junior placed third in the consolation final with a time of 4:33.76 to secure him 11th overall.

The 200 IM was another strong race for both teams. The star of the day for the women’s team was junior Audrey Pastorek who, overall, had the highest preliminary showing among all Villanova swimmers on Day One. She finished with a time of 2:02.46 to secure her first place and lead her into the evening finals. She was the only Wildcat on Thursday to make it to the Championship Final later in the night, and she held her first-place spot through the finals. Pastorek shaved a whole two seconds off of her time in the 200 IM for a personal-best of 2:00.26. With that race, Pastorek is now sixth on Villanova’s all-time performer list.

In the 50 Free, junior Cara Stapleton swam a personal best with a time of 23.41 in the consolation final to secure ninth overall. Senior Perri Stabl was right behind Stapelton, with a time of 23.42 to secure tenth, and sophomore Lainey Quinones finished 14th with a time of 23.78.

For Diving, the men made it to the 1-meter Diving Finals with sophomore Nicholas Jubilee after he scored a 265.85 in the prelims. Ultimately, he finished 11th in the field with a 261.30 finals score.

The mens and womens teams also raced in the 200 Free Relay, their A teams placing eighth and fifth, respectively. The men made it to the bonus final of the 200 IM, placing 18th and 19th, and the men’s and women’s A teams of the 400 Medley Relay placed 13th and fifth, respectively.

Overall, through the first 12 events of the meet, the women sat at fifth place with 315 points, just two and a half points behind Drexel in fourth and 19 points out of the top three. The men’s team landed in sixth with 219 points.

Day two was the day of personal bests for the Wildcats. Starting off in the 100 Butterfly, White had a personal-best in the Consolation Final performance with a time of 55.20 for 10th overall, second in the final. In the same event but on the men’s side, senior Ryan Maher set a new personal best with a time of 49.86 in the prelims to finish fourth in the Consolation Final. 

Staying in the realm of personal bests, Pastorek reset her personal best in the 400 IM by a whole three seconds, winning the event at the Invitational and making her the seventh-fastest performer in Villanova history. The 400 IM was only one of Pastorek’s three top-three finishes on Friday. In the 100 Back, she took nearly a second off of her personal best, finishing second with a time of 54.39 to stay at third on the program’s all-time performers list. 

Kaitlin Gravell followed just behind Pastorek in the 400 IM, finishing with a time of 4:20.36 to put her in second. For the men, Danus scored third in the 400 IM, securing him another top-10 time in the Villanova record books. The junior’s swim in this race was the best finish of the day for the men and marked the eighth-fastest time in program history. Now, Danus holds three of Villanova’s top 10 times in the event.

Another star of the day was freshman Winnie Jalet, who also made her debut in the Villanova record book thanks to a third-place finish in the 100 Breast. The newcomer posted a 1:02.06 that not only went down as a personal best but also made her the fourth-fastest performer in program history.

Lastly in personal bests, the women in the 200 Free had three new bests with Benson, who finished ninth with a time of 1:49.07, junior Lexi Elkovitch, who finished eleventh with a time of 1:50.65, and Quinones, who finished thirteenth with a time of 1:52.24. 

Other events of the day were the 200 Medley Relay that started off the finals with a fifth-place finish, the men’s 200 Free that placed second in the Consolation Final and tenth and twelfth overall, the men’s 100 Breast finishing 16th overall, and the men’s and women’s 800 Free Relay that both placed fifth.

Lastly, in diving, freshman Claire Feick landed a spot in the 1-meter Diving Consolation Final, finishing 11th with a final score of 265.45 after a 245.50 in the prelims. Freshman Chris Jones earned a spot in the night’s finals of the 3-meter dives to finish tenth with a finals score of 275.55.

At the end of the second day, the women sat again in fifth with 724 points and the men stayed at sixth with 538 points. 

For the final day of the invitational, the women’s team logged eight top-eight finishes, three in the top three to close out the event with a fourth place showing on Saturday. On the men’s side, the team brought four top-five finishes for Villanova, including a 1650 Free win by senior Jake McIntyre to help the team finish sixth. McIntyre’s win was one of six Wildcat performances that landed in the program’s all-time performers or times lists. Villanova closed the weekend with 842 team points.

In the 200 Back, Pastorek placed first with a time of 1:56.00, another personal best. Also in the event, junior Hannah Wasmuth and Gravell joined Pastorek in the 200 Back Championship Final, finishing in fourth with a time of 1:59.50 and seventh with a time of 2:03.05, respectively.

In the 100 Free, Stapleton had two personal bests, with a 50.79 swim in the prelims and a 49.99 swim in the finals to secure fourth in the finals and fifth on Villanova’s top performers list. Stahl gave a personal best performance with a time of 50.91 for seventh place. For the men, Maher scored a personal best with a time of 45.94 to make him the eighth fastest 100 Free performer in Villanova’s history.

The 1650 Free was where McIntyre took charge for the men’s team. The senior led the four Wildcats who all finished in the top 10 in the event. He swam a winning time of 15:20.52 marking the second fastest time in Villanova history. After the event, McIntyre now holds six of the 10 fastest times in program history. Charlie Hinckley touched fourth in 15:46.95, giving him the sixth fastest time in the record book. Aubrey Bowles and Patrick Casey rounded out the top 10 in seventh with a time of 16:02.50 and eighth with a time of 16:06.30, respectively.

The 200 Breast was Jalet’s event. She recorded the second fastest prelim time with a 2:14.90 to become the fifth-fastest performer for Villanova. In the evening, she finished third with a time of 2:14.92.

For the 200 Fly, White earned second with a time of 1:58.59, becoming the second fastest performer in team history with her runner-up finish. For the men, Danus raced the fifth fastest time in team history with a 1:49.25 to earn him fourth place. Maher joined him in the championship final after posting a personal best 1:50.74 in the prelims, allowing him to become the 10th fastest performer all-time for Villanova. Maher swam a 1:51.34 in the final that was good enough for seventh.

Lastly, in the 400 Free Relay, the women’s A team of Elkovitch, Stapleton, Benson, and Stahl finished third with a time of 3:22.82. The men’s B team of freshmen Gavin Jones, Henry Gingrich and Alex Hamill, and sophomore Patrick Hemingway, finished fifth with a time of 3:02.42. Senior Reid Hutcherson, freshmen Sam Randall and Mikey Thurk, and Maher were not far behind, finishing eighth in 3:05.22.

Overall, the teams had an impressive meet at the WVU Invitational, making many personal bests and putting more names in the Villanova record books.