Men’s swimming honors seniors in win over Providence

Emily Damstrom

The Villanova men’s swim team finished up their Big Eastconference in-season competition with a 122-80 win over the Providence Friars on Saturday afternoon at the Pavilion Pool Complex.  

Not only was this an important victory looking toward the Big East Conference Championships in February, but it was also Senior Day for five Villanova seniors. 

Graduating seniors, Ryan Murtha, Zachary Romanovsky, Murphy Smith, Pat Sullivan and Nikolai Tchobanov, were all honored at the meet this past Saturday. 

Looking back on these senior’s careers at Villanova, Head Coach Rick Simpson referred to these five swimmers “as a very special class.” 

“It wasn’t a situation where there were one or two standouts, it was a situation where every guy in the class was special in his own way,” Coach Simpson explained.

Although these five seniors are definitely highly talented when it comes to swimming, Coach Simpson went on to say that “it was their character that made them special. They are just a great group of guys across the board.” 

Since freshman year, “the coaching staff knew, this was going to be a class where we try to build a lot around,” Coach Simpson said. “They had the opportunity to really establish a legacy at Villanova of what we are looking for, guys that are dedicated to their sport, dedicated to their academics, and just solid characters.” 

Unfortunately, all good things  must to come to an end, including the glorious careers of some of the finest Wildcat swimmers of the past few years.

Coach Simpson says that, upon the graduation of his seniors, he finds himself “in a situation where that class that you wish was here forever, had their last home meet and you really just hate to see it come to an end.” 

Sullivan, Tchobanov, Niki and Smith were able to reflect on their time as a Wildcat before the meet on Saturday as well. 

Sullivan, who is from Lowell, Mass. and is a Civil Engineering major, said his favorite memory throughout his career was “the men’s team’s retreat weekends, up at Providence every other year. It’s a great team bonding experience.”  

When it came to the meet on Saturday, Sullivan went on to say that “defending our pool is important to us, we do not get many opportunities for home meets so whenever we do, we like to step up and get a W.” 

And the W is exactly what the Wildcats got. 

A senior Finance and Economics major, from Brewster, N.Y., Tchobanov says his favorite memory of his time here at Villanova “is right at the beginning of the year, we have our student athlete Mass, and it is such a great way to meet everybody on the team, especially the newcomers.” 

Tchobanov was able to win his last home meet of his career on Saturday as he came in first in the 200 fly. 

In addition, Romanovsky, with a score of 240.15 points, earned himself a big to the Big East diving championships in the one-meter exhibition dive.

Smith, a double major in Economics and Biology, was also able to contribute to his team’s eight first place, seven second place and four third place wins in the victory over Providence on Saturday. 

Leading up to the meet against Providence, Smith said, “Just swimming in it, it’s a big thing. I know I am going to be pretty amped and it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s the last time we get to do it here.” 

When it comes to filling the void these seniors will leave, “we have young guys that understand that there are shoes that are going to need to be filled,” Simpson said, but for right now that “we are focused on fine tuning for what is going to happen in February.” 

Men’s swimming will take on Delaware for their next meet. It is the second-to-last meet before the start of the Big East swimmingchampionship toward the end of February.

As the season draws to its close, the team will continue to lean on its veteran leadership, while devloping the younger talent to eventually take their place as the leaders of the men’s swimming program.