March 22, 2017 The Signal page 23 Swimming
Swimming pushes forth to top rankings at Nationals By George Tatoris News Editor The men’s swimming team thought it was over once senior Scott Vitabile touched the wall, but they were wrong. Both Vitabile and Massachusetts Institute of Technology junior Josh Tomazin touched the wall in the men’s 400-yard freestyle relay at 3:00.51, tying both teams for eighth place — the final spot to qualify for the finals. To determine a winner, the teams went head-to-head in a swim-off on the final day of the NCAA Division III National Swimming Championship. While most students were riding out the unseasonable winter storm, the men’s swimming and diving teams were facing the heat down in Shenandoah, Texas. The competition took place over four days from Wednesday, March 15, and Saturday, March 18. Overall, the Lions finished 12 out of 50 teams, scoring 101 points. Emory University swept both the men’s and women’s meets, the second team in Division III history to do that. Vitabile was joined by sophomore Alex Skoog and seniors Ryan Gajdzisz and Andrew Nesbitt for both the initial preliminary and the swim-off. The Engineers came out on top by a sliver. They posted a time of 2:58.20 against the Lions time of 2:58.74. The Lions were
Nesbitt swims in the 200-free relay.
awarded an All-American Honorable Mention for their efforts. If the Lions had made it to the final, they would have finished third with that time. “Having two teams go at it in front of a packed house was pretty cool,” head coach Brian Bishop said. “Both teams swam even faster than they did in prelims and, had both gone that fast, would have been seeded one and two for finals. However, only one spot was open, and we came up a little short. I’m incredibly proud of the effort the guys made.” The dramatic closer capped off a weekend of success for the Lions. Over 40 events, they compiled 21 All-American citations — most of
Photo courtesy of Sports Information Desk
which were for relay events. In the 800-free relay, the quartet of Gajdzisz, freshman Harrison Yi, Vitabile and Skoog secured an honors citation with a fifth-place finish. Their final time was 6:38.84. This performance boosted the Lions two spots to 11th place on the second-to-last day of the meet. In another relay, the 200-free, the team of junior Adam Coppola, Gajdzisz, Nesbitt and Vitabile earned All-American Honors with a sixthplace finish and a time of 1:22.33. They finished milliseconds ahead of the seventh-place team. In the 200-medley relay, Skoog, Gajdzisz, Vitabile and Coppola earned an honorable mention with a combined time
of 1:30.18, crossing 10th in the consultation final. Another mention came out of the 400-medley relay, in which Skoog, Gajdzisz, Coppola and Vitabile finished 12th with a time of 3:18.93. The 200-medley team had their best performance all semester in the preliminaries, reducing their previous best time by nearly a second. They took another half-second off that time in the finals. In addition, several Lions earned individual victories throughout the meet Gajdzisz beat his best time in the 200-free preliminaries with a 1:39.23 finish. In the consultation final, Gajdzisz finished 16th. Gajdzisz also finished 13th in the 100-yard breaststroke. Skoog set a personal record in the
50-free preliminaries with a time of 21.36 seconds, finishing 42nd. Coppola finished 26th with a time of 20.79 in the same race. Gajdzisz, Vitabile, Nesbitt swam their last race as a Lion. Seniors Anthony Gurrieri, Sean Johnson and Vince Masciandro also will be graduating. “These guys put in a incredible amount of hard work over the years, and I am very proud of the accomplishments they achieved throughout their career,” Bishop said. “I’m even prouder of the legacy they will leave with the program and the impact that will have for years to come.” The women’s diving team also had strong showings in the postseason. Senior Sarah Grassi, earned a spot to Nationals in the 1-meter for her last diving meet as a Lion at the NCAA Division III Region 4 Diving Championships held on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25. She finished sixth overall. The first day of the meet, Grassi placed 10th overall on Friday. The end of the season marks the men’s team’s 25th consecutive trip to the Championships and Bishop’s 28th year coaching the swim team. The 12th place finish was the Lions 23rd top 20 finish. “It’s an honor to compete in the NCAA championships and we have had an incredible run over the last four years,” Bishop said. “While we had hoped for a higher finish, 12th place with six all Americans is still pretty good.”
Track and Field
Two runners finish in top 20 at National Championships By Nicole DeStefano Staff Writer
Two of the College’s own competed at the 2017 Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 10. Senior Jake Lindacher and sophomore Noah Osterhus represented the Lions in their respective races at the Al B. Carius Track at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. Lindacher raced in the preliminary heat for the 60-meter hurdles. Lindacher sprinted to a fourth-place finish, placing 11th overall. “After not being able to compete last year due to injury, it was just great to be
back at Nationals,” Lindacher said. “It’s always such an unforgettable experience.” In the 800-meter dash, Osterhus finished 14th overall. He clocked in at 1:59.40. “Indoor was a good season for the team and being so young as a whole, it was certainly a learning experience for many of us,” Lindacher said. “I’m excited to see how everyone uses that experience to carry the energy and momentum from indoor into the outdoor season.” Both the women’s and men’s track teams will compete next at the Ursinus College Invitational on Saturday, March 25, as the spring season begins.
Photo courtesy of Sports Information Desk
Lindacher places 11th overall in the 60-meter hurdles.
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The 03/22/17 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey’s student newspaper