The Vassar men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams took on Brandeis University in the season opener this past weekend in Kresge pool. The women took home a solid 196.5-110.5 win, while the men fell in a well in a 175-106 loss.
On the women’s side, upper-class swimmers performed well for the Brewers, but it was the first-years who stepped up to help secure the win. The Brewers started off the meet strong with a win in the 200- yard medley relay, where first-year students Rhea Randhawa, Ellie Kennedy-Wood and Brynn Lautenbacher swam with junior Hayley Schultz and posted a time of 1:52.57 to secure a first-place finish. In that same event, sophomore Sarah Boese, first-year Shannon Schrope, and juniors Kael Ragnini and Meg Harrington finished in third with a time of 1:59.89.
The women continued to pull in first-place finishes. First-year Angharad Healey swam a 11:09.38 in the 1000-yard freestyle. Ragnini finished first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:04.69. Tabbed Liberty League Rookie of the Week for her performances this past weekend, Randhawa secured her first individual victory in the 100-yard backstroke, posting a time of 1:01.37. Boese finished third in that same event, putting up a strong time of 1:07.54 and keeping Vassar in the lead.
In the 100 breaststroke, Schultz and Schrope finished in first and second place, respectively, with times of 1:09.34 and 1:11.41. In the 200 butterfly, Lautenbacher secured her first collegiate individual win with a solid time of 2:17.58. In the same race, Kennedy-Wood finished third with a time of 2:27.14. The final race before the intermission was the 50 freestyle, where Harrington placed second with a time of 27:06.
The second round of races started out well for the Brewers as Schultz finished first in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 58:06. Harrington swam in the same event, finishing third and putting up a time of 59:22. At this point in the meet, Vassar was up 87-59, which would soon be extended to 99-66 when Randhawa fin- finished first in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:11.40 while Boese finished third with a time of 2:21.56.
Schrope recorded her first collegiate win with a time of 2:34.98 in the 200 breaststroke. The Brewers then finished first and second in the 500 freestyle with Ragnini and Healey finishing within a second of each another. Ragnini came in at 5:29.33, and Healey finished at 5:30.10. VC put up another 1-2 finish in the 100 butterfly, where Lautenbacher put up a time of 1:00.93 for first place, with Kennedy-Wood right coming in second behind her at 1:01.88.
The Brewers closed out their meet with strong finishes in the 200 individual medley. Randhawa placed first with a time of 2:16.09; Lautenbacher finished close behind with a time of 2:19.83. Senior Emily McDaniels finished fifth with a time of 2:29.09, helping the Brewers pull ahead to 152.5-88.5, effectively securing the win for VC.
In the last swim of the day, Vassar competed in the 400 freestyle relay with Harrington, Schrope, Ragnini and Schultz coming in first, and senior Cali Corbett, sophomore Abby Kirsch, Kennedy-Wood and Healey taking third place.
For the women’s diving team, senior Katie Nordstrom, in her first collegiate diving event, finished in second place in the one-meter event with a score of 83.90.
The women won the meet with a impressive score of 196.5-110, and it is no wonder they could pull off such a win so early in the season considering how hard the team worked in preseason to prepare themselves. Leading up to the meet against Brandeis, Kirsch said, “The team had been preparing by training a lot in the pool to build up endurance while also working on the semantics of a race by doing a lot of start and turn work.”
Focusing on the logistics while also building up their stamina in the pool was a huge benefit for the Brewers on Saturday. “The preparation translated into performances during the meet by showing that the team was able to manage doing multiple, exhausting races while also maintaining good technique,” Kirsch noted.
The men’s team, while they put up a valiant effort posting six personal bests and winning six events, was unable to defeat Brandeis University in their season opener this past Saturday.
The meet started out well for the Brewers, who won the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:38.94 thanks to first-year Max White, sophomore Harrison Taylor, sophomore Matthew Imiolek and senior Jonah Strand.
Strand would finish in first place in all three of his events, securing wins in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:00.34, the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:13.26 and the 200 individual medley (IM) with a time of 2:02.22.
White also had a successful day, picking up his first collegiate win in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 54.57 and a win in the 100- yard butterfly, swimming a 53.36 to secure the first-place finish.
Imiolek posted a personal best in the 50 freestyle, beating his previous time to win the event with a time of 22.43.
In the 1000 freestyle, sophomore Jordan Kalina took second with a time of 10:40.21 and also took second in the 500 freestyle, putting up a time of 5:11.33.
First-year Parker Bartz took a fourth-place finish for the Brewers in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:01.06, which was over 14 seconds better than his seed time. First-year Finn Belanger also beat his seed time in the 200 freestyle, coming in at 2:01.38.
First-year Rowan McDowell finished the 100 backstroke in fifth place, clocking in at 1:00.58, and first-year Danny Dunn swam a 1:12.70 in the 100 breaststroke, a personal best for the newcomer.
Tyler placed third in the 200 butterfly, coming in at 2:12.19. Tyler also placed second in the 100 freestyle with a time of 52.26. In the same event, Bartz and first-year Davon Dowie both came in under their seed times.
McDowell took fourth in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:13.90 and Imiolek took third in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:25.57. Imiolek finished fourth in the 200 IM with a time of 2:11.69.
The men’s dive team also secured a second- and third-place finish this past weekend. Senior Connor Martin secured second place in the one-meter diving event with a score of 146.25, while junior Marvin Corleto put up 109.30 to secure third place.
White, who was recently named Liberty League Rookie of the Week for his performance against Brandeis, commented on the meet as a whole. “I think our team did really well against Brandeis this weekend considering the disadvantage we had with size especially on the men’s side,” he explained. “I think as a team, we had some really solid relays as well, which is go- ing to only get better as the season progresses.”
Looking ahead, the Brewers have a pretty quick turnaround with only a couple days of practice before their next meet. In terms of what the team is going to focus on to prepare, White explained that “everyone in practice is trying to fine-tune our races and dives while the meet is still fresh in our minds.”
While the outcome of the meet for the men did not turn out as they would have hoped, an abundance of strong races from several swimmers shows that the team has the potential to have an incredibly successful season. Strand, who was named Liberty League swimmer of the week, was impressed with the six personal bests that were posted on Saturday, although he thought the relays could have executed better transitions.
“We are still in the first part of the season, and we’re practicing those details more and more,” Strand said.
Strand has high hopes for the Brewers this season. “Our goals as a team this season are to beat Bard and Skidmore, have all of our swims- mers place in the top 20 in an event at Liberty Leagues and for us to each achieve lifetime bests in our respective races,” he noted. However, all this success won’t be possible without leadership, and because of this, Strand is taking his responsibility as a senior seriously. “As a senior, I feel like it is my job to impart knowledge I’ve gained from my three years of experience on our new teammates and to push my teammates to swim faster in practice so that they can succeed at meets.”
The men’s and women’s swim and dive team will take on their first Liberty League opponent on Wednesday, Oct. 25, as they host Bard at 6 p.m. in Kresge Pool.