Women’s Swimming Upsets Navy at PL’s

Jessie Markovetz

Last weekend in Annapolis, Maryland, the women’s swimming team won its first Patriot League Championship in program history. Following an impressive regular season where the women finished 9-3 overall and 4-1 in the Patriot League, the women seemed poised for an impressive run in postseason play. Led by junior Emily Murphy and first-year Erin McGraw, who was named Rookie of the Meet, the Raiders were able to lap their opposing Patriot League foes en route to the conference title.

The first day of finals action saw the Raiders start out strong with a win in the 200 IM by McGraw, who defeated her second place challenger by a mere .08 seconds, the closest race of the day. The women also scored a commanding victory in the 400 medley relay. The winning relay team was comprised of McGraw, Murphy, and juniors Ashley Bottger and Beverly Walker. They won the event with a time of 3:49.50, the second-fastest time in school history. These strong performances left the Raiders in third place overall after the first day of competition, only 34.5 points behind first-place Navy and well within striking distance of the lead.

On the second day of finals action, the women started things off strong with a first place finish in the 200 medley relay. The winning team was comprised of Walker, junior Emily Murphy, senior tri-captain Kacy Reams and sophomore Kate Murphy. The group’s final time was 1:45.20, good enough to nab the women 40 points for their first place finish. First-year Caren Guyett followed that up with a second place finish in the 400 IM, and then Colgate was able to take four out of the top five spots in the 100 fly. McGraw brought home the gold for the Raiders in the 100 fly with an astounding Patriot League record time of 55.75, and she was aided by a second place finish from junior Lisa Marchi and a solid third place finish from sophomore Kate Murphy. Due to these strong finishes, the Raiders were able take an important 53 points from the first three positions alone.

After the 100 fly, the women once again swept four of the top five spots in an event, only this time it was in the 100 breaststroke. Murphy led the way for Colgate in this one, placing first with a final time of 1:04.29, and at the same time she scooped up an all-important twenty points for her first place finish. Sophomore Caitie Curran, Reams and sophomore Alaina Sullivan took the second, third and fifth spots in that event, respectively. The women capped off their second day of finals competition with a solid second place showing in the 800 freestyle Relay. These string of strong finishes pushed Colgate into first place in the overall standings, 44.5 points ahead of second place Navy.

The women began the final day of championship competition solidly, as first-year Emily Kelly placed fifth in the 1650 freestyle competition with a time of 17:29.67. This was the second fastest time in the 1650 free in school history and it helped the women get off to a promising start on their third day of Patriot League Championship swimming. Walker followed up Kelly’s impressive performance with a win in the 200 backstroke with a final time of 2:04.16. The Raiders then scored yet another win in the 200 breaststroke, as Emily Murphy was able to finish first with a time nearly two and a half seconds faster than her nearest competitor. The women continued their impressive run of finishes in the 200 fly, where they scored three out of the top four positions, and they then capped off the championships with a strong second place showing in the 400 Freestyle Relay. At the end of the day, these results were enough to keep Colgate in first place overall, and gave them their first-ever Patriot League Championship. All in all, McGraw, Emily Murphy, Walker, Guyett, Marchi and Curran got Patriot League first-team honors, while Reams, Kelly, Bottger, Kate Murphy and Sullivan grabbed second team honors.

The Colgate men also competed in the Patriot League Championships last weekend, and their efforts resulted in a respectable fifth-place finish for the team that had struggled mightily all season long. The first day of championship swimming started well for the men, as they took third place in the 200 Freestyle Relay with a time of 1:24.53, which broke the previous school record for the 200 free relay. The record breaking relay team consisted of first-year Tucker Gniewek, seniors Zach Whitman and Jeff Jakob, and junior George Bennitt. The remainder of the first day of competition was rather uneventful for the Raiders, as the only other notable finish was a fifth- place result for Gniewek in the 50 freestyle with the time of 21.19 seconds, a freshman Colgate record and the fourth fastest time in that event in Colgate men’s history. The men ended the first day of championship swimming in fourth place, a position that they would look to improve upon in the days to come.

On the second day of competition, the Raider men got their first win of the championships with a first-place finish in the 100 butterfly by Whitman. He won the event with a personal-best time of 50.63 seconds. The Raiders also had strong showings in the 400 IM, in which first-year brothers Trevor and Devon Healy placed second and third respectively.

On the third and final day of Patriot League Championship action, the men saw a strong performance from their 400 freestyle Relay team, who finished fourth with a time of 3:07.24, the second fastest time in Colgate history. Whitman and sophomore Robert Rutkowski finished fourth and fifth respectively in the 200 free and Gniewek placed fifth in the 100 free with a time of 46.32 seconds. At the end of the meet, Whitman garnered first-team honors, while the Healy twins and Gniewek made the second team. Though the men had an admittedly difficult up and down season, their fifth place finish in the Patriot League gives hope that next year will lead to greater success.