Colgate’s women’s swimming and diving team are the stars of Raiders Athletics this week after handily clinching the Patriot League title at Bucknell over the weekend. The squad captured the lead after the very first day of competition and never let up, finishing with a team total of 862 points. The men’s team also traveled to the meet, but did not experience the same noted level of success. They finished fifth place overall with a final tally of 363 points.
The men did, however, mark up the Colgate record books. Most remarkable was Casey Powers, who shattered a 35-year-old Colgate record in the 1650- yard freestyle by an astounding 12 seconds with a time of 15:47.15. Senior Tucker Gniewek chipped in with a third place finish in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 44.92 seconds, .15 seconds below the previous Colgate record. Junior Costas Hadjipateras finished fifth in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:49.83, almost a minute under the Raider record. Raider teammate Devon Healy also broke his own personal record in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 3:56.49, while the 400-yard freestyle relay unit composed of Dan Sweeney, Pat White, Sam Ellis and Gniewek just missed the team’s record by under a second.
The real narrative is in the women’s Patriot League competition, where they held onto the first-place spot for three consecutive days to completely dominate the meet.
The team finished the first day of racing with 198 points and swept the top three positions in the finals. Erica Derlath swam brilliantly, finishing over a second earlier than teammates Caren Guyett and first-year Claire Hunter, who also contributed to the Colgate victory. Senior Erin McGraw added to the total point count by earning the 200-yard individual medley title as she beat her personal best time by just under a second. Sophomore Emma Santoro and first-year Megan Jex followed closely behind.
The second day of competition marked a slew more of Colgate victories. Sophomore Kim Pilka shattered the old 1-meter dive record with a score of 303.40 to blast Army’s Chelsea Haviland’s 2006 mark of 291.85. The 800-yard freestyle relay team set a new league mark to give the Raiders a comfortable margin above their trailing opponents. The relay team of McGraw, Hunter, Santoro and Guyett also shattered an old Colgate record by 1.5 seconds. Their time of 7:20.09 also became the new Patriot League, championship meet and Kinney Natatorium record.
Guyett also did some personal record breaking on the second day of the competition in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:47.61, more than a second off both her own preliminary time and previous record-holder Lisa Marchi’s time of 1:48.93.
McGraw rose to the occasion in the 100-yard butterfly as the Raiders had three women place in the top five to earn 50 points towards the team score. McGraw won her first individual title with a time of 54.36 seconds, just missing her record time of 54.02 seconds.
Rebecca Murray and Maggie White also contributed to the team tally after finishing the 100-yard breaststroke at third and seventh, respectively.
On the final day of competition, the Raiders’ spirits were high. Their times and scores could not be beat and their confidence could only contribute to more success.
In the first swimming final of the day, Derlath won her third title of the week and broke a Colgate record in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 16:24.83, breaking her personal record by an incredible 15 seconds. The time also broke the Patriot League record. Guyett also broke the previous record, but could not match the time of her teammate and finished second in the race.
At the end of the three-day competition, Fernando Canales was named the Patriot League Women’s Coach of the Year, while McGraw was awarded the Female Swimmer of the Meet honors. Pilka was also recognized as the top diver with the Female Diver of the Meet title. All in all, the meet marked the victorious end of a successful season for the women.