By Justin Bonhard
Both the men and women’s swimming and diving teams competed at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Open Championship from March 3-5 at the United States Naval Academy.
The men, who went undefeated in dual meets this season and won their sixth straight MAAC Championship, finished in second place with 378 points, behind Navy (532). The Bronc women finished in 11th place with 97 points, which is a big step up from their 21st-place finish last season.
Head Diving Coach Eric Blevins said the ECACs were an opportunity to showcase the team’s talent.
“We have our athletes go there to see if they can drop time from their conference meet and compete at a higher level,” he said. “Because we don’t take our entire team, we aren’t really expecting to win, but placing high is a top priority for us.”
Junior Zack Molloy set multiple records in the three-day meet. He set an ECAC open record for the men’s 200-yard freestyle with a blistering time of 1:34.75 and the men’s 100-yard freestyle with a time of 43.53.
Behind Zack Molloy in the 200-freestyle event was his brother, senior William, finishing sixth, and junior Sam Cramer finishing seventh, with 1:39.16 and 1:39.46, respectively.
Zack Molloy also helped the Broncs win the 400-yard freestyle relay, beating out University of Maryland Baltimore-County by a little over a second, alongside teammates Sam Cramer, Vincent Gibbons and William Molloy. He earned 80 of Rider’s 378 points in just three events.
Senior Matthan-Matthew Martir also competed in the Championships, finishing second in the 50-yard freestyle event by the slimmest of margins with a time of 20.96. He lost out to James Wilson of Navy, who had the winning time of 20.91.
Multiple Rider athletes made an impact during the meet, taking first place in five more events. In the time trials, sophomore Vincent Gibbons took first in the 100-yard backstroke, juniors Marciej Paz and Ben Smith took first in the 100-yard backstroke and in the 200-yard butterfly, respectively, and seniors Cramer and Michael Regan took first in the 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard freestyle, also respectively.
For the women, freshman diver Meg Tomayko finished in fourth place in both the one meter and three meter dives. She earned 15 points for Rider in each of the events.
Navy swept both the men’s and women’s titles this year and has won three years in a row at the ECAC open.
Coach Blevins spoke highly of Tomayko before her two events.
“This meet is a stepping stone for her career to see where she can grow,” Blevins said. “Honestly, just having another major meet for her after the season is key. I’m hoping for her to make finals and to get noticed from other coaches at that meet, so when she goes to zones, she won’t be a newcomer.”
The next event for the swimming and diving team is the NCAA Zone A Championships in Christiansburg Aquatic Center at Virginia Tech on March 6 and 7. Sophomore Joseph Warker represented the Broncs in diving for the second consecutive year.
On March 6, Warker placed 36th out of 39 divers with a score of 215.75 in the one-meter contest.