By Christopher Brooks
The men’s swimming and diving team made a big splash at the MAAC Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. after being crowned champions for the third season in a row.
As a team, the men scored 731 points, beating runner-up Marist by 42 points. Senior diver Trevor Hiller won MAAC gold in the one-meter dive and placed third in the three-meter dive, leading to his second straight Male Most Outstanding Diver of the Meet award for the MAAC Championship.
“It’s great to know that the Rider swimming and diving family is strong and will be for years to come,” Hiller said. “We have a great group of freshmen that really helped us pull out the win this year. It feels great to know that all my hard work has paid off. It was a nice reward for my last MAAC Championship meet.”
The men were also helped by strong performances from freshman freestyle Sam Cramer, who won MAAC gold in the 1650-meter freestyle, and junior fly/freestyle swimmer Shane Tubb, who finished third in the 200-meter fly.
Tubb was pleased with the three-peat and largely credited the guidance of Head Coach Steve Fletcher and Assistant Coach Shannon Daly.
“It feels amazing to have won the MAAC Championship for the third time in a row,” Tubb said. “We work all season long for this meet and our coaches could not have prepared us any better to compete at a high level.”
Following the meet, Fletcher was named MAAC Men’s Coach of the Year. Hiller, who was competing in the final team meet of his Rider career, knows the team is in good hands with Fletcher at the helm.
“Coach Fletcher has a great philosophy,” Hiller said. “I know we will continue to succeed in MAAC swimming.”
The women compiled 595 points for a second place finish, trailing 14-time MAAC champion Marist who scored 801 points. Though the women could not make it a sweep for the Broncs, sophomore back/freestyle swimmer Taylor Shelley was not disappointed.
“I am so proud of my teammates,” she said. “We fought for that second-place finish and I am extremely proud of the meet we had. Everyone stepped up and raced and dove for each other, and that means more in the end than what the scoreboard says. This was an extremely successful and memorable season for the women’s swimming and diving team.”
Strong performances for the women’s team came from freshman diver Heather Lonkert, who won MAAC gold in the one-meter dive, and junior back/freestyle swimmer Carlee Oswald, who finished third in 200-meter backstroke.
Though the team portion of the year is finished, qualifying swimmers will have the chance to continue their season in the upcoming championship events. The first of which will be the ECAC Championship from Feb. 28 – Mar. 2 in Annapolis, Md.