Diving duo clinches qualifiers while Broncs dominate

Junior diver Paul Apostolakis competes in the Broncs’ first MAAC meet against Marist. He claimed first in the one- and three-meter dives to qualify for the NCAA Zone A Diving Competition.By Paul Mullin

The Rider men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams put away defending MAAC Champion Marist on Saturday, Nov. 1, by identical scores, 173-127.

The Broncs dominated both aspects of the contest, winning all four diving events and 20 of 28 swimming events.

“We’re definitely encouraged by beating the defending conference champions, but we know we have a lot of work to do to be at that level,” said Head Coach Steve Fletcher.

Rider also captured two NCAA Zone A Diving Competition qualifications by junior divers Amanda Burke and Paul Apostolakis. The pair placed first in their respective one- and three-meter dives.

“When I found out I qualified for zones it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders,” Apostolakis said. “My season is about training hard and competing at zones but it’s hard to train and try new things when I have to reach a certain score.”

Burke also qualified for the NCAA Zones in the Broncs’ tri-meet against Seton Hall and Rutgers on Oct. 24.

“It’s a pretty big deal because it was one of my goals to qualify in the first few meets,” Burke said. “I hope to consistently stay around or above the qualifying score.”

Another force in Rider’s victory was senior swimmer Priscilla Modrov, who won three individual events (100- and 200-fly and 200 individual medley (IM)) for the third meet in a row and also helped the women’s 200-yard medley relay team to victory.

Also performing for the women was sophomore Kellyanne Tomasula, who won both the 100- and 200-backstroke and placed second in the 200 IM behind Modrov.

Sophomores Carmen Menendez and Brianna Burns rounded out the effort, with Menendez claiming first in the 100-breaststroke and fourth in the 200-breaststroke, and Burns winning the 50- and 100-freestyle and placing second in the 200-freestyle.

Three-race winners for the men were senior Josh Rosenbluth, who claimed gold in the 100- and 200-backstroke and 200 IM, and sophomore Drew Modrov, who took the 50-, 100- and 200-freestyle races.

The men were aided by strong efforts from junior Scott Player — winner in the 100-fly, runner-up in the 50-freestyle and third-place finisher in the 100-freestyle — and sophomore Mike Tubb, who placed first in the 100- and 200-breaststroke.

The Broncs corrected a major problem they had in their first meet of the season against UMBC, where although they won the majority of the events, they were outscored thanks to the UMBC athletes’ tendency to clump together on the scoreboard. This time around, Rider was able to break up the Marist finishers, placing second in six out of the eight events Marist won. The Broncs also found their consistency, finishing one-two or better in six of the events they did win.

“That really helped us out,” Fletcher said. “Without question that’s the difference between this meet and the first two.”

Rider hosts Lehigh at 12:30 p.m. — with the divers competing at 10 a.m. — in a rare home meet tomorrow, one of only two this season. According to Fletcher, other schools don’t like competing here because Rider has “a distinct home pool advantage.”

“We don’t have the availability of separate warm-up and warm-down facilities, so our athletes are used to having to repeat events tired,” Fletcher said. “Other schools have that luxury, and they come to a facility like this and they can’t repeat as well because they’re not accustomed to it.”

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