By Carlos Toro
Fresh off of winning its fifth straight conference championship, the men’s swimming and diving team continued its success with a third-place finish at the ECAC Championship.
The Broncs finished with 420 points, behind Army’s 470 and Navy’s 688 points, in the three-day competition that went from Feb. 26-28 at Navy.
Junior Matthan-Matthew Martir admitted that the time between the MAAC Championship and the ECAC Championship was short for swimmers to have to prepare, but said that the team “couldn’t be more proud of how it performed.”
“The preparation going into this meet was tough on us mentally and physically,” Martir said. “MAACs were two weeks before ECACs, meaning within two weeks we had to re-taper, maintain our mentality, and make sure we were taking care of and preparing our bodies for another four grueling days.”
Martir won the gold medal in the 100 meter fly with a time of 48.34 seconds. Despite the win, Martir missed qualifying for the NCAA Zone “B” championship on Feb. 27.
Martir said the medal was one of the best accomplishments of his swimming career.
“Winning gold in the 100 butterfly at ECACs meant a lot to me,” Martir said. “I was competing with some of the best competition in Division I swimming and to be able to say that I could not only compete with the competition but come out on top as well means everything to me. I am very fortunate and blessed to be able to experience and see all that time and effort I’ve sacrificed over the years come together and to come out on top. It’s a feeling that will last with me forever.”
As for other swimmers competing for Rider, junior William Molloy won the 200-meter free with a time of 1:37.67 in the second day of competition.
Freshman Vincent Gibbons was third in the 200 free (1:39.03), senior Adam Phillips was fifth in the 100 breast (55.95), freshman Lucas Musselman placed sixth in the 400 individual medley (3:58.98) and freshman Griffin Hutton finished eighth in the 400 individual medley (4:30.46).
Freshman Joe Warker won ECAC gold on the one-meter dive with a score of 279.55, while senior Wayco Bailey finished third on the one-meter dive with a score of 274.55.
Both of these times are good enough to qualify for the NCAA Zone “A” Diving Championships on March 7-8. This will be Warker’s first trip to the NCAAs. Bailey will be going to the NCAA Championships for the fourth time in his collegiate career.
Warker remained focused in his preparation and knew that it was going to carry into the ECAC Championships. He said that his mentality was to “take it one dive at a time.”
“I tried to stay positive and focused the entire weekend and tried to to get as much practice as I could on the boards,” Warker said. “It was huge for me and is great momentum for zones next weekend where we will be competing at the same pool.”
Martir finished tied for third in the 100 free (45.30), Gibbons tied for third in the 100 free (45.30) and Hutton finished fourth in the 200 butterfly (1:49.94) and eighth in the 1650 free (16:03.54). Junior Sam Cramer was fifth in the 1650 free (15:45.32), Musselman finished sixth in the 200 back (1:49.40), senior Jeff Prichard was eighth in the 100 free (45.99) and junior Michael Regan finished 10th in the 1650 free (16:12.31).
Martir was content with the way he competed against some of the most talented teams in the country.
“Every time we step out on the deck it is always our goal to give our best and to be the best,” Martir said. “Going into this meet we knew we were about to compete with some of the best in Division I swimming and the fact that we were able to hold our own against teams like Army and Navy and prove that we were one of the best teams there, is something we take a huge amount of pride into.”