By Paul Mullin
Thanks to record-setting performances and yet another sweep by Bronc divers, the Rider swimming and diving teams topped Lehigh in the first of only two home meets scheduled this season.
The women beat the Mountain Hawks 175-123 and the men won by a score of 169-131. The teams set seven Coppola Pool records on the day.
“Most of those athletes [who set records] are athletes we rely on to compete for us, and they are definitely doing a good job of that,” said Head Coach Steve Fletcher. “We were a little surprised at the speed, pleasantly surprised.”
Senior swimmer Priscilla Modrov kept the pace for the women, winning and setting pool records in the 200-individual medley (IM) and the 200-fly, in which she also set the Rider record, earning her status as the MAAC Women’s Swimmer of the Week.
“It is a great feeling to know I will most likely be leaving my mark on the walls of the Coppola pool, especially since two of the records were relays and included three of my teammates,” Modrov said.
She was a member of the women’s 400-medley relay — with sophomores Kellyanne Tomasula, Carmen Menendez and Brianna Burns — and the 400-freestyle relay — with Tomasula, sophomore Alicia Fimple and freshman Kori Kraus — which both set pool records as well.
Tomasula also set an individual record in the 200-backstroke and won the 100-backstroke.
The success of the Rider relay teams continued on the men’s side, with the 400-medley team of senior Josh Rosenbluth, junior Scott Player and sophomores Drew Modrov and Mike Tubb setting a pool record.
“I’m not surprised [at the results] when you put those athletes together, but to be honest our relay strength is something we are trying to work on,” Fletcher said.
Drew Modrov, named MAAC Men’s Swimmer of the Week, was one of two three-race winners for the men’s team, grabbing gold in the 50-, 100- and 200-freestyles. He broke a pool record in the 50-freestyle that had been standing for 18 years, set by Rider Athletics Hall of Famer Jack Schwerzler in 1990.
“Being able to break one of the oldest records on the board is special because you know that so many other people have tried to do it before you but you were the only one who could finally do it,” Drew Modrov said.
The other three-race winner for the men was Rosenbluth, who captured the 100- and 200-backstrokes and the 200-IM. Burns followed suit for the women, winning the 50-, 100- and 200-freestyles.
Junior divers Amanda Burke and Paul Apostolakis once again swept their respective one- and three-meter dives. But they weren’t alone. In the women’s one-meter, sophomores Aisley Carter and Allie Corey came in third and fourth, respectively, and in the three-meter they were second and third.
In both of the men’s dives, Apostolakis was backed up by freshman Brendan Cavallaro in second place and sophomore Tom Smallwood in third.
“The team this year is in much better shape physically then in the past and they are proving to be far ahead of our normal seasonal progression,” said Diving Coach Dennis Ceppa. “As a coach this allows me to push them harder then I might normally be able to and we are seeing results already.”
Burke was named MAAC Diver of the Week for the third straight time for her performance.
Fletcher was particularly happy with the progress that the depth of the team has made since the beginning of the season.
“They really do respond to the leadership of the upperclassmen,” he said. “When you have athletes who consistently perform well, everyone else seems to respond well to that. They feed off of each other.”
This trend will need to continue when the Broncs travel to the University of Delaware for a tri-meet with the Blue Hens and La Salle tomorrow at 1 p.m.