|Jennifer Smith, first year Undeclared Engineering major, dives during the first diving event against SUNY Geneseo on Saturday, January 16.
Stepping into the Gordon Field House on January 16, the air was thick and damp, much like stepping outside after the rain on a hot summer day. Incoherent shouts were coming from every direction. On that day, the Tigers were set to go up against SUNY Geneseo and New Paltz in a triple swim and dive meet. The stands were filled with parents and supporters from each school, all watching to see who was going to touch the wall first. The swimmers and divers competed simultaneously, causing many reiterations of “diver, please hold” while the announcer relayed the next swimming event, or the starter fired the gun over the
Spectators were thin at the diving end of the pool, but those who were there cheered for everyone, no matter the team. SUNY Geneseo was the only competition for the dive team, as New Paltz had no divers at the meet. RIT’s dive team consists of five divers (three men and two women), with Evan Wendt, a third year Mechanical Engineering Technology major, as the stand out. He was precise with his dives, barely creating a splash and consistently earning high scores from the judges.
Wendt received the highest scores on a single dive, with an 8 and a 9.5 on his inward one and a half somersault pike on the 1-meter board. He also went on to win first place in both the 1 and 3-meter events with 306.14 and 291.31 respectively. Wendt’s 1-meter score was national qualifying and towered over SUNY Geneseo’s Wills DeMoulin by nearly 30 points.
David Petko, a second year International Business major, came in third on 1-meter with a score of 242.39 and fourth on 3-meter at 225.74. He, like Wendt, consistently scored well with the judges, receiving an 8 and a 7.5 on his inward one and a half pike.
On the women’s side, Cat Jones, a fourth year American Sign Language Interpretation major, put on a strong performance, scoring double 7s on her forward two and a half somersault tuck. She took third in both events scoring 218.54 on 1 meter and 232.04 on 3 meter.
As soon as the whistle blew at the other end of the pool fourth year Accounting major, Caitlin Burr, went on to break records. Burr finished the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 4:31.07, 13 seconds faster than her previous record and 18 seconds ahead of the competition. Burr kept up her speed and also placed first in the 200-fly with a time of 2:07.82.
Outside of individual competition, Burr continued to shine with her fellow 400-yard medley relay teammates. Burr, Jenna Hoffman, a first year Illustration major, Kerzia Hopson, a third year Diagnostic Medical Sonography major, and Rachel Lorenz, a second year Psychology major placed third in the race with a time of 4:11.13. Hopson went on to place third in both the 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard breaststroke with times of 1:10.30 and 2:34.78.
Lorenz and Burr’s winning streak didn’t end there. Then they paired up with first year Interior Design major Rachel Redfearn and second year Graphic Design major, Courtney Schwarting for another fast moving team. The quartet placed third in the 400-yard free medley relay with a finishing time of 4:11.13.
Despite great performances from the women’s swimmers and divers, in the end, the Lady Tigers fell to both SUNY Geneseo (226-73) and New Paltz (167-121).
The men’s swim and dive team held their own in a close match against New Paltz, defeating them by six points (150-144). However, they couldn’t get a leg up on SUNY Geneseo, falling to them, 211-89.
The stand out men’s swimmer was third year Hospitality major Jeff Kaemmerlen, taking first place in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 48.17 seconds. He also placed second in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:01.46. Kaemmerlen’s placing in these two events, along with Wendt’s diving performance, really helped to boost RIT for the win against New Paltz.
Third year AJ Broderick, an Electrial-Mechanical Engineering Technology major was another exceptional competitor for RIT. Broderick raced past 10 others to place second in the 200-freestyle with a time of 1:49.12. Even with 16 events happening between his first and second races, Broderick managed to stay on top of his game and keep up the pace to bring home second place in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:17.11.
The crowd could constantly be heard chanting, “Go! Go! Go!” as the swimmers neared the ends of their laps. And Kaemmerlen, Broderick and Wendt couldn’t have brought the team to victory against New Paltz alone. Several other swimmers helped reign in the points for RIT’s men’s team. First year Mechanical Engineering Technology major Ryan Brannan swam into third in the 100-yard butterfly, finishing with a time of 54.77 seconds. Frank Zelinger, a third year Mechanical Engineering major, raced in the 200-yard butterfly taking third as well, with a time of 2:05.09. In the 50-yard freestyle second year Physics major, Kevin Christiansen took third place with a time of 22.11 seconds.
This meet was alive with energy; with three colleges competing against one another, the stakes were high. The motion never stopped. Even on a 15-minute break the swimmers kept swimming and the divers kept diving, trying to stay warm and on their toes. It is with this intensity that the Tigers prepare for the next meet against the Nazareth Golden Flyers.
The swim and dive team’s next home meet will be on February 6 against Nazareth College.