Swimming dominates Big Four rivals at WNY Invite
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
After six weeks of intense training and competing against each other, the athletes on the swimming team finally exemplified their effort, as they opened the 2012-13 season in impressive fashion.
The Bulls walked away from the WNY Invite on Saturday having won 28 of the 34 events in the non-scoring meet against Big Four rivals Niagara, Canisius and St. Bonaventure.
“The training’s been tough,” said junior Katelyn Grimm. “We have not been taking it easy in the weight room and on dry land, practicing 20 hours a week on average. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, we have [two-a-day workouts] – one at 6 a.m. and then again at 3 p.m. To have everyone step up and do well today is really nice.”
Senior Brittney Kuras earned first-team All-Mid-American Conference honors following her junior season. She later qualified for four events at the Olympic trails.She picked up right where she left off at the WNY Invite, as she finished in first for three of 17 events in the women’s meet.
She placed first in the 500-yard freestyle, finishing in 4:59.48, the 200-yard freestyle in 1:52.66 and the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:25.09.
With three more victories by sophomore Spencer Rodriguez, the Bulls were the clear superior squad. Rodriguez took both individual medley races, winning the 200-yard in 2:08.00 and the 400-yard in 4:33.78, along with a 200-yard breaststroke win in 1:06.90.
Both women’s relay teams were victorious, as they won the 200-yard medley relay and 200-yard freestyle. The women’s 200-yard medley team, anchored by junior Marissa Murphy, won in 1:47.70.
“A lot of people were right there, where they should be,” said head coach Andy Bashor. “But we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Like the women, the men also won both relays. The 200-yard medley relay team finished in 1:33.25, while the 200-yard freestyle team won with a time of 1:26.73.
Individually, junior Eric Culver won the 500-yard freestyle and came in first for the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:48.35. In 2010-11, he finished with Buffalo’s fastest-ever mark in the event, 9:32.54 against St. Bonaventure.
Junior Mike Dugan, an All-MAC honoree last season, claimed the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle in 20.76 and 46.09, respectively. Senior Matt Schwippert, another preseason first-team All-MAC honoree, took the backstroke events with a time of 52.21 in the 100-yard race and 1:52.12 in the 200-yard event.
Both teams delivered some notable performances in their first meets of the season. The athletes are hopeful this year, especially with a big crowd of new faces added to the team.
“We had a lot of freshman coming in,” Grimm said. “In the spring, we did lose some valuable seniors but I’m really confident in the girls that have came in. Alexis [Swies] is very strong and will really help us out in the distance.[Freshman] Holly Olsen is a really strong breaststroker. She came from Canada, so she’s used to swimming meters. Having her come to yards might be trouble at first but she did really well.”
The men’s team has four freshmen, which will only add to the team’s depth.
“We only lost three or four seniors,” said senior Christian Muller. “We got four or five guys that came in. Most of them are strong. They put up some pretty good times today, so it seems like we are going to have a good season.”
Bashor praised the team and believes it will only get better, as the Bulls will open the dual meet season on Oct. 27 at 1 p.m. at Alumni Arena. They will host Cornell.
“We just have to keep practicing,” Bashor said. “It’s only been seven weeks. We still have another 17 weeks left or so. It keeps getting better. Week in, week out.”