By Joseph Carosi
The Roger Williams University men’s and women’s swimming and diving team suffered its first loss of the season against Bentley University at home last Friday. The teams earned a total of 205 points to Bentley’s 269 points.
Even though the season has just begun for swimming there have already been some strong performances by both the men’s and women’s teams. The season started off well for RWU, placing first out of six teams in the CCC Invitational meet. They followed up that performance with a strong showing against New England rival Keene State College. The Hawks would go on to win that meet 168-124. Last week, juniors Mackenzie Webber and David Kitchen earned the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association (NEISDA) weekly award for their performances against Keene State College. With this strong start the teams look to build off of their success from last season, and bring home a championship for the Hawks.
The meet started off well for both teams as they would cruise to a first place win in the 200-yard medley relay. Juniors Hannah Nolte and Abigail Sousa, and seniors Andrea Almandoz and Margaret Pegno, were the swimmers representing the women’s team for the event. They would finish the medley with a time of 1:54.57. Following in the women’s footsteps were the men who would finish the medley with a final time of 1:38.87. Sophomores Hunter Olson and Gabe Pasqualucci, senior David Kitchen, and freshman Mike Sannicandro represented the men’s team in the event.
Continuing to put up points for the women’s team was sophomore Gabrielle Peilka. She placed second in the 1000-yard freestyle with a final time of 11:26.93. Other Hawks contributing points to the scoreboard were freshman Allison Surian, finishing the race with a final time of 11:37.22, and senior Brittany Cuevas, who finished with a final time of 11:56.11. Unlike the 200-yard medley, the men’s team did not earn points in this event.
Perhaps the strongest event for the women at the meet was the 200-yard freestyle. The Hawks took first, second, and third place in this event. Leading the way for the team was junior Shantelle Richards. She finished the race just three milliseconds over the 2-minute mark with a final time of 2:00.03. Trailing her closely was senior Andrea Almandoz, who finished right behind Richards with a final time of 2:00.92. Freshman Erin Callahan closed out the top three for this race with a time of 2:01.52. The strongest finish for the men’s team in this event was sophomore Hunter Olson who finished the race in third place with a final time of 1:46.98.
The rest of the day was owned mostly by the men’s team. The men saw a lot of success in the 50-yard freestyle event. Sophomore Gabe Pasqualucci took first place with a time of 22.16. Following him with a strong second place showing was freshman Mike Sannicandro, who finished the race with a final time of 22.39. The next big race for the men’s team was the 400-yard individual medley (IM). David Kitchen would come up strong again for the men’s team placing first in the event with a final time of 4:25.08. Finishing in second place for the team was freshman John Babuka, who completed the race with a final time of 4:25.43. The women’s team saw a strong performance from senior Shannon Earley who finished the race in second with a time of 4:41.56.
Closing out the day was Kitchen who took the final first place finish for the day in the 200-yard breaststroke. He would finish with a time of 2:15.81.
The Hawks will be back in the pool on Friday when they will travel to Norton, Massachusetts to take on the Wheaton College Lyons.