Lexington, Kentucky - The Wittenberg University men's and women's swimming & diving squads wrapped up competition on Sunday at the University of Kentucky's Lancaster Aquatic Center with a pair of strong team finishes at the annual Transylvania Invitational.
On the men's side the Tigers accumulated 247 team points to finish fifth out of nine teams, while the women's team picked up 222 total points to finish seventh in the nine-team field. Rose-Hulman picked up the team title in the men's competition with 1,003.5 points, while Rhodes topped the leaderboard in the women's competition with 850 total points.
In the women's competition, junior Marita Banta-Long had a banner weekend for the Red & White as she competed in two "A" final events and also picked up a victory in a consolation final heat. She opened the two-day meet by winning the consolation finals of the 200 IM with a time of 2:14.77, before finishing sixth overall in the championship heat of both the 200 fly (2:20.35) and 100 fly (1:01.76). Two additional women's athletes picked up individual wins in three different consolation final events, highlighted by junior Annelise Gibson taking the top spot in both the 100 breast (1:09.69) and 200 breast (2:40.06). Freshman Abigail Dunasky once again showed her strength in the distance freestyle events by winning the "B" finals of the 500 with a time of 5:23.55 and finishing third overall in the "timed final" 1,650 event with a time of 18:31.37. Senior Morgan Siefert also competed in both distance freestyle events, finishing eighth in the "B" finals of the 500 (5:45.05) and 10th overall in the 1,650 with a time of 19:11.73. Siefert also added an eighth-place showing in the "B" finals of the 200 back after reaching the wall in 2:26.79. The women's team also had three additional student-athletes collect points in consolation heats, including junior Claire Bergefurd finishing fourth in the 100 free (57.80), freshman Sophia Spriggs finishing fifth in the 100 fly (1:05.28) and sophomore Breann Webb placing eighth in the 200 breast with a time of 2:55.57.
"Great weekend to be a Tiger. The team competed well. We had a lot of season best times and even a few personal bests without having a complete rest or taper" said interim head coach Noah Moran. "Really happy with how they responded physically. Best of all was seeing the swimmers and divers smile and enjoy themselves. Even when we didn't hit the dive or go the time we wanted, they are realizing how connected we are in the program. The camaraderie and shared pride for each other was evident."
For the men, four different swimmers posted eighth-place finishes in the "A" finals of the championship-style meet, including sophomore Connor Flanagan in the 200 back (2:09.63), sophomore Trey Gregory in the 200 fly (1:59.77), junior Bradley Barren in the 50 free (22.12) and finally freshman Noah Curry in the 200 free with a time of 1:48.73. Among that grouping of athletes, Barren also went on to take the top spot in the consolation finals in the 100 free with a time of 48.58 while Curry was the runner-up in the "B" finals of the 50 free (22.15) and Gregory hit the wall second in the "B" finals of the 100 fly (52.40). In addition to Barren's consolation final win, freshman Anthony Petruzzi also notched the top showing in the "B" finals of the 400 IM with a winning time of 4:27.98. Petruzzi also finished 13th overall in the "timed final" 1,650 freestyle with an overall time of 17:40.69. The men's team also had a pair of finishers in the "B" finals of both the 500 free and the 100 back. In the 500 free, Petruzzi finished 5th in the consolation heat with a time of 4:57.94, while junior Nick Angeli finished eighth overall in 5:11.78. In the 100 back, Flanagan was the runner-up in the "B" finals with a time of 59.24, while freshman Casey Conrad finished fifth overall in 1:02.84. Rounding out the individual achievements for the men's team were freshman Benjamin Hongell finishing 5th in the "B" finals of the 200 IM (2:03.94) and Conrad taking the sixth spot in the consolation heat of the 200 back with a time of 2:13.61. The Tigers also had a trio of fifth-place showings in the relay competition, including the 200 free (1:29.62), 800 free (7:26.38) and the 400 free (3:17.51).
The Wittenberg swimming & diving programs will now take a few weeks off from competition, before returning to the pool in mid-December for their annual Winter Training Trip, set for December 15-23 at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida.