The men’s swimming and diving team traveled to Norton, Mass last weekend hoping to duplicate the women’s championship efforts. Though they fell short in their bid for the NEWMAC crown, they did put forth an admirable showing and were able to return to campus with a number of things to be excited about.
On the diving board sophomore Brian Sobel continued to handle his competition as easily as Barack Obama does a speech. The Stratford, Conn native saved his best performance to date for the conference’s grandest stage.
Sobel’s weekend saw him complete dives that created new school, conference, and pool records as well as establishing the best score to date nationally.
The SC diver had already garnered conference diver of the week honors eight times, and was name the NEWMAC Diver of the Year after his performance at Wheaton College last weekend.
Sobel’s teammates have already taken notice of his immense talent.
“His dives are so complex you first wonder how and what he is doing and then you get amazed when enters the water perfectly, like a cat landing on its feet when dropped from any height,” said senior captain Greg Pearsall. “Sobel deserves every award he’s received, and more. He is a class act.”
Pearsall also sang appropriate praise for several of Sobel’s diving companions. “Sobel, (Matt) Fitzgerald, and (Tyler) Gunningsmith along with the diving staff headed by Pete Avdoulos are just amazing.
"It is an honor to be on the same team as these guys, and I can’t wait to see what they can do at the next level. They always find a way to wow me.”
Fitzgerald and Gunningsmith spent the weekend proving that SC’s diving program was as amazing as he advertised. The claimed the second and third spots, respectively, in the whole conference. With Sobel taking his place on top the best three divers in the NEWMAC all called their home pool the Linkletter Natatorium.
The team’s success wasn’t limited just to the divers. The swimmers-individuals and relays- enjoyed their share of success last weekend as well. Pearsall claimed the conference title in the 50 free with a time of 20.46.
The time registered as the third best in the country this year, and he automatically qualified for NCAA championships which will be held over spring break in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
His own success allowed the All-American to achieve a goal he had set for himself. “I have just always wanted to be at the top of podium ever since I started swimming here. It is a great honor and I can’t wait to represent SC in Minnesota,” said Pearsall.
Brian Way was another individual who realized incredible success in the racing lanes for the Pride. He won the 200 Individual Medley with a time of 1:54.33-which set a NEWMAC record and also qualified the freshman for NCAA “B” cuts, meaning he has a chance to join Pearsall in the pool for nationals.
Way also set a school mark in the 400 Indivdial Medley, again qualifying for the “B” cuts. The first year collegian has already established himself as a force to be reckoned with.
“People around the country are going to remember his name and they better watch out for him,” said Pearsall. “He has great goals and works very hard, which always results in great things.”
Additionally, the team saw relay success during the NEWMAC meet. The 200 medley team, made up of Ryan Mackstutis, Andrew Blakesly, Anthony Bruno, and Pearsall, finished third overall and also earned another “B” cut for the Pride.
The 200 free team of Pearsall, Mackstutis, Blakesly, and Matt Manoni took a second place finish while also earning a “B” cut.
The team finished third overall with 613 points. Finishing ahead of the Springfield College swimmer’s and diver’s were Coast Guard with 784.5 points, and conference champion MIT who recorded 1,030.
The team will find out at the end of the week how many of their “B” cut athletes will get the opportunity to join Pearsall, as well as Sobel, in representing SC in Minnesota.