Swim and Dive Competes in Final Dual Meet


Fordham Swimming and Diving hosted its final home meet of the season. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

The Fordham swim and dive team traveled to Amherst this weekend to take on Massachusetts University in their final dual meet of the season. The match yielded up-and-down results, as the women claimed victory with a score of 173-126, while the men fell to the Minutemen, 207-86.

The women dominated the day, with 11 total events going in favor of the Rams. Vaula Vekkeli, the junior transfer from Wingate University, played a major role in these victories, with three individual wins (taking first in the 100 breaststroke, 1:06.50, 200 breaststroke, 2:24.62 and the 200 individual medley, 2:06.85). She continued her incredible afternoon as a part of the winning 200 medley relay team (1:47.90), along with junior Michelle Martin, sophomore Kiara Norris and senior Theresa Mullen.

Martin, from Monterey Park, California, also chipped in, with two individual wins on top of two medley victories. She touched first in the 50 freestyle (23.69) and 100 butterfly (56.33), and won with the senior trio of Samantha McDonald, Paulina Watson and Theresa Mullen in the 200 freestyle relay (1:36.41).

This caps an incredible season of meets for the women, going 10-1. Their only loss came to Boston College, by a margin of one point.

The men fell to UMass Amherst 207-86, highlighted by two event winners. Josh Stegen, the sophomore from South Africa, was the first of these two, touching first in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:43.81. Junior Patrick Wilson also headlined the 200 breaststroke, finishing ahead of the pack at 2:08.19.

Stegen and Wilson both were a part of the second-place 200 freestyle relay, along with senior Kevin Berry and junior Bryce Bolleson (1:25.65).

A.J. Frakes, the sophomore from Phoenix, Arizona, had this to say about their final head-to-head matchup: “A lot of people went into it looking at it as a stepping stone towards the (A-10 Championship). The environment was very positive, we wanted to go in, do our best and win. The season was almost over, but we wanted to perform.”

Frakes, who competed in five events at the Atlantic 10 Championship as a freshman, certainly has more to look forward to. However, the same cannot be said about his teammates, whose winters end without a trip to the tournament. Frates elaborated on what this team meant, and what they were able to accomplish in a season with a great deal of turnover.

“Coming into the season, everything was very new, as there were a lot of changes made to the team. The expectations were really anything. We knew we would be good, and we would compete, but we didn’t know the extent of that, which I think we surprised ourselves with.”

Looking ahead, Fordham heads downtown to compete in the NYU Winter Invite, with the Rams competing on Feb. 7 and 8. This is the last time they compete ahead of the A-10 Championship at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio, beginning on Feb. 19.