Swimming and Diving Roll Past Manhattan in Return to Competition

Fordham Swimming and Diving is back in the water again, making an immediate impact with a number of multi-event winners in the men’s and women’s commanding victories over Manhattan College.


The men’s and women’s teams dominated their first meet in two years. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

It had been 601 days since the Fordham men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams had been able to compete. Last year, COVID-19 restrictions did not even allow for the swimmers to get in the pool together. Now, the Rams are back in action. This past weekend, they faced off against Manhattan College in their first home meet since 2019. 

There have been two classes of swimmers who have not had the opportunity to compete yet for Fordham. Last year’s class was small, with only two sophomore men and three sophomore women. Head coach Steve Potsklan recruited a lot more freshmen this year, hoping to get back to the intensity that the team had from the year before the pandemic. On the women’s side, the incoming class includes 10 swimmers and the men’s team is 14 swimmers strong. With 24 incoming freshmen and a couple of graduate students, Fordham expects a strong season ahead.

In their first meet this weekend, the Rams swept Manhattan at home. The Fordham women took every event, five of them winning multiple events. Graduate student Becky Kamau won the 50 and the 100 breaststroke events in her first meet competing for Fordham coming from Northwestern University. Senior Victoria Navarro won both the 50 and 100 butterfly as she also competed in her first meet for Fordham, despite it being her second year with the team.

Freshman Emilie Krog won both the 500 and 1000 freestyle events, also marking her first competition with the team. Senior diver Natalie Ortof placed first in both the one meter and three meter diving events. 

As for individual wins, junior Clare Culver crushed the competition in the 200 freestyle, and her teammate freshman Madeline Bergin won the 50 freestyle. Freshman Alex Antonov won the 100 freestyle, and graduate student Vaula Vekkeli won the 100 individual medley.

The men also wrote a similar story, as four individuals were multi-event winners. Junior Ethan Murray finished first in both the 200 and 500 freestyle events. Senior Spencer Clarke won both the 50m backstroke and the 100 individual medley. Freshman Kevin Zahariev won both the 50 and 100 breaststroke, showing his aggression in his first Fordham meet. Freshman Vitalis Onu did the same, winning the 100 butterfly and the 100 freestyle. 

The men also had many individual wins. Freshman Evan Trout won the 1000 freestyle, junior Nicholar Chao won the 50 freestyle and freshman Len Ray pulled off the win in the 100 butterfly event. 

In talking about how good it felt to be able to compete, Navarro said, “After transferring, you are eager to compete for your team, but we did not get a chance to go that last year. To be honest, that was really tough mentally, but it also got me more excited for this year. I was able to surprise myself with how it went on Friday, but that one dual meet got me really excited for my last season.” 

The Rams are getting ready to compete again on both Thursday and Friday of this week and both at home.