Fordham Swim and Dive Caps Off Fantastic Season at the A-10 Tournament


The Fordham Swim and Dive teams both had exceptional seasons this year. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Saturday, Feb. 18 marked the end of the Atlantic 10 (A-10) swimming and diving tournament and also the end of Fordham’s season for the year. The Rams traveled to Ohio this holiday weekend to compete against other schools in their conference. The men’s team finished fifth out of eight total teams, with the women finishing fifth out of 11 total teams. This wraps up an incredible season for both the men and women. Although neither team took the top spot at the A-10 tournament, their regular season performances make this one of the best teams in recent memory. Overall for the season, the women finished with an undefeated record of 10-0. The men also had a strong season, ending up at a solid 8-1.

After the first day of competition on Wednesday, the men were tied for fourth with St. Bonaventure while the women sat in fifth. The tournament started with the 200 medley races. On the women’s side, a team consisting of sophomores Leire Martin, Emma Shaughnessy and Jessica Zebrowski and graduate student Megan Morris finished fourth with a time of 1:40.17. For the men’s team, freshman Christian Taylor, senior Nicholas Chao and graduate students Paris Raptis and Taras Zherebetskyy finished third with a time of 1:28.28. Both of these times set school records, with the men also taking home a bronze medal for their performance.

The men set another school record later on in the meet during the 800 freestyle relays. Sophomores Taz Kanjanakaset and Vitalis Onu and juniors Alex Wilhelm and Noah Altoff combined for a time of 6:37.94. Although they finished seventh, it was enough to break the previous record set last season.

The second day of competition saw excellent performances from both the men and women. The women made some headway in the standings, pushing themselves forward to third place in the tournament. Senior Clare Culver set a record time in the 500 freestyle event that had been held at Fordham for over a decade. Her time of 4:47.25 not only broke the school record but also earned her Second Team All-Atlantic 10 honors.

Although the men moved back in the standings to sixth after the second day of competition, they also set another school record during the day’s events. During the final event of the day, a 200 freestyle relay team of Raptis, Taylor, Zherebetskyy and sophomore Alexander Shah finished with a time of 1:20.14. This broke the previous record which had been set earlier this season at the Bucknell Invitational. In addition, this time was also enough to bring home a bronze medal for the team.

The next day of competition saw the men rally to move back up in the overall standings. Solid performances left them sitting in fourth overall after dropping to sixth the day before. Standout performances on the day came from Raptis and Wilhem. Raptis took home first in the 100 breaststroke, an event he had set a record time for during the preliminary round. Wilhelm placed fourth in the 200 freestyle event, breaking a school record in the process. Fordham also took first in the 400 medley relay, after George Washington University was disqualified upon official review.

After the third day, the women made no movement in the standings to remain in third overall. An impressive three bronze medals were awarded to the team throughout the course of the night. In the 400 individual medley, Martin took home a bronze medal with a time of 4:15.80. Shaughnessy earned third in the 100 breaststroke event with a time of 1:01.77.
Finally, in the 400 medley relay, the team finished third behind performances from L. Martin, Shaughnessy, Zebrowski and Morris.

In the diving events, graduate student Millie Haffety completed her dominant season with first place in the 3M event. Haffety has been a reliable component of the team all season, being rewarded for her efforts with a gold medal to end the season. School records continued to be broken on the final day of the tournament. In the 100 freestyle event, Zherebetskyy finished with a time of 43.79 to not only set a school record but win a silver medal. Altoff then set a new record in the 200 breaststroke event, finishing in sixth but setting a new school best of 1:59.07. In poetic fashion for an amazing season, the men set a school record and took home a gold medal in the 400 freestyle relay, which was the final event of the tournament. The Rams achieved this feat with great performances from Taylor, Wilhelm, Raptis and Zherebetskyy.

Despite more fantastic performances on the women’s side, they slid to fifth overall after the final day of competition. In the 1000 freestyle, Culver both set a new school record and came in third place in the event. This broke a record that she had set herself last season. Ainhoa Martin also broke a school record during the day’s events, finishing the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:11.98. Her performance also tacked on another silver medal to Fordham’s total.

The Fordham Rams may not have finished first at the A-10 tournament, but that does not diminish the magnitude of their regular season and the impressive accomplishments achieved this weekend. The men’s team earned 16 medals overall, with nine being gold. They also set school records in 11 different races. Meanwhile, the women won 10 total medals, with one of them being gold. Four new school records were set for the women throughout the tournament.

This has been an extremely memorable season for Fordham swim and dive. Strong performances, both individual and team, led to nearly flawless records for both the men and women. These solid outings carried over to the A-10 championship, where several medals and new school records emphasized the teams electric season. Fordham will now look to relax and enjoy their offseason heading into the spring. If the team can continue to build upon their success from this season, the future of the Fordham swim and dive program is extremely bright.