HOPKINSSPORTS.COM Senior Gwynnie LaMastra swept both breaststroke events at William & Mary.
Last Saturday, the Hopkins women’s and men’s swim teams traveled to the College of William & Mary (W&M) for their first meet of the season. Although both teams came out with a loss, there were still several impressive performances recorded on both sides.
For the women, senior Gwynnie LaMastra led the Jays with her breaststroke sweep. Meanwhile on the men’s side, sophomore transfer Brandon Fabian made his Hopkins debut with an individual win in the 200 Free.
“Both the women and men had some really strong season-opening swims,” Junior Erik Bostrom said. “Even though we lost, W&M is a great D-I program, and I think coming in as underdogs we were able to prove ourselves as a worthy competitor,”
The women began their season with second and fourth-place finishes in the 200 Medley Relay.
Junior Natalia Rincon, LaMastra, senior Anna Wisniewski and freshman Mikayla Bisignani took second, while the all-sophomore team of Michelle Wang, Sonia Lin, Lauren Harris and Alison Shapiro claimed fourth.
Shapiro appreciated the competitive spirit William & Mary brought on Saturday. Despite falling short in a few races, Shapiro thought the day was a great experience, especially since they have been back training as a team for only a month.
“We’ve been training really hard, and so we just wanted to see where we are so early in the season,” Shapiro said. “We wanted to go in, race and hopefully be faster than we were at this point last year.”
Freshmen Emma McElrath and Amy Pearson kicked off the individual events with third and fourth-place finishes, respectively in the 1000 Free.
Senior Courtney Cowan took the individual title in the 200 Free. Clocking in at 1:52.29, Cowan smoked her opponents by more than three seconds and posted an NCAA provisional time.
Wang followed Cowan with a third-place finish. The Jays also finished well in the 100 Back, with Wisniewski and freshman Carmela Irato taking second and sixth, respectively.
LaMastra won her first breaststroke event of the day: the individual 100. She outswam William & Mary’s freshman Megan Bull by a convincing 1.34 seconds.
Senior Sara Wujciak also raced in the 100 Breast, finishing in fourth, just missing third by one-hundredth of a second.
After her teammates raced in the 200 Fly, 50 Free, 100 Free and 200 Back, LaMastra came out again to complete her sweep with a victory in the individual 200 Breast.
Finishing in 2:21.60, she earned an NCAA provisional time and beat second-place finisher Shannon Harrington from William & Mary by more than three seconds.
In addition to her noteworthy performance this past weekend, LaMastra was recently named College Swimming National Division-III Women’s Swimmer of the Week.
Senior Kaitlin Jones ended the individual events on a high note for the Jays, winning the 500 Free in 5:02.39.
The Blue Jays wrapped up the day with second and fifth-place finishes in the 400 Free Relay.
The team of Wisniewski, Shapiro, Cowan and Pearson finished in second with a time of 3:32.58. Rincon, sophomore Bailey Robertson, junior Emily Cheng and Bisignani took fifth with a time of 3:40.30.
“William & Mary is a really great D-I program, and though we lost, the meet was much closer than expected. Going forward, continuing to be competitive while racing D-I programs like William & Mary is definitely important,” Shapiro said.
After reflecting on the team’s first meet of the season, Shapiro is hopeful about the team’s ability to achieve their end-of-season goal.
“Our big goal for the end of the season is to have a strong team at Nationals and finish in the top five. The team swam really well for so early in the season,” Shapiro said. “We’re much faster than we were this time last year and have been training hard. Hopefully this foreshadows a really successful rest of the season.”
Meanwhile, for the men, the Jays started the day with third and fifth-place finishes in the 200 Medley Relay. Afterwards were the individual events, where Bostrom and freshman Christopher Arena took third and fourth in the 1000 Free, respectively.
Fabian took the individual title in the 200 Free, competing in his very first meet for the Jays. He outswam his competition by more than two seconds. Junior Michael Wohl, who also raced in the 200 Free, finished in fifth.
Other standout moments included junior Emile Kuyl’s second-place finish in the 100 Breast; senior Kyle Otazu’s second-place finish in the 200 Fly; and freshman Marcelo Lauzurique’s second place finish in the 200 Breast.
Fabian came out again to compete in the 100 Free, where he placed second with a time of 46.63. Senior Mark Wilson and junior Alex Carson followed, taking fifth and sixth, respectively.
Then, in the 500 Free, Otazu earned his second second-place finish on the day, clocking in at 4:46.03. In the 100 Fly, Wilson took second, touching the wall in 51.27.
To finish up the day, Hopkins took second and fifth-place finishes in the 400 Free Relay. Unfortunately, these finishes were not enough to pull the Blue Jays ahead in the team score, as William & Mary claimed a 194-68 victory over Hopkins.
“This fall we’re going to be racing a bunch of really good D-I programs like Navy, Loyola and Towson, as well as NYU for D-III,” Bostrom said. “With that experience, I think we’re going to set ourselves up for a fantastic championship meet at Princeton in December.”
Despite the loss, the Jays have high hopes for the improvement that is to come throughout the season.
“As a team, we’re excited to try and qualify as many as we can for NCAAs, and I think our team is looking very competitive this year,” Bostrom said.
Both the women’s and men’s team will travel to Annapolis, Md. to face off against Navy and Towson in their next meet on Friday, Oct. 20.