M. and W. Swimming compete against tough D-I opponents

By EMILIE HOFFER | October 26, 2017

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HOPKINSSPORTS.COM The Hopkins women’s swim team broke two school records on Friday.

Both the men’s and women’s swim teams headed to Annapolis, Md., this past Friday for some tough competition against D-I opponents: the United States Naval Academy Midshipmen (Mids) and the Towson University Tigers.

In just their second meet of the season, the Blue Jays fell to the Midshipmen and the Tigers in team scores but still managed some impressive individual swims.

“This is a tough meet every year for us because of the intense competition,” senior Gwynnie LaMastra said. “As a team, we really rose to the occasion and were able to compete at a D-I level.”

Two weeks ago LaMastra was honored as the CollegeSwimming National Division III Women’s Swimmer of the Week after sweeping the breaststroke events in the season opener at the College of William & Mary on Oct. 7.

This meet was no different. LaMastra paced the Jays, finishing second in the 200 Individual Medley against Towson, second in the 100 Breast against the Mids, second in the 200 Breast and second as a member of the 200 Medley Relay against both the Tigers and the Mids.

Helping LaMastra lead the Jays through the competitive atmosphere was senior Courtney Cowan. Cowan broke the Hopkins dual-meet record in the 200 Fly with a time of 2:06.54, which was good enough for second against the Tigers and third against Navy.

Cowan, who was recently honored by CollegeSwimming as the Independent Swimmer of the Week after the season-opener against W&M, also took a pair of second-place finishes in the 500 Free against both Navy and Towson and contributed to a third-place finish as a member of the 200 Medley Relay.

The Blue Jays also received some impressive performances from freshmen freestyle swimmers. Amy Pearson led the team in the 1000 Free with a time of 10:37.42 to place her in second against Towson and fourth against Navy.

Fellow freshman Emma McElrath swam the 200 Free in 1:54.91 to pace the Jays and placed second against Towson and third against Navy in just her second career meet.

The Blue Jays ended the day with yet another dual meet record, this time in the 200 Medley Relay. Led by a seasoned veteran, senior Anna Wisniewski, the team included three underclassman­­­ — sophomore Alison Shapiro, sophomore Sonia Lin and freshman Mikayla Bisignani — impressively setting a new program record with a time of 1:37.

“We have been through about a month and a half of intense training, with our coaches really trying to prepare us for our midseason meet coming up in December,” LaMastra said. “Overall, the women’s team really stepped up with the dual meet records.

On the men’s side, sophomore Brandon Fabian led the Blue Jays with impressive wins in both the 200 and the 500 Frees against Navy and Towson.

“The men’s team threw down some seriously impressive times to really put us on the map in the beginning of the season,” LaMastra said.

Fabian took the individual title in the 200 Free by nearly two seconds, touching the wall with a time of 1:40.76. Later he followed with another impressive first-place finish in the 500 Free, clocking in at 4:37.90.

Fabian took his third win of the night as a member of the 200 Free Relay, along with freshman Nathaniel Davenport, senior Mark Wilson and junior Alex Carson.

The team ended the night on a high note for the Blue Jays, beating out both the Midshipmen and the Tigers for the win.

Also highlighting the meet for the men, Carson was the top Blue Jay finisher in the 100 Back with a time of 52.61, which gave him second against the Tigers and fourth against the Mids.

Wilson led the Jays in the 50 Free sprint, touching the wall in 21.77 for third against the Tigers and fourth against Navy.

Meanwhile in the distance events, junior Erik Bostrom paced the Jays, taking third-place in the 1000 Free against Navy and second against Towson.

In just his second collegiate meet, freshman Noah Frassrand had an impressive showing for the Jays, leading the team in the 200 Breast with a time of 2:09.38, which landed him a second place finish against the Tigers and a fourth place finish against the Mids.

Later, in the 200 Individual Medley, Frassrand was the top-finisher for the Blue Jays, placing third against the Tigers.

After the meet, Head Coach Scott Armstrong spoke to HopkinsSports about the team’s performance against the Midshipmen and the Tigers.

“Our Blue Jays battled through an extra tough week of training and stepped up to the challenge against some great D-I competition,” Armstrong said. “We learned a lot, but were enthused to see the progress from two weeks ago.”

The Blue Jays will have two weeks to recover before they are back in the pool on Friday, Nov. 3, for the annual Thomas Murphy Invitational.

Hosted by Loyola University, the Blue Jays will travel up N. Charles Street to take on the Greyhounds and the Drexel University Dragons.

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