Swimming outdoes tough Division-I competition in two meets

By SIMONE BLISS | October 24, 2019

Hopkins swimming faced tough Division-I competition this weekend in Annapolis, Md. and Newark, Del., but they proved that they were more than up for the challenge. 

Day one on the women’s end was highlighted by two first-place finishes by senior Kiki Petersen, one in the 50 Free (23.59) and the other in the 100 Free (51.27), posting National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) B times for both. To kick off the meet, Petersen, sophomore Sydney Okubo, senior Sonia Lin and sophomore Rebecca Ssengonzi teamed up for the 200 Medley Relay, earning the Jays a fifth-place finish (1:45.74). Right after, sophomore Elaine Lipkin took second in the 1000 Free, touching in at 10:26.20 and posting the eighth fastest time in program history. Lipkin went on to finish sixth (4:32.77) in the 400 IM. Junior Emma McElrath took the highest finish for Hopkins in the 200 Free, finishing 10th (1:55.52). Later in the meet she posted another top-10 finish at seventh (5:10.92) in the 500 Free.

Okubo and Sonia Lin both had quite the day individually, taking second in the 100 Back (57.05) and fifth in the 100 Breast (1:06.04) respectively. Okubo also went on to claim her own NCAA B time after finishing second in the 400 IM (4:30.38).

Three Blue Jays posted top times in the 200 Fly. Freshman Emerson Davis (2:05.11) and senior Michelle Wang (2:05.37) posted NCAA B times by placing fifth and sixth, and Ssengonzi swam in at ninth (2:08.30). Wang went on to snag another top-10 time in the 100 Free (52.38), coming in seventh.

In the last of the individual events, sophomore Kristen Alicea-Jorgensen placed fifth (24.24) and junior Mikayla Bisignani placed seventh (24.29) in the 50 Free. Davis then swiped the top Blue Jay finish in the 100 Fly with a time of 58.10, coming in 11th place.

On the men’s side, the gentle-Jays followed in the wake of the women, starting off the meet with their own fifth-place finish in the 200 Medley Relay. This race featured sophomore Maxwell Chen, freshman Tristan Lin, sophomore Jeffrey Vitek and junior Nat Davenport to clock in for a time of 1:33.24. This group continued to bring home the bacon for the Blue Jays throughout the night. Chen took third in the 100 Breast (56.46), Vitek grabbed fourth in the 200 Fly (1:52.79), and Tristan Lin swooped eighth place in the 100 Free (47.29).

In the 1000 Free, the Blue Jays took sixth and eighth through freshman Alec Caswell (9:50.78) and sophomore Mitchell Simmons (9:57.17). Next, sophomore Collin Hughes took sixth in the 200 Free (1:41.87). Hughes also went on to take eighth place in the 500 Free (4:42.75). The sophomore class wasn’t done representing, though. Sophomores Dylan Wachenfeld and Noah Corbitt followed their classmate to grab third (52.52) and fourth (52.98) in the 100 Back, respectively. Wachenfield also placed third in the 200 Back (1:51.09), and Corbitt placed fifth in the 100 Free (46.41).

The upperclassmen came through as well. Junior Marcelo Lauzurique and senior Jasper Van Cauwelaert nabbed seventh (58.35) and 10th (1:00.95) in the 100 Breast, respectively.

To finish the night off, the Blue Jays had two teams take spots in the top five in the 400 Free Relay. Corbitt, Hughes, Davenport and freshman Kyle Wu worked to take third place (3:07.01), and Chen, Simmons, junior Noah Frassrand and Vitek finished fifth with 3:12.94.

Coach Armstrong spoke on the night overall. 

“It was a great night with the team setting five dual meet records! It was a top to bottom effort, but we are really excited for two more great teams to race tomorrow.”

The Blue Jays came into day two ready to face more Division-I competition against University of Delaware and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

On Saturday, the Blue Jays sent the previous day’s 400 Medley Relay team of Okubo, Sonia Lin, Ssengonzi and Petersen back into the water for the same event. This proved to be the right move, as the women emerged from the pool in first place. Next up was the 1000 Free. With junior Emma McElrath and freshman Rayna Saldanha in the pool, the Blue Jays were able to grab third and sixth (10:53.01, 11:03.67) place.

Wang managed to wrangle second in the 200 Free, touching in at 1:54.19. Wang later won the 200 Back with a time of 2:04.48. In that same race, the Blue Jays managed to secure two more top-five positions through freshman Renee Liu and McElrath, placing second and fifth respectively (2:04.83, 2:08.60).

Liu came back for more in the 100 Back, swimming a 58.03 to take the whole race. Sonia Lin won the 100 Breast at 1:06.58. Not long after, she was back in the pool for the 200 Breast, scoring a second-place finish at 2:25.14.

Alicea-Jorgensen won first in the 50 Free (24.44), — with Bisignani finishing just behind her (fourth, 25.01) — and got fourth in the 100 Free (53.31).

Petersen continued her winning record from the day prior by winning the 100 Free (51.75). 

In the 500 Free, Lipkin raced to win the whole thing, touching in at 5:07.47. Ssengonzi took third in the 100 Fly (58.14) while Cortez followed in fifth (59.71). 

After that, the Blue Jays closed the meet with a bang, finishing first and fifth in the 400 Free Relay and winning the day overall. The team of Petersen, Alicea-Jorgensen, sophomore Sophia Girgenti and Wang won the relay (3:30.22) while Liu, junior Carmela Irato, Sonia Lin and Bisignani touched in behind them (3:39.45).

For the men, the Blue Jays sent two teams to battle in the 400 Medley Relay and both emerged in the top five. Wachenfeld, Tristan Lin, Vitek and Davenport took second with a time of 3:26.65. Junior Matt McGough, freshman Wu, senior Matthew Garza and Corbitt took fifth with a time of 3:31.15.

After that, the Blue Jays pulled off a top-two finish in the 200 Free through Corbitt (1:40.10) and sophomore Collin Hughes (1:41.79). Later that night, Corbitt won the 500 Free, coming in at 4:37.17.

In the 100 Back, Wachenfeld nabbed third with a time of 52.73. Wachenfeld was back in the pool later for yet another backstroke race, the 200 Back, where he finished second (1:52.28).

The Blue Jays dominated the 100 Breast. Tristan Lin won the race with a 57.24. Lauzurique took second (57.52), with Wu (57.98, third) and junior Noah Frassrand (59.94, fifth) close behind.

Vitek took second in both the 100 and 200 Fly, finishing the 100 in 51.63 and the 200 Fly in 1:53.30.

The Blue Jays then posted more top finishes in the 100 free. Hughes took second (46.94), followed by Wu in fourth (47.57) and Davenport in sixth (47.83). 

In the 200 IM, the Blue Jays left only fifth and beyond for their opponents, claiming first through fourth for their own. Wu took the race (1:54.91), and McGough (1:56.89), Tristan Lin (1:57.10) and Frassrand (1:58.28) swam in after.  

The Blue Jays closed the meet with the 400 Free Relay. Corbitt, Davenport, Vitek and Hughes won the race itself with a time of 3:07.76. Wachenfeld, Simmons, freshman Steven Rua and freshman Spencer Ryan finished in 3:15.20 to take third. 

Bisignani commented on how proud she is of the team after this weekend.

“It is not easy to swim two full meets in back-to-back days,” she said. “Neither of the teams we competed against on Saturday also had meets on Friday night as well, so to bring the amount of enthusiasm and fast swimming that we did is truly an accomplishment. We are also proud of our team’s versatility and depth; it was really exciting to see a lot of incredible swims by teammates in events that were starkly different from their usual lineup.”

This marks the first time the Blue Jays women’s swimming has beaten Delaware since 1978 and just the second time in history. It was also their first win versus UMBC since 2002. For the men, the Jays are now 6-4 against Delaware.

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