Men’s and women’s swim and take home silver and bronze at Patriot league Championships

Charlotte Dursee, Staff Writer

On Feb. 16, the Bison men’s and women’s swim and dive teams competed in the Patriot League championship in Annapolis, Maryland. The Orange and Blue left Maryland successful with the women’s team placed second overall and the men placed third. After not having a normal championship last year, “everyone was very pumped for [the] meet” said Leo Kuyl ’23

On opening night, the women’s relay teams helped lead the Bison to take third place with 64 points behind Navy (80) and Army West Point (66). The women’s 800 freestyle relay team took second, led by Maddie Hartigan ’22, Kayla Lichtner ’24, Caroline McGann ’24, and Sabrina Vumbacco ’23. Their time of 7:18.70 is the second-fastest time in school history. The 200 medley relay team also broke the school record with a time of 1:41.95. The achievement was led by Esme Hunter ’24, Abby Doss ’24, Alexis Faria ’22, and Sophia Donati ’23.

Faria spoke on the team’s success this weekend. “Going into Patriots we were super excited to see what we could do after a very successful regular season. We brought a ton of energy to the pool deck and created a great atmosphere that allowed us to perform at our peak and end the meet as runner ups behind the naval academy. This was a huge goal of ours and we were thrilled to be able to accomplish it. Every individual on the team brings something special to our program and we are excited to put our hard work to the test for one final time this weekend. We will be sure to have a ton of fun and be the loudest team on deck!” Faria said. 

The men’s team also finished third on the opening night of the championship with 82 points, also behind Navy (124) and Army West Point (115). The 200 medley relay school record was beaten by swimmers Chris Fabian ’24, Ryaan Hatoum ’23, Liam Pitt ’22 and Kuyl. The 800 freestyle relay also placed third with a time of 6:30.50, second in school history. The swimmers in the race were John Gehrig ’24, Justin DiSanto ’25, Christian Stef ’23 and Chris Kopac ’25. The dive team also contributed crucial points to the Bison’s medal placing. Will Cadwallader ’22 took eighth and Nick Pirone ’23 took 10th in the 3-meter dive.

The second day was huge for Hartigan, who placed first and beat her own school record in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:45.85. Hartigan beat the 2019 and 2020 champion for this event. Hartigan was joined by Vumbacco on the podium, who placed third in the same event, with the Bison’s second-fastest in school history (4:48.90). Crucial points were also earned in the 200 IM ‘A’ finals, the Bison being represented by Doss (fifth) and Hunter (eighth). McGann also won the 500 freestyle consolation finals, adding points to the Orange and Blue’s score. 

Bison divers also obtained critical points in the 1-meter dive with Gina Hinthorn ’25 placing sixth and Megahan Catherwood ’25  winning the consolation finals. By the end of the second day, the Bison still trailed in third with 198.5 points.

The men’s team held onto third place by the end of the third day. Kuyl won silver in the 50 freestyle, with an NCAA ‘B’ cut time of 19.96, which beat a record that had stood since 2019. Sean Quinn ’22 also broke the record for the 200 IM standard, which had been standing since the 2018 Patriot League Championships. Kuyl was also a part of the 400 medley relay team with Fabian, Noah Basista ’24, and Pitt. The group clocked in a time of 3:14.19, the first team to clear 3:16.

Gehrig and Kopac impressively placed fifth in their respective events (200 IM and 500 freestyle) and had the Bison’s second-fastest times in his events.

Quinn and Andy Dorsel ’25 each placed in the 200 IM, Dorsel’s time being the third-fastest in program history (1:47.52). 

On the third day of the Championships, the women’s team improved their score to 399.5 and moved up to second place behind Navy. The Bison had a few medal earners to help lead the way. Doss and Catherine Craig ’23 each medaled in the 400 IM, winning their first Patriot League individual medals. Doss, the silver medalist, had the Bison’s third-fastest time of 4:20.32. Craig, the bronze medalist, had a time of 4:20.66. Hartigan once again dominated in the 200 freestyle and placed third.

The women’s 200 freestyle placed fourth, but swimmers Donati, Alexandra Ritorto ’23 and Hunter swam the program’s second-fastest time (1:33.52).

Doss and Craig (placed fifth), Vumbacco and Meagan Hathaway ’22 (placed sixth) swam in the 400 IM’s ‘A’ finals. Skye Sunderhauf ’25 dominated the lanes in the event’s consolation finals. Craig also placed sixth in the 100 breaststroke, followed by Liz Dokina ’25 in seventh, each making times in the program’s top-10 in the event.

The third day proved successful for the men’s swim and dive team as well. School records were set and medals were earned by both Fabian and Kopac. Fabian placed third in the 100 backstroke and set a new school record (48.00) in the 100 butterfly event. Pitt came close behind Fabian with a time of 48.59, still beating the previously set record.  Kopac won silver in the 200 freestyle and beat the school record with a time of 1:36.48.

The Bison had seven qualifiers for the ‘A’ finals, had three members win in the consolation finals, and finished with an impressive 12 program top-times. In the 1-meter dive, Cadwallader placed seventh and Pirone won consolation finals, his score being 10th in school history. 

On the final day of the Patriot League Championships, the women’s swim and dive team took home the second place trophy. The team finished with 10 medals, four earned on the last day, and tallied up a total of 577.5 points. This is the Orange and Blue’s 13th time placing second in the Patriot League Championships.

Highlights from the night include a crucial silver medal win came from the 400 freestyle relay team. This win put the Bison in front of Army West Point. In addition, Hartigan and Vumbacco placed top two in the 1,650 freestyle. Hartigan had an impressive time of 16:37.48 and Vumbacco finished right behind her with a time of 16:38.74, earning her first silver medal.

Hartigan was also a part of the silver-winning 400 freestyle relay team, alongside Donati, Lichtner and Hunter. This second-place finish helped secure the Bison’s runner-up showing. 

Doss placed third in the 200 breaststroke and joined Craig on the podium for placing in the 400-IM.

The Orange and Blue had four qualifiers for the ‘A’ finals. Craig and Hunter participated in the 200 backstroke, placing fourth and fifth. Diver Reggie Frias ’25 went fifth in the 3-meter dive. The Bison had three other divers who made the 3-meter dive’s ‘B’ finals. The divers include Kate Gottwald ’24, Hinthorn and Meghan Catherwood ’25.

The men also finished the weekend successfully, winning third overall with a total of 559.5 points. They took home four individual and two relay medals and broke 11 school records. In addition, head coach Dan Schinnerer won Patriot League Men’s Coach of the Year for the third time.

“On the final day at finals our team had already accomplished pretty much all the goals we set out to do, and so at that point I was really just soaking everything in and trying to enjoy myself after a great meet, cheering on my teammates and going all out for one last race” Kuyl said.

On the final day, Gehrig and Kuyl continued to shine. Gehrig placed third in the 200 butterfly with a school-record time of 1:46.14. Kuyl placed fourth in the 100 freestyle, clocking in a time of 44.14, beating a 34-year-old school record.

Kopac tallied the most points for the Orange and Blue with 45, followed by Gehrig, Dorsel and Fabian.

The men’s and women’s teams will be back in the water for the ECAC Championships on Feb. 25 at Lejeune Hall.

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