By Scott Padula
The men’s swimming team captured a program-record five ECAC crowns last weekend on its way to earning second place in the ECAC Championships in Annapolis, Md., breaking the previous program mark set in 1992. Mike Nicholson ’14, Eric Sokolosky ’12 and Matt Segar ’12 all came away with individual golds for the Bison, becoming the fourth, fifth and sixth swimmers in program history to win multiple ECAC titles. The quartet of Taylor Harris ’12, Segar, Thomas Brown ’12 and Sokolosky also claimed the 400-yard freestyle relay title.
On the first day of competition, six different Bison as well as two relay teams finished in the top 10 of their respective events. The best event of the day for the Orange and the Blue was the 200 individual medley where Nicholson and Christian Treat ’13 both finished in the top five. Nicholson earned second place, losing to Rider’s Johnny Charles-Funk by 0.06 seconds while Treat posted his fifth career top-five finish at ECACs with a fourth-place finish.
Sokolosky also placed second in the 50 freestyle with a time of 20.75 seconds, 0.09 seconds behind winner Phillip Gaissert of Columbia.
By the end of Saturday, the second day of competition, the Orange and Blue had jumped from fifth in the standings to second, only behind the host Midshipmen. Then Nicholson and Segar gave standout performances, capturing the first two ECAC crowns of the weekend for the Orange and Blue. The wins also marked the first time since 1992 that two different Bison won an event at the ECACs.
Nicholson dropped more than six seconds from the preliminaries to the finals, winning the 400 individual medley by 0.74 seconds. Segar climbed seven spots from the preliminaries to the finals to win the 200 freestyle, cutting more than three seconds from his time.
Great swims by Treat, Billy Krause ’13 and Harris, all of whom finished in the top five in their respective events, also helped the Bison climb up the team standings.
“I think we went into the meet knowing we were capable of finishing higher up than we ever had before,” Harris said. “I think our success is founded in a team culture where we support each other as much as possible. I am so proud of the team; a lot of guys really stepped up this past weekend to make it such a success.”
On the third and final day of competition, the Bison held their second place position thanks to wins in three more events.
Sokolosky started off the series of wins with his second career ECAC crown in the 100 freestyle. Nicholson followed Sokolosky, capturing his second ECAC title. Nicholson posted an impressive performance in the 200 breaststroke, winning by a margin of 1.43 seconds. His time of 2:01.71 was 0.03 seconds shy of the program record. In the final event of the meet, the Orange and Blue won the 400 freestyle relay, outpacing the Midshipmen by 0.22 seconds. The win, with a time of 3:01.69, was the second-ever ECAC victory for a Bison relay.
“To conclude the final chapter of my collegiate swimming career by winning the 100 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay with fellow seniors Taylor Harris, Matt Segar and Tom Brown could not have been a better feeling,” Sokolosky said. “Anchoring that relay to gold is something I’ll remember forever. To have been a part of the most talented class of Bison swimmers in school history has been a privilege and honor. Swimming for the Orange and Blue has been incredible thanks to the team that has surrounded me, and our coaches who are committed to excellence. These past four years have been a wild ride, one I wouldn’t trade for anything.”