Seniors shine for Minutemen in victory

By Chris Corso

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Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Coming off of a second-place finish last week in the Upper Valley Invitational, the Massachusetts men’s swimming and diving team came up victorious Saturday afternoon against Fordham at Joseph Rogers Pool.

The men won by a score of 170-123 in a dominating performance.

Senior Joey Sbordon led the way for the Minutemen, who had three senior swimmers competing for the final time at Joseph Rogers Pool. UMass men’s coach Russ Yarworth felt it was only fitting that these swimmers went out on top.

“I’m hoping the three of them can end their careers four for four with another team victory in Buffalo,” said Yarworth. “They are irreplaceable and exemplify the character of UMass swimming and diving.”

Sbordon set a pool record in the 200-yard freestyle, clocking in at a time of 1:40.43.

“Joey [Sbordon] has been an integral part of this program for four years and seeing him end his home career with a pool record swim couldn’t have been more appropriate,” said Yarworth.

The senior didn’t stop there as he claimed the 500-yard freestyle when he touched the wall first with a time of 4:47.60.

Kyle Jennings found his glory in his only two events of the day, the 200-yard backstroke and the 200-yard medley. The Columbus, Ohio native won the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:50.60. Beau Garufi, John Conway, Colin Mulcahy and Jennings finished in third place in the 200-yard medley.

The Minutemen brought out the brooms in the backstroke events where they swept the 100-yard and 200-yard races. In the 100-yard event, Timothy Gladyshev led the team with a time of 57.61. In the 200-yard event, freshmen Michael Glenn grabbed first place reaching the wall at a time of 2:08.23.

The Minutemen also made their mark on the diving board this weekend. Jason Cook and Alexander Merkulov dominated the one-meter and three-meter diving events. In both events, Cook took first, while Merkulov finished one spot behind. Cook scored a 313.05 in the one-meter dive and 337.43 in the three-meter dive.

Yarworth was happy with his team’s progression throughout the season and likes the fact that they have momentum heading into the A-10 Championships.

“We were pretty sharp and seem to be coming together at the right time of the year, so I’m pleased with the team’s progress right now,” he said.

Minutewomen fall at home

While the men’s swimming and diving team cruised to victory versus Fordham, the Minutewomen suffered a 171-129 loss to the Rams. The story of the day was the performance of the underclassmen this weekend for UMass.

All four of the women’s first place finishes this weekend came from freshmen.

“I’m very proud of our underclassmen this year and I’m excited to see them grow,” said UMass women’s coach Bob Newcomb. “The seniors got the underclassmen to buy into our program and I see a bright future for them.”

Katie Arnott grabbed three of those four first place finishes on her own. The freshman from Suffern, N.Y., claimed first in both the 100 and 200-yard backstrokes with times of 1:07.85 and 2:27.07, respectively. Arnott also touched the wall first in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:10.88.

Zoe Judd had the other first place finish for the Minutewomen, where she made school history with her time of 1:52.25 in the 200-yard freestyle. Judd had two other top-three finishes, as she grabbed second in the 100 free and third in the 50 freestyle.

Other contributors for the team included freshmen Hannah Markey and senior Liz Sullivan.

Markey grabbed a pair of second-place finishes in the 200-yard and 100-yard backstroke. Sullivan finished off her career at UMass with two second-place finishes of her own in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke.

On the diving board, Michaela Butler continued her dominance sweeping both the one-meter and three-meter diving events with scores of 255.07 and 260.18, respectively.

The women’s team says farewell to six senior swimmers this year as the torch is passed on to the youth of the program.

“It’s not easy to lose swimmers that you get so attached to after four years of watching them grow,” said Newcomb.

Both teams look will now prepare for the A-10 Championships which begin on Feb. 22 at Erie Community College in Buffalo, N.Y.

“I’m confident that in three weeks we will perform well. The weekend is not consequential to the tournament and I think we had a very strong season,” said Newcomb.

Chris Corso can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Corso.