It has been a month since the Drexel swimming and diving team last competed. With more than half of the season behind them, the Dragons are poised to continue their successful year. The Colonial Athletic Association championships are only a little over a month away, and both the men’s and women’s teams have a good chance of bringing the title home.
There have been a number of notable Drexel swimmers and divers who have made some noise throughout the CAA. Freshman Rachel Bernhardt has already made her mark on Drexel athletics. In her debut appearance as a Dragon, she recorded a time of 1:05.43 in the 100-yard breaststroke, which broke the past record of 1:05.64 that was held for 16 years. In addition to the 100-yard breaststroke, she currently sits in third of all time for the Drexel women’s 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:24.57.
Sophomore diver Madison Kramer has been very impressive on the boards this season. In the meet against Seton Hall University, Kramer was just one point away from qualifying for the NCAA diving zones competition in the one-meter. This event takes place in March; with plenty of time to qualify and her eyes set on the national stage, look for Kramer to make a push for this competition.
Surprisingly, the driving force behind the success of the Drexel swimming and diving team has been the consistent performance by its underclassmen. With every competition there seems to be a common theme: the young talent routinely steps up and contributes to each and every victory.
“These guys know what it takes to be great, and they never fail to support each other along the way,” head coach Shawn Markey said.
The Dragons were looking very good in their last competition at the AT&T Winter National Championships. This year’s nationals were held at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center, located at the University of Tennessee. There were several swimmers who clocked in their best times of the season.
Sophomore Kyle Lukens managed his season best with a time of 49.57 in the 100-meter fly. Junior Alex Chialistri also clocked in his best time of the season in the 200-meter fly as he touched the wall at 1:41.99. Senior Greg Oprendek and junior Chad Schmidt also finished with their season-best times of 57.48 and 58.22 in the 100-meter breaststroke.
The Dragons seem to be slashing through the water faster than ever, and with the CAA championships on the horizon, their timing could not be any better. Look for this young and talented team to continue along their path of success as they head to Newark, Del., to compete in a dual meet against the University of Delaware and Northeastern University Jan. 11.