The Drexel University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed at the Colonial Athletic Association conference championships Feb. 20-23. The teams started off strong after the first day of competition both ending in first place in the points standings but the final days of competition left the women’s team in fourth place overall and the men in second place. The teams won seven gold medals this year, six from swimming events and junior Anthony Musciano defended his title in the 1-meter dive for the diving team.
Day one featured highlights from Musciano and the women’s 200-yard medley relay team. Musciano edged out sophomore Will Canny from Towson University in the men’s 1-meter dive by a final score of 287.60, which was 7.5 points ahead of Canny. The women’s relay team which included junior Alexa Kutch, sophomore Gabrielle Rudy and juniors Hollie Hopf and the anchor Alicia Diaz finished ahead of the College of William & Mary by 0.11 seconds.
The men’s 200-yard medley relay team of sophomore Kiran Richardson, senior Ralph Cannarozzi III and freshmen Paris Raptis and John Scully finished third in the event. The men’s 800-yard freestyle relay also finished third. Junior Jason Arthur swam the first leg, followed by senior Patrick Cobb, freshman Kevin Spear and senior Luke Hanner.
At the end of day one, the Drexel women’s team was tied with William & Mary and James Madison University at 68 points while the men were out in front with 109 points, which was 10 points ahead of second place Towson.
On day two, Cobb defended his title in the men’s 500-yard free besting senior Carter Kale from William & Mary by 0.78 seconds. In the women’s 200-yard individual medley, senior April Forsthoffer just missed the standings finishing just 0.44 seconds behind third place. In the men’s 200-yard IM, Arthur won the bronze medal and also posted a National Collegiate Athletic Association B qualifying time with a time of 1:46.73.
The men’s 200-yard free relay team of Richardson, Arthur, freshman Alex Flynn and Scully placed third in the event. The winners of the event, the team from William & Mary, set a new CAA meet record.
After day two, the women’s team fell to sixth place in the standings as JMU had taken a giant leap to lead overall by more than 50 points. The men’s team was trailing in second to William & Mary by 76 points.
On day three, 10 Dragons were able to get on the podium. Musciano started off with a silver medal finish behind Canny in the men’s 3-meter dive. Canny finished with an NCAA A qualifying score. In the women’s 400-yard IM, Forsthoffer finished with a bronze medal only 0.04 seconds behind second place.
In the men’s 100-yard butterfly, Raptis finished in third place with a time of 47.48 which was just 0.05 seconds from the NCAA B qualifying time. In the women’s 100-yard breaststroke, Rudy also placed third with a time of 1:02.03.
The crowd roared during the men’s 100-yard breast as Cannarozzi tied for second place with sophomore Devin McNulty from William & Mary with a time of 54.41 which was a one-hundredth of a second off first place finisher sophomore Gianmichael D’Alessandro from UNCW.
The highlight of the day came from Kutch who won the women’s 100-yard backstroke for the third year in a row. She jumped ahead of the field right off the start and held the lead to the end. In the men’s 100-yard back, Arthur earned a silver medal behind William & Mary’s Colin Demers.
The women’s 400-yard medley relay team also brought home gold ahead of Towson by 0.48 seconds. Kutch started things off, followed by Rudy, senior Charlotte Myers and anchor Diaz. The men’s 400-yard medley relay team of Arthur, Cannarozzi, Raptis and Richardson got second place.
After day three, the women’s team had moved up to fifth place in the standings, and William & Mary had moved ahead of JMU for first place by two points. The men’s team maintained their standing in second place, but were now more than 100 points behind William & Mary going into the final day of competition.
On the fourth and final day, Kutch defended her title in the women’s 200-yard back for the third year in a row with at time of 1:55.43. She had previously set a meet and CAA all-time record last season. Arthur also won the men’s 200-yard back for the third consecutive year and also swam a NCAA B time.
Freshman Megan Sicinski had her CAA debut and swam to a silver medal in the women’s 200-yard breast with a time of 2:16.87. Raptis also claimed a silver medal in the men’s 200-yard fly and qualify with an NCAA B cut time.
Though the women finished in fourth and the men finished in second, the women had placed fifth the previous year while the men had also finished second in 2018. This meet showed great improvement for the team as a whole, and it was great to see Kutch and Arthur defend their titles on the final day of competition. For her two golds, Kutch was named Drexel’s School of Education Athlete of the Week.
The Dragons that qualified to the Division I NCAA Championships will travel to Austin, Texas, for the final meet of the season.