There was some excitement to be found from the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams following their performance Nov. 22-24 in the Frank Elm Invitational at the Rutgers University Aquatic Center. The Dragons didn’t come home with a first-place finish, but they have proven themselves valid competitors in the Colonial Athletic Association.
This year’s Frank Elm Invitational showcased a number of top teams throughout the nation. The invite included nine teams besides Drexel: Rutgers, Columbia University, the U.S. Military Academy, Wagner College, West Chester University, Villanova University, the University of Massachusetts, Saint Peter’s University and Boston University.
The men’s team concluded the event with a third-place finish, scoring 1,450 points — just behind Rutgers and the Lions of Columbia, who finished in first place. The women came in sixth place overall with a total of 849 points.
The event started at 10 a.m. Nov. 22 with the preliminary races that were soon followed by the 1- and 3-meter diving preliminaries. Fans were on their toes once the clock struck 6 p.m. because that meant the relay races were about to begin.
The Dragon relay teams continued along their path of dominance, as opposing teams in the 200-yard freestyle relay stood no chance against the Blue and Gold. The relays started with the women. Brianna Bentz, Rachel Bernhardt, Katie Duggan and Claudia Duguay took home the top finish, stopping the clock at 1:35.02.
The men finished their 200 free relay with a close second-place finish. Joel Berryman, Alex Chialastri, Mike Krohn and Alex Bagshaw came in at 1:24.23, falling just behind Army’s team.
As for the Drexel divers, the men’s 1-meter diving event took place along with the women’s 3-meter. Madison Kramer scored a 250.10 in the preliminaries and a 242.90 in the finals for a fourth-place finish. David Sanchez brought home third, as he dove a preliminary score of 265.85 and a final score of 258.15.
The second day of the event presented a bit more excitement than the first day. It was Bernhardt who claimed the first victory for the Dragons, as she dominated the 100-yard breaststroke with a final time of 1:03.97. Her performance got the ball rolling for the rest of the team as they inched closer and closer to the top of the standings with their eyes set on a team title.
On the final day of competition, though, it seemed like the Dragons were struggling to keep pace with the rest of the field. Although they were unable to claim a team title, they demonstrated their strength as contenders and their will to compete in every event.
The Dragons will look to bounce back from a loss this weekend, as the resilience of this team is indisputable. They will look to their mistakes as motivation when they return to the pool for the Winter National Championships, being held Dec. 5-7 in Knoxville, Tenn., at the University of Tennessee. With their eyes set on national competition, the ache of this loss at the Frank Elm Invitational will soon be something of the past.