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Swimming has strong showing; diving gears up for Big Al | The Triangle

Swimming has strong showing; diving gears up for Big Al

The Drexel diving team will be back in action after helping the Dragons to the victory over the Binghamton University Bearcats. The divers prepare for the Big Al Invitational in Princeton, N.J. from Dec. 1-3 as they will be led by junior diver Stephen Cal.
The men and women of Drexel swimming compiled a strong amount of individual victories at the Terrier Invitational in Boston the weekend before Thanksgiving break. In total, the team earned 13 individual top-five finishes, with three first-place finishes for the men. Out of the eight teams that competed, Drexel took fifth on the men’s side and seventh for the women.

On the men’s side, the sophomores and freshmen made huge contributions to the team’s overall success. Sophomore Alex Bagshaw finished in second place for the 50-free event, while the men’s 200-medley relay squad also finished in second place. Another sophomore, Gregory Oprendek, clinched a first place victory in the 100-yard breaststroke event with a time of 57.16. Freshmen Alex Galinskiy and Andrew Reimon took first-place finishes in the 200-yard free and the 200-yard breaststroke events.

The women also had powerful performances that aided for great success in their overall results. In this case, upperclassmen Devina Tyagi and Lauren Faykes conquered the pool with their strong finishes. Captain Tyagi broke a school record in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 56.88. Faykes dominated by breaking another school record in the 100-yard butterfly event and placing fourth in the tournament. In addition, the junior finished second in the 500-yard free event with a time of 4:57.07. Ultimately, the women set three new school records over the course of their time in Boston.

Individually, the swimmers are giving the program a huge boost this season. In total, this tournament resulted in 59 personal bests. Galinskiy also qualified for the U.S. National Championship meet being held in Atlanta, which he will be competing in this weekend, along with three of his teammates — Faykes, Reimon and Oprendek.

Head coach Shawn Markey stated how thrilled he has been with the swimmers’ recent achievements. Practices have been strenuous over the past few weeks, but they scaled down the intensity for the three days leading up to the meet to help the swimmers get into the mindset of swimming fast.

“We have been training hard all season and have picked up the intensity this year to new levels,” Markey said.

Since the team’s trip to Boston was their last competition until January, they will be training all throughout winter break to get ready for conference meets in the winter. Markey said that winter training is the hardest time of year for all swimmers, as it takes a toll on them mentally and physically. The winter break is an opportunity for the Dragons to step back and refocus for the remainder of the season.

“Many of the swimmers will fight with training overload, but they will come out of the week feeling motivated and knowing they made big accomplishments,” he said.

While the swimmers are cooling off from the competition they just had, the diving team is heating up for their upcoming meets. Drexel diving will compete in the Big Al Invitational in Princeton, N.J. Dec. 1-3, where 13 other swimming and diving teams will be in attendance. A few weeks later, Drexel will travel to Athens, Ga. to compete in the Georgia Diving Invitational against some of the nation’s toughest teams. This midseason event has been proven to be one of the most prestigious events in collegiate diving.

Early this week, junior Stephen Cal was awarded the Colonial Athletic Association’s Diver of the Week after clinching several victories in his meet against the Binghamton Bearcats a few weekends ago. This Miami native placed first in the 1-meter event with a score of 268.65, in addition to his impressive 278.40 score in the 3-meter event. Cal has been a powerhouse for Drexel diving this season, acquiring a 4-0 overall record so far for the season.

Diving coach Larry May has stated how impressed he has been with Cal’s success so far this year. Personally, May believes the best piece of advice to give to his divers is to only focus on yourself and your dives. Performing at the highest level puts an immense amount of pressure on the other competitors. Cal’s consistency this fall has put him as a significant force on the pool deck.

Cal is ready to get back on the boards this weekend as he competes at the DeNunzio Pool for Princeton’s Big Al Open in New Jersey Dec. 2-4. The men and women of Drexel swimming will return for a conference meet at Delaware Jan. 14.