Over the course of three days, the Drexel University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed against the best student in the Colonial Athletic Association in an attempt to win the 2012 CAA championships.
While neither team accomplished the ultimate goal of winning the conference, they had record-breaking performances that showed that they could be contenders in the future. The men’s team finished seventh overall, and the women’s team came in ninth.
On the first day of competition for the men, the 200 freestyle relay team clocked in a new school record time of 1:22.10. The team featured freshmen Alex Galinskiy, Mike Shaeffer and Alex Chialastri along with sophomore Alex Bagshaw. Their time placed them fifth overall. Galinskiy also placed seventh in the 200 individual medley finals on the first day with a time of 1:52.11.
The momentum from solid performances on the first day helped Galinskiy capture a first-place finish in the 200 freestyle. Galinskiy had everyone on their feet at the Aquatic Center in the Jim McKay Natatorium as the freshman standout stopped the clock just two hundredths of a second ahead of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington’s Gabe Thran. Galinskiy posted a new Drexel record time of 1:37.96. By taking first place, he made the B-Cut for NCAA Consideration. He is the second swimmer in Drexel history to earn that recognition.
On the second day of competition, the men continued to swim very well. Bagshaw and freshmen John Quagliariello, Chad Schmidt and Mike Krohn clocked in at 1:32.66 for sixth place overall in the 200 medley relay, which was a new school record.
Krohn continued his success by winning the 100 butterfly consolation final round with a personal best time of 50.17, finishing ninth overall in the event.
On the final day, sophomore Greg Oprendek recorded fifth place in the 200 breaststroke event with a time of 2:02.55. Quagliariello finished sixth in the 200 backstroke event with a time of 1:52.88.
Drexel had three swimmers competing in the 100 freestyle finals. The men’s 400 freestyle relay team ended the final day with a sixth-place finish. Galinskiy, Chialastri, Shaeffer and Bagshaw clocked in a time of 3:03.25.
Junior diver Stephen Cal placed second on the one-meter board with a score of 289.50 in the finals at the CAA Championships. On the second day, Cal earned his second silver medal after scoring a 298.15 on the three-meter board.
“He did what he was capable of and achieved what we were shooting for,” head diving coach Larry May said of his all-conference diver.
Cal was also satisfied with his performance.
“I’m definitely proud of myself because all of my hard work paid off,” Cal said.
The women also made quite a splash on the first day. Freshman Brianna Bentz set a new Drexel record in the 50-yard freestyle preliminary event with a time of 23.92. The previous record of 24.16 was held by assistant swimming coach Katie Koch as Bentz finished 16th overall in the finals.
The women’s 200-yard freestyle relay team of seniors Devina Tyagi and Morgan Cichewicz, Bentz and freshman Katie Duggan broke the school record with a time of 1:35.65. The time was good enough for eighth in this event.
The women’s 400 medley relay also set a new school record with 3:50.41, breaking the record by over three seconds. Tyagi led the relay and set a new record in the 100 backstroke at 56.38. The relay also included Bentz, senior Malin Viberg and junior Lauren Faykes.
Records continued to break on the second day as Faykes set a new school record in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:51.18 in the preliminaries. Faykes also advanced to the finals and placed seventh in the event.
In the women’s 100 backstroke event, Tyagi set a personal and school record in the preliminary round with a time of 56.29. Tyagi advanced on and earned eighth place in the finals. Teammate Duggan placed 12th in the consolation finals and dropped half of a second for a new personal best time of 56.69.
“We had swimmers place in the top 20 for overall point totals, and we had a big increase in our numbers coming back to finals,” head swimming coach Shawn Markey said. “We continue to break records time and again as our team progresses each season. I am extremely optimistic about where we are this year, and I’m looking forward to moving up some places at conferences next season.”
There is good reason for the sense of optimism within the Drexel swimming program. With a wealth of young, talented swimmers and divers, promising performances are likely ahead for the Dragons.