The Shippensburg University men’s and women’s swim teams ended their seasons in style over the weekend, with the men finishing sixth and the women finishing third at the 2016–17 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championship Meet on Feb. 16–19 at the Graham Aquatic Center in York, Pennsylvania.
The women’s team’s third-place finish was its first since 2010.
The Raiders started the weekend strong Thursday, as Stephanie O’ Toole won the PSAC Championship in the 200-yard Individual Medley (IM) with a time of 2:03.60. O’Toole won the race by 2.4 seconds over the field, and she became the Raiders’ second champion in as many years. Erin Fife won the 100-yard butterfly last season at the championships.
“It was really fun,” O’Toole said. “I had a blast, and seeing my teammates at the end of the pool just topped it all off. I was really nervous coming in. I just came off of being sick, so I didn’t know what to expect. But I just gave it my best and it worked out really well.”
Other strong performances for the women on Day 1 included Sidney Owens’ consolation final victory in the 200-yard IM, MacKenna Angert’s 12th-place finish in the 1,000 Freestyle and Fife’s 13th overall finish in the 50-yard freestyle. The women sat in fifth place after the first day.
For the men, Jeff Beyer was SU’s top individual finisher of the day, placing ninth in the 1,000-yard freestyle on a morning finals time of 9:48.38. Beyer’s time is a 15-second personal record.
Along with Beyer, Kristian Voulopos had a strong finish in the 50-yard freestyle, placing 10th overall with a time of 21.27 seconds. Adam Fox and Shaun Smith also broke 22 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle on Day 1. The men sat in sixth place after Day 1.
SU coach Tim Verge stressed the importance of maintaining momentum after Day 1 into the morning session of Day 2.
“It’s critical,” Verge said. “Tomorrow morning is the most important session you can imagine. People might come out flat a little bit, and people who were disappointed today might not be on and it’s a great time to sneak in. In these meets, the points are done in the morning so you’ve got to be able to get up and go in the morning.”
On Day 2, O’Toole came out and dominated once again, becoming a two-time champion, this time winning the 400-yard IM with a time of 4:24.83 — just sixth tenths of a second off her season best and school record. O’Toole won the race by more than two seconds over the field.
Erin Fife was also outstanding, posting a Top 5 finish for the second straight year in the 100-yard butterfly, finishing fifth with a time of 57.59 seconds.
Other notable performances on Day 2 included Owens’ Consolation ‘B’ group final win in the 400-yard IM with a personal best time of 4:35.46. It also marked the second straight night that Owens won a consolation final. The finish put Owens in third place all time behind O’Toole and Rikki Sargent.
In the 200-yard IM, Gabriella Johnson won the ‘B’ group consolation final with a time of 1:55.32 — placing her in the Top 10 all-time at SU in the event. Angert finished the event one spot behind Johnson in 10th place with a time of 1:55.56.
The women placed seventh in the 200-yard freestyle relay and third in the 400-yard medley relay.
On Day 2 for the men, Nick Bloom led the way, finishing the 400-yard IM with a time of 4:14.54, good enough to claim 11th overall, and the ‘B’ final.
Voulopos and Beyer each reached the ‘B’ group finals in the 200-yard freestyle, placing 13th and 16th respectively.
The night concluded with the 400-yard medley relay team of Bloom, Callum Hamel, Shane Kaliszewski and Fox taking seventh in the relay with a time of 3:33.10.
On Day 3, the women advanced 11 swimmers into the finals to keep climbing up the PSAC standings.
Three Raiders reached the championship finals with Johnson finishing second in the 100-yard butterfly, Fife finishing fourth in the 200-yard butterfly, and O’Toole finishing seventh in the 100-yard backstroke.
Owens continued tearing through the competition, claiming her third consolation final of the meet, placing ninth in the 200-yard butterfly.
The women sat in third place after Day 3 of the finals with 598 points, holding off a hard charging Indiana University of Pennsylvania, which sat in fourth place with 579.5 points.
For the men, Beyer finished seventh in the 500-yard freestyle, while Quinton Beck finished 16th in the same event.
Shaun Smith finished in sixth-place of the 800-yard freestyle relay with a time of 7:05.22.
On Day 4 — the final day of competition — the women advanced seven swimmers into evening finals, where Johnson took third in the 200-yard breaststroke, while Carly Alvarado took eighth in the 100-yard freestyle.
The women’s 400-yard freestyle relay team of O’Toole, Fife, Owens and Angert finished fourth in the event.
Overall, the women scored 796 points, besting fourth-place IUP by 36.5 points.
For the men, Beyer had a strong finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle, finishing fourth in the event with a time of 16:11.52. The men’s 400-yard freestyle relay team finished seventh with a time of 3:09.89.
The men finished with 222 points — its highest amount in four years to post a 50-point margin over Edinboro University for sixth overall.
Overall, it was a fantastic weekend for the SU swim teams, who will look to ride a wave of momentum into next season.