By Thomas Zinzarella ’21
Fresh off their first home meet of the season two weeks ago against the Bryant Bulldogs, the Providence College Men’s and Women’s Swim Team looks to learn from that meet and use it as a building block for the rest of season. Their sights are set on the Big East Championship in February.
Although the Friars fell to Bryant, they were able to show their improvement. It was a much improved result from last year’s meet for the men’s side against this same Bryant squad which may be a theme that will be mirrored throughout the rest of the Friars season. Jerod Magazine ’19 believes that “this may be the best group we have had in my four years…chemistry is great, guys pushing each other in the pool…great leadership, and a really good freshman class.” A few standout freshmen that Magazine mentioned were Justin Viotto ‘22, Matt Keane ‘22, Matt Michaels ‘22, and Ian McElrath ‘22.
A number of these freshmen have already contributed for the Friars early on in their college swimming careers. Viotto took home two first-place finishes in the 400 and 800-meter freestyle with the times of 4:12.58 and 8:41.06. John Freeman ’21 and McElrath churned out 1-2 finishes in the 200-meter freestyle with times of 1:57.62 and 1:59.62, respectively.
The Friars were able to finish the day strong with a first place finish in the 200-meter freestyle relay with a time of 1:39.06. The relay consisted of Mark McLaughlin ’21, Viotto, Freeman, and Patrick Brannigan ’20.
With positive results from both underclassmen and upperclassmen, Magazine hopes that the Friars can continue to shatter records and also take back the Harold Anderson Invitational, a meet that the Friars men’s team won three of the last four years. With veteran talent and leadership from captain Liam Straker ’19 and star breaststroker Ryan Trammell ’19, the Friars will look to do some damage throughout the rest of this season and into Big East.
Women’s swimming and diving is also in a very similar spot as well with senior leadership leading the way for the Friars. Molly Kavanaugh ’21 believes that it all starts with the seniors and trickles down to the underclassmen. “Madeline (Snow ‘19) and other seniors really show us how to act in and out of the pool. There is a great respect between both upperclassmen and underclassmen…. [A respect] between all grades, especially from the seniors down to the freshmen.” Kavanaugh went on to mention how Snow is one of the presidents of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) along with men’s swimmer Magazine.
The Swimming & Diving program was also recognized as being a Scholar All-American team. The women’s team had the highest GPA last semester in program and school history with a 3.60 average.
The team has also seen strong performances in the pool with this last meet, where a 200-meter relay team consisting of Jennie Bankes ’22, Katie Thornton ’21, Margie Keenan ’21, and Lauren Zawacki ’21 broke the 21-year old school record with a blitzing time of 1:50.60.
Bankes, a freshman from Broxton, Massachusetts, has been praised for her performance in the pool so far and is somebody to keep an eye on as this season progresses. Kavanaugh stated “We could see some pretty good things from her this season,” where some records will continue to be shattered. Men’s and Women’s Swim will be at Iona College at 5 p.m. this Friday and Fairfield at 1 p.m. this Saturday!