By Sullivan Burgess ’20
Last weekend, the Providence College Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Teams competed in the 2019 Big East Swimming and Diving Championships held in East Meadow, New York. The four-day event provided the Friars with the opportunity to set over 12 new program records.
Beginning on the first day, four students raced in the men’s 800-yard freestyle relay, which held a previous record time of 6:49.12 set in 2014. Justin Viotto ’22, John Freeman ’21, Andrew Ferrell ’21, and Liam Straker ’19 finished the race with a time of 6:46.69, putting the Providence men in fifth with 28 points.
For the women, the top finishers came from two events of the day—the 800-yard and 200-yard freestyle relays. In the 800-yard relay, the Friars placed fifth at 7:41.17, led by Jennifer Bankes ’22, Lauren Zawacki ’21, Margie Keenan ’21, and Madeline Snow ’19. For the 200-yard relay, however, the Friars were able to beat their time from 2017, 1:47.12, by nearly two seconds, coming in at 1:45.63 and ending in fifth place. The event was raced by by Juliet McGlaughlin ’19, Abigail Czernieki ’19, Katie Thornton ’21, and Zawacki. This tied the Friars for fourth with Butler at 56 points after day one.
On the second day of the championships, Zawacki set another program record in the 50-yard freestyle when she touched the wall at 23.88 seconds. Ferrell also set a new program record with a time of 1:51.28 in the 200-yard IM. Additionally, the team of Bankes, Thornton, Keenan, and Zawacki set a school record in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:35.92. At the end of the second day, the men were still in fifth place at 88 points, and the women dropped to fifth at 93 points.
On the third day of the championship, the Friars were able to set four more program records, beginning with Zawacki’s improved time of 57.20 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle. Viotto bested the program’s 400-yard IM record with a 3:58.09 mark. The team of McGlaughlin, Czerniecki, Thornton, and Bankes was also able to set a new record in the 400-yard medley relay at 3:53.16. Lastly, Ferrell was able to touch the wall in his race at 50.25, which was not only allowed for a fourth-place finish, but also a new school record.
In the fourth and final day of the championships, the Friars set three new program bests. The first record was set by Amanda Gaccione ’20 by finishing the 200-yard breaststroke with a time 2:22.78. Viotto set a best time of 1:50.12 in the 200-yard fly, and senior Ryan Trammell ’19 bested his own mark in the 200-yard breaststroke, finishing at 2:03.17.
Despite breaking 12 records, the men and women were unable to place due to stiff competition. The men came in last with 227 points and the women placed last with 220 points. Xavier University won the men’s competition with 779.5 points, while Villanova University won the women’s side with 1007.5 points.
After a back and forth season with most Big East competitors, the Friars were happy to set these 12 new program records and improve on their times. They are looking forward to what the future has in store for them.