Recap: Men's and Women's Swimming End Season on High Note
By: EMMA CHEATHAM / PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR
On Feb. 22-26, the LIU Men’s and Women’s Swimming teams set off to Ohio for their final competition of the season — the Northeast Conference Championships. The team fought hard during the five-day competition, with both the men’s and women’s teams placed third overall at the championship.
The teams kicked off the meet strong with a total of 5 awards by the end of the second night of competition.
Sophomore Alejandro Pascual Del Cid became NEC Champion in the 50-yard freestyle, boasting a new team and NEC record with a time of 20.34 seconds. Senior Jacqueline Grabowski also dominated the 50 freestyle, placing second.
Two other swimmers set new team records for their performance in the 500 Freestyle: senior Ella Johnson with 5:01.55 and sophomore Daniel Chocano Fernandez, who also placed third with 4:33.41.
To end the night, Brynjólfur Karlsson, Lovro Dodik, Giannis Venetos and Pascual placed third in the 200-yard Medley Relay.
Day three of competition consisted of the 400-yard Individual Medley, 100-yard Fly, 200-yard Freestyle and 200-yard Freestyle Relay and by the end of the night, the Sharks added five more awards to their name.
In the 400-yard Individual Medley, sophomore Marcell Matyiko dominated the field, winning the event while also setting a new team and NEC record with a time of 4:01.32, while Chocano placed 3rd.
Matyiko, from Veszprém, Hungary, had not really competed in the 400-yard IM since coming to America for college, but worked on many technical elements throughout the season and saw this hard work pay off.
“It is a lot different to win here, at a conference meet,” Matyiko said.
“I’ve never felt this happy after any of my wins back home and it is because of the team. They made this swim unforgettable for me and for this, I will be forever grateful to them.”
Matyiko told Seawanhaka that this season was not the easiest for the Sharks either, as the men’s and women’s teams had to adapt to an entirely new coaching staff, along with an altered practice schedule due to COVID-19.
“But thanks to our new coaches and the team’s adaptability, we put on a more than satisfying performance,” Matyiko said.
First-year sharks also showed up strong at the meet, with Ethan Law placing second with a new team record of 49.38 and Allie Bashor placing third in the 100-yard Fly.
In the relays, Grabowski, Rea Shehu, Venna Andersen, and Allison Naylor placed third in the 200-yard Freestyle Relay.
Meanwhile for the men, Porter Levasseur, Marcelo Chauvet, Drew Ladner, and Pascual collectively set a new team record with a time of 1:21.85.
On day four of the NEC Championships, the team competed in the 200-yard Fly, 100-yard Back, 100-yard Breaststroke and the 400-yard Medley Relay, racking up another five awards.
In the 200-yard Fly, Johnson became an NEC Champion while Matyiko placed second.
Grabowski continued through the night with another individual award, placing third in the 100-yard Back.
In the 100-yard Breaststroke Andersen placed third.
Grabowski and Andersen, along with Bashor and Johnson ended the night of competition, placing second in the 400-yard Medley Relay.
On the final day of competition, the Sharks won two awards, one for the men’s team and one for the women’s team.
Grabowski, Lydia Amon, Johnson and Anderson of the women’s team and Levasseur, Ladner, Daniel Samouilich and Pascual of the men’s team, both placed third in the 400-yard Freestyle Relay.
The Sharks closed out the competition winning third for the men’s and women’s teams.
Grabowski shared that she was very proud of how the competition went.
“Individually, I think I performed really well at conference,” Grabowski said.
While she is completing her final year at LIU, Grabowski is planning to compete in her extra year of eligibility at another program.
“I am looking forward to swim for one more year at a different program and hopefully make just as many great memories as at LIU,” Grabowski said.
Now, as the teams enter their off-seasons, they are continuing to train hard, with the focus already set on the 2022-2023 season.
“I am confident we’ll have a more peaceful season with new recruits, [a] stronger and more experienced team and definitely more fun,” Matyiko said.
To see full results of the NEC Championships, visit LIUAthletics.com.