The men’s swimming and diving team went up against nine tough teams, including Division I Cornell University, last weekend in the inaugural Ithaca Invitational. The Blue and Gold finished in fourth place behind Cornell University, Hartwick College and Springfield College respectively.
Though the Bombers did not have any individual winners in the meet, the team had several swimmers who did well. Senior Jeff Rapp placed in the top five in three events, placing fourth in the 200-yard backstroke and fifth in both the 200-yard individual medley and the 400-individual medley. Senior Derek Rand placed third in the 3-meter dive. Sophomore Taylor Van Cott earned third place in the 100-yard butterfly and sixth in the 200-yard butterfly with times of 52.44 seconds and 1:59.23. The 200-yard medley relay team placed second and the 400 medley relay placed fourth.
Head Coach Kevin Markwardt said he was pleased with how his squad did, especially with the teams in the competition and the format of the meet.
“We purposely invited the best teams we could find to come to this meet,” he said. “The idea was to bring in the best possible people so that we have a chance to see people we would only see at the end of the year, states or national championships. It’s almost like a dress rehearsal meet, learning seeing where you are as a benchmark trying some events and getting used to that multi-day format.”
Sophomore Cheffy Thomas said the invitational allowed the team to focus on executing minor details during races.
“It feels pretty good, we know where we are and where we need to go, we ve done all the yardage,” he said. “Now we need to do the nitty gritty starts that turn into relay exchanges and making sure to get everything down perfect.”
Rand and junior Martin Brown also qualified for the NCAA Championships in. Though Rand was expected to make nationals again this year, diving coach Nate Brisley said he didn’t expect Brown to earn a spot so soon.
“At some point in time I expected him to, but this early in the season I’m pleasantly surprised,” Brisley said.
The South Hill squad won’t compete again until the Henry Kumpf Invitational on Jan. 14 in Troy, N.Y.