After nearly two weeks off from competition, the Fordham swimming and diving team competed at the Princeton Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15 and 16. The meet did not have team scoring and allowed for extended individual participation by the swimmers from Princeton, Lehigh and Fordham.
Princeton dominated the pool, winning 32 of the 36 swimming events and sweeping the four diving events. Despite this control by the home team, Fordham was still able to post very respectable times.
“The team performed very well under little pressure since points weren’t being scored,” senior co-captain Kara Field said. “People just naturally swam fast and dove well.”
The top performers for Fordham at the state-of-the-art DeNunzio Pool were freshman Megan Polaha and sophomore Steve Sholdra.
Polaha continued to shine, touching the wall first in two events. She won the 400-yard individual medley in 4:28.45 and triumphed over the field in 200-yard butterfly in 2:03.28. The Pennsylvania native came up just short in the abridged versions of those events. Polaha was third in both the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard butterfly.
Sholdra took home first place honors in the men’s 1650-yard freestyle in 15:42.58, almost 15 seconds faster than the second place finisher. He was also second-best in the shorter 500-yard freestyle.
“The younger classmen are really stepping up and performing where we need them to be,” senior co-captain Shannon Jones said when asked about the performance of the team’s youth thus far. “They are a great addition to the team, and I am excited to see the impact on the team’s performance at A-10’s [Atlantic 10 Conference Championship].”
The Rams also had three other swimmers who placed second in events. Freshman Kalena Laurent took second place in the 200-yard butterfly behind Polaha and was also second best in the 200-yard freestyle. Junior Kelly Carroll was second in the 100-yard breaststroke and senior Shintaro Noguchi was second in 100-yard butterfly.
The format of the Princeton Invitational allowed many swimmers from the Fordham team to compete in multiple events, some of which they would not normally swim, and challenged their stamina in a still competitive setting.
The team will compete at the three-day Bucknell Invitational this weekend and will get a taste of what the A-10 Championship will be like in February.
“The meet is motivation to continue hard training over the break, and also provides a brief glimpse of how the A-10 Championships will be run since it is a prelim/final meet,” Field said. “The team should want to make it back to finals in their events.”
Following the Bucknell Invitational, the team will host Manhattan on Dec. 4 at the Colonel Francis B. Messmore Aquatic Center.