The Fordham swimming and diving team dropped a pair of meets on Saturday in Amherst, Mass. to the University of Massachusetts. The women’s squad fell 164-132, and the men’s team lost 176-103.
The team was shorthanded because of player illnesses, but they still managed to perform at a high level in their final road meet of the regular season.
“The team is never about just one or two individuals,” said senior co-captain Nicholas Belfanti. “We train hard as a team every day and are constantly dealing with adversity, whether it be illnesses, injuries or something else.”
Despite the loss, the team gained some experience against an Atlantic 10 opponent before the conference championship.
“It’s always a good thing when we compete against another A-10 team, whether we win or lose,” said senior co-captain Kara Field. “Seeing your competitors before championships always gives a hint at how fast and competitive the meet will be come February.”
Of the 32 events at the Joseph R. Rogers, Jr. Pool, Fordham touched first in only five events, which all came from the women’s side.
Freshman Natalie Malicki led the way, winning both distance events. She took the 500-yard freestyle in 5:05.72 and captured the 1000-yard freestyle in 10:29.98
Sophomore Spencer Chappell succeeded in the backstroke events. The Middlebury, Ind. native touched first in the 200-yard backstroke in 2:06.76 and placed second in 100-yard backstroke.
Sophomore Chandler Lulley captured the 50-yard freestyle in 24.80, and she also contributed to the team’s win in the 200-yard freestyle.
Freshman Kalena Laurent took second in both the 200-yard butterfly and the 500-yard freestyle. Orefield, Pa. native Megan Polaha was second best in the 100-yard butterfly and the 200-yard individual medley.
Field placed in both distance events, taking second in the 1000-yard freestyle and third in the 500-yard freestyle. Kelly Carroll and Morgan Fairclough were the final top finishers for the women’s squad. Carroll was out-touched in the 100-yard breaststroke by .26 seconds and took second. Fairclough was second quickest in the 200-yard backstroke.
On the men’s side, Shintaro Noguchi was the only swimmer to finish first or second in an event. Noguchi was second in the 200-yard butterfly.
The team will conclude regular season competition Thursday, Feb. 6 at 6:00 p.m. in the Lombardi Center at the Colonel Frances B. Messmore Aquatic Center against St. Francis College of New York.
Prior to the meet, the Rams will honor eight seniors. Field, Shannon Jones, Nicolas Alemann, Belfanti, Ben Dwyer, Michael Grimmett-Norris, Joon Kyung Kim and Noguchi will all compete for the final time at Rose Hill.
“The last home meet of the season is always a fun one,” said Field. “It’s great being surrounded by parents and friends, and the team just looks to have fun.”
Following this meet, the team will continue to prepare for the Atlantic 10 Championship, which will be held from Feb. 19-22 at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
“We’ve worked hard all year,” Belfanti said. “I have no doubt that we will be putting together the best championship team in my four years here.”