The men and women’s swim team continued its season at the University of Massachussetts, Amherst, where the Rams took on their Atlantic 10 rival Minutemen in a very competitive meet. In the pre-season Atlantic 10 poll, the UMass men were predicted to win the Conference Championship in an almost unanimous decision, while the women’s team was predicted to come in second. The Rams kept this in the back of their minds as they produced one of their best finishes of the season. While the Fordham men lost to UMass 179 to 114, the women’s team came away with a decisive victory, 171 to 124.
Though the men’s team ultimately lost the meet, the young squad was not overmatched, and put up many strong times to win three individual races. Senior Steve Sholdra, who was crowned A-10 and ECAC Performer of the Week after last week’s performance against Iona and La Salle, continued to lead the team with two wins in the 200-yd butterfly and 500-yd freestyle. He was joined by a pair of sophomores, Liam Semple and Tommy Christensen, who took first place in the 1000-yd freestyle and 100-yd butterfly, respectively. Christensen credits the heavy training and ability of the team to give it all in a big meet. “We had to step up against one of the fastest teams in the conference and were able to make improvements from last week’s meet against La Salle and Iona,” he said.
The women’s team, also facing one of the top teams in the conference, was able to pull through with another great performance. Three swimmers were able to earn victories in multiple races, including senior Shannon Lulley, who won first in the 50-yd freestyle sprint, followed right behind by fellow senior and sister Chandler Lulley, who took second. Shannon Lulley also took first in the 100-yd fly, while Chandler Lulley took first in the 100 yd freestyle. Junior Kalena Laurent took first in the 200-yd and 500-yd freestyle races, while fellow junior Morgan Fairclough took first in the 100-yd and 200-yd backstroke events. Other race winners included senior Anna Marshall in the 100-yd breaststroke, junior Megan Polaha in the 200-yd fly and junior Marie Feneron in the 200-yd breaststroke.
The women helped build a solid performance with top finishes in both the 200-yd medley relay and 200-yd freestyle relay. In addition, the women gained points from a group of second place finishes that put them over the edge for victory. Shannon Lulley gave credit to her teammates who finished just behind the race winners. “We had a great 1-2-3 finish in the 50-yd freestyle which really gave us a huge advantage going into the second half of the meet,” Lulley said.
Many on the team agreed that this meet was a great way to prepare for the rest of the season and for the A-10 Championships in general. Chandler Lulley thought this race set the tone for the rest of the season. “This meet was our last big racing opportunity before A-10s, and I think all of the girls really took advantage of it,” she said. “Getting the chance to race one of the best teams in the A-10 in-season helps us to form goals for championships.”
While the A-10s are still a few weeks away, Fordham will face its opponent tonight when it takes on St. Francis Brooklyn at 6 p.m.