The Fordham swimming and diving team finished its regular season campaign in style against the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers at its last meet of the season at the Col. Francis B. Messmore Aquatic Center. The interborough matchup featured a number of stellar performances from both the men’s and women’s teams, both of whom took home victories. It was also Senior Night for the Rams, who honored nine seniors in their final home meet at Rose Hill.
The women’s team, who beat the Terriers by a score of 110-62, featured a winner in the majority of the races, thanks to a school-record performance from sophomore Wendy Espina-Esquivel. Esquivel’s score of 288.52 in the 1m dive was just enough to top her previous record of 286.65 set in October, while her performance of 279.60 in the 3m dive was also one of her best. Esquivel was joined by senior Megan Gray as multi-event winners, as Gray took first in the 500-yd freestyle and was part of both winning relay teams. In the 200-yd freestyle relay, coach Potsklan used a tandem of sisters with Megan Gray, sophomore Erin Gray and seniors Shannon and Chandler Lulley. In the 200-yd medley relay, Coach Potsklan opted instead for a class-diverse group, with Megan Gray, junior Katerina Lisitsin, sophomore Julia Day and freshman Siobhan Dale leading the way to sweep relay races.
The men’s team had another strong performance from a young group of swimmers, led by senior Steve Sholdra in the 500-yd freestyle and 100-yd breaststroke. Junior Miguel Mattox also took first in the 200-yd freestyle, while sophomores Tommy Christensen and Matt Luther won in the 100-yd freestyle and backstroke, respectively.
Sophomore Liam Semple also won in the 200-yd individual medley, while both relay teams took first in the 200-yd medley and 200-yd freestyle.
It was a great night for the Rams, who went into senior night looking for big wins against a less-competitive opponent than they have been used to this campaign. Overall, there were 20 event wins, with five seniors playing a role. While the women’s team certainly has the edge this year in terms of experience, the men are no less optimistic about their future. With a win over St. Francis and a strong showing at UMass the weekend before, the men’s team is not backing down with the A-10s eight days away. “Seeing improvements such as these near the end of the season really encourages us for A-10s,” said Christensen. “This is a young team with a lot of potential, and that will definitely be shown at A-10s.”
The women’s team is going to the Championships, looking for a win against a number of competitive schools. While St. Francis did not pose the same threat teams like Richmond or Duquesne may pose, a win against preseason-ranked UMass is certainly telling of Fordham’s place in the conference. Chandler Lulley is excited to perform with her team in the most important meet of the season. “The hard work for the season is done, and now it’s time to focus on the small details that make our races come together,” she said. “We have all put in the work and are excited to see more fast racing at A-10s.”
Lulley and her teammates on both the women’s and men’s side will kick off the championship action next week at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio, on Feb. 17.