Fordham Swimming & Diving Sweep the Iona Gaels in Final Home Meet

Jack Roche, Contributing Writer

In their final home meet of the season, the Fordham swimming and diving squad put their talents on full display, sweeping the Iona Gaels on Wednesday night. The women posted a commanding 175-114 score en route to victory, while the men followed suit with a 143-119 tally.

The evening began with the women’s 200 medley relay, where Fordham captured the top two spots (senior Naima Mackrel, junior Vaula Vekkeli, senior Mia Bullock,and senior Sammy McDonald touched first with a time of 1:47.93). The Rams never turned back after claiming this event, leading the Gaels throughout the entire meet.

Senior diver Molly Dunn lead Fordham off the board, taking home the three-meter competition with a staggering score of 310.80, a school record (previously held by Wendy Espina-Esquivel, class of 2018, with 307.20). Dunn also won the one-meter dive with a mark of 254.25.

Vekkeli and freshman Alison Lin were the other two multi-event winners, as Vekkeli was victorious in the 200 freestyle (1:55.47) and the 400 IM (4:29.38), while Lin placed first in the 100 backstroke (59.15) and 500 freestyle (5:10.86).

The men were victorious at the Francis B. Messmore Aquatics Center for the first time since Nov. 22, where they handily defeated NJIT, 194-102. This go-around marked the 12th competition between the schools, in which Fordham improved their record to a pristine 12-0. Senior Casey Sawyer from Syracuse, New York spoke about how a home win down the stretch can impact a team.

“It is definitely a good push for our team as we move into preparing for the conference tournament.” He added “it also showcased some very good in-season swimming by plenty of people on the team.”

Some of these swimmers included junior Patrick Wilson and sophomore Josh Stegen. Wilson touched first in the 100 and 200 breaststroke events (58.02, 1:55.74), while Stegen contributed with first-place finishes in the 100 and 200 freestyle (47.47, 1:41.91).

Additionally, Wilson had an incredibly crucial role in the 200 freestyle relay, joining senior Sean Finlay, junior Bryce Bollesen and Kevin Berry in their win.
Berry, the senior from Garrett Park, Maryland, also helped propel the Rams to first place in the 200 medley relay with junior Scott Stern, sophomore Julius Ekstrand, and Bollesen with a time of 1:35.55.

Sophomore Connor Wright from Monmouth Beach, New Jersey also took the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:55.74.

The women now sit at a near-perfect 9-1, and the men currently boast a record of 4-5 as they look to finish the season .500 in dual-meets.
The Rams will be on the road from here on out, following the dominating sweep in their final home meet. Looking ahead, Fordham travels north to Amherst as they look to challenge UMass. That match kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 1:00 p.m.