Lions Invitational offers chance at revenge against TCNJ for men’s swimming

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Following a near two-week break between meets, the No. 22 ranked Rowan men’s swimming and diving team will return to action Friday in its greatest test of the season thus far.

Rowan will travel to The College of New Jersey to partake in the Lions’ Invitational, a three-day meet which also features participation from the University of Bridgeport, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and York College.

The Profs enter having defeated Pace University and St. Peter’s University 179-113 and 188-95, respectively in a tri-meet on Nov. 21.

Junior captain Jesse Novak, senior captain Tyler Coe and freshman Joe Furze each recorded victories in their respective events. Novak placed first in both the 100 backstroke (53.44) and the 100 freestyle (47.50). Coe had a winning time of 58.10 in the 100 breaststroke, while Furze took the 200 backstroke (1:56.90).

Despite the sweep, head coach Brad Bowser thought some of the swimmers were not mentally prepared.

“The team was pretty beat up because [of] the two-hour trip,” Bowser said. “It took about half the meet for some of the guys to wake up and it had to do with where we are at in our training.”

Novak said the Lions’ Invitational will show the Profs how they stack up against New Jersey Athletic Conference rival TCNJ, with a dual meet between the teams scheduled for Jan. 23, 2016.

“This will let us know in what parts we are stronger and weaker than TCNJ,” said Novak. “It will give us an idea on what we need to work on in the winter training in order to prepare for the dual meet.”

Rowan finished runner-up to TCNJ in the Lions’ Invitational in each of the last two seasons, trailing by 179 points last season and 216.5 in 2013.

Although Rowan has proven to be faster this year, Bowser believes that the Lions could have a deeper team.

“TCNJ’s depth might be stronger than ours,” Bowser said. “Our top half is just as good as anybody but the bottom half that doesn’t matchup with theirs.”

The meet is also an opportunity for freshmen swimmers to showcase their talents. Freshman Dan Lawton is looking forward to the large-scale event.

“I’m very excited. I’ve been in similar meets like this in high school and I did pretty well in the events,” Lawton said. “I look to continue my success from high school. We’ve been training really hard. With a little rest before the event I think we’re going to do really well.”

Lawton has had to adjust to the elevated training level in college and is starting to see the rewards.

“The workouts are tougher than what I did in high school,” Lawton said, “I’ve never done weight training before so I think that’s going to benefit me.”

Along with Lawton, many other freshmen are looking forward to compete this weekend, according to Bowser.

“If all the cards are put in place I think we can definitely come out in first place,” Bowser said.

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