Men’s swimming and diving wins fourth straight NJAC title, Gillooly honored

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Kevin Gillooly competing in back stroke. Gillooly was recently honored by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association. - Photo / Rowan Athletics.

On Saturday January 25, the men’s swimming and diving team faced their conference rivals TCNJ in Ewing to decide the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship. In the previous three years, the Profs have taken home the victory and the championship, and this season was no different. 

With a score of 161-139, the Brown and Gold won their fourth consecutive NJAC title, which Coach Brad Bowser was very proud of, especially since it is only his sixth season here. 

“It was great, it was nice, it was one of those things that it’s the hard work and determination of when we started this six years ago,” Bowser said. “And for us to win it four times and to have these seniors win it four times in a row, and both for the men and the women, the abilities they have been able to continue to build the program up and continue to show leadership and really bring the program into a top level D3 program.” 

This was also special for junior Kevin Gillooly who has been a part of three championship teams. And while he doesn’t want this to distract the team who have other important meets coming up, he does know that this win is going to help the team’s confidence.

“It felt great,” Gillooly said. “It is definitely something we don’t want to spend too much time celebrating because there is definitely more work to do in this season. And we have a lot more success ahead of us hopefully, but it is definitely a really really good confidence boost going into the next few weeks.”

The NJAC Championship win wasn’t the only big moment to come out of last week for Gillooly though. On Monday, he was honored by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association alongside some very big names in both college and professional Philadelphia sports. 

“It was a really cool experience,” Gillooly said. “It is kind of a stage I have never been on, I have listed a lot of accolades over the years, but this was definitely one of the biggest for me. Sitting at the head table with some really famous Philadelphia sports figures that I have grown up paying attention to my whole life was really special and kind of motivated me to keep going in the direction I am going in this sport, and to take it to another level.”

The Profs are hoping to take the momentum of all the success surrounding the team right now and continue it towards some of the last and most crucial meets like the Metropolitan Conference Championship (METs) and even the NCAA Tournament. 

But before they get there, they will have to face the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USSMA), who had their number last year, but Bowser knows that the team wants to change that. 

“They are one of our rivals in our METs Championship, last year they beat us, so I think some of the guys want to do the same thing to them that they did to us last year,” Bowser said. “Swimming is one of those sports that you become friends with [swimmers from other teams] and when you see them on a regular basis, a lot of these guys know how each other swim and they know each other just based on friendships and social media. It’s great to see that they have a rivalry with them as well,” 

The meet against USSMA will be on Saturday February 2, here at Rowan University.

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