Men’s Swimming is back on top at METs Championship

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Rowan and USMMA competing in butterfly. Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. Multimedia Editor / Dyone Payne.

It did not take long for the Rowan Men’s Swimming team to reclaim the Metropolitan Championship after their three year winning streak was snapped last season. In fact, it only took them one year to regroup and win the title once again. 

This past weekend, the team won the 2020 Metropolitan Championships, a meet that took place at Rutgers University in Piscataway. 

At the meet, not only did the team outperform 12 other teams to win, but many of the swimmers were able to have some of their personal best swims and even beat some school records, something Head Coach Brad Bowser was very proud of. 

“It was special, it really was special,” Bowser said. “And a lot of it was because of the overall, what it took for us to win. It was a team effort straight across. We had 82% lifetime bests among those who swam for the men, and that was what it was going to take for us to win.” 

One of these swimmers was junior Kevin Gillooly, who broke records in both individual and relay races. He also knew how important it was for the team to swim at this level in order to win. 

“I felt really good, especially because this meet had been getting so much faster the past few years, like all these teams are getting really fast, young guys,” Gillooly said. “It feels really good to have the individual success and the success we had as a team … we were doing the numbers and turned out that on the guys side we broke 42% of the records that are held at the school.”

Gillooly pointed out how that is almost half the records, which shows the program’s improvement and how they keep getting stronger.

And according to Bowser, this was for all the swims, which needed to happen in order for the team to be able to win this meet. 

“What impressed me the most was [the success] was across the board,” Bowser said. “It was between the three different groups, the sprint, mid-distance, and distance, sometimes we will go into the meet and sometimes one group is on fire and another group is a little flat … that happened to us last year and then for this year to have across the board every single person light it up and do their job and do what they were supposed to do really made the difference.”

Gillooly was part of the team last season who came in third at the meet, so feeling that loss after winning for so long before was something that he and the team didn’t want to feel again, and helped motivate them this year. 

“One of our biggest themes was we want to create a dynasty here,” Gillooly said. “And we told ourselves all year that there has never really been a dynasty in sports history who hasn’t lost once, so we just figured that if we took that loss and learned from it … and came back stronger the next year, then we would be successful and we did just that.”

The season isn’t done for Gillooly yet though. He, along with some of his other teammates, qualified for the NCAA Championships and he is now looking to focus on that. Because based on his past experiences, Gillooly knows it isn’t easy. 

“I’ve learned a lot over the past few years, my freshman year the atmosphere of NCAAs was very overwhelming,” Gillooly said. “But last year I learned how to channel that and swim a little faster and this year we are just trying to treat it and look at the meet saying, it is great that we won but we are not trying to dwell on it and celebrate too much. We are definitely happy we put in the work to be able to do it, but now it is time to focus on bigger things.”

The NCAA Championships starts Wednesday, March 18 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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