Prior to last weekend, Rowan swimming and diving head coach Brad Bowser had said that he believed the men’s swimming and diving team would repeat as champions at the Metropolitan Championships (METS).
On the evening of Feb. 19, Bowser’s prediction became an actualization as the brown and gold won the championship for the second consecutive year.
“We swam out of our minds,” Bowser said. “It was a total team effort straight across the board. What won the meet this year for us? Definitely diving. Going one and two in diving and Chad [Shire] getting in the mix of scoring definitely helped. We were key in our relays and pulled out some close wins.”
In addition to the team performing well, a few individuals stood out during the meet.
Jesse Novak, Mike Simunek, and Nick Marks all took first place in their respective events. Novak was also honored with the Dick Krempecki Outstanding Senior Award.
It wasn’t only the men’s swimming and diving team that put on a show at METs.
The women’s swimming and diving team finished second overall, improving on their sixth place finish from a year ago. Although they were not the overall winners, they were the best Division III team at the competition.
“The girls did awesome. They surprised me,” Bowser said. “I can’t complain with how the freshmen stepped up. They really put themselves in a situation, every single day, to win the meet. It’s just a shame how the depth didn’t prevail over the talent. We were one swimmer away from winning that meet. We’re looking good for next year.”
While the Profs did not have as much individual success as the men’s side, the team fell to University of Bridgeport by only 12 points.
As Bowser mentioned, the divers also found success last weekend. Sean Piacente took home first in the 3-meter board, while John Morris finished in second. Piacente also received the Male Diver of the Meet award. Morris had won the award the past three years.
“We did really well,” diving coach Jesse Lyman said. “The kids have been training hard and practicing for it. We had some big performances from our newer divers and with John [Morris] finishing his career at METs the way he did was fantastic. It’s great to be a part of that success. Having that type of competition for practice only raises how you’ll do in competition. They’ve been able to push each other all year and it worked out for us in the long run.”
The awards and honors did not end there, however. Lyman was named Diving Coach of the Year for the third time in his career.
Now that METs are over, only the NCAA Northeast/South Diving Regional stands between Rowan and the DIII Championships.
Lyman said that he thinks that there is a chance for three divers to go to nationals.
“I think it would be the first time since I’ve been here that we’ve had more than one,” Lyman said. “To just have the potential of three divers at NCAA’s with the amount of swimmers we’re sending, it could make us one of the top programs in the country.”
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