Swimmers End Season With Top Five Finish

Arthur Dowell, Web Master/ Online Sports Editor

The men’s and women’s swim teams relayed their way to place for the season. Men took home second, and the women placed third.

Both teams went in short-handed with the women taking only 13 swimmers and the men 14, far fewer than a full MAC roster of 18 swimmers.

On the men’s side, junior Doug Ranson won his second consecutive MAC Championship in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke giving him four overall MAC individual titles. Ranson doesn’t take the achievement for granted.

“A lot of people throughout their swim careers don’t have the opportunity to win an event at MACs,” said Ranson. “So not only being able to win, but being able to win in both events back to back is truly a blessing.”

Ranson hopes to repeat for the third straight year and said it takes a lot of hard work to reach that goal.

First year Chris Gleason had quite an experience, taking home two MU records. Gleason was a runner up in the 400 individual medley with the time of 4:12.10. The next day, he broke the school record in the 1650 Free with the time of 16:58.52, breaking a record that stood since 2004.

The relay team of first year Matt Cullen, sophomore Peter Kolokithias, junior Matt Essington, and senior Adam Grzech placed second in the 400 freestyle with a finish time of 3:13.08.

The women had a strong weekend with the help of first year Danielle Blass. She won the MAC Championship in the 100 breast stroke and was runner up in the 200 individual medley, taking both school records with her.

Junior Bree Grzech won a MAC title in the 100 backstroke on the second day of competition, beating her own record set a year ago. She finished the weekend in third place in the 200 backstroke. She said she did not expect such a successful weekend.

“Honestly we did better than I expected us to do,” said Grzech. “We literally had a roller coaster of a season and to finish third on the women’s side and 2nd on the men’s side without a full MAC roster was truly awesome.”

The 400 Medley Relay team consisting of Blass, Grzech, junior Brittany Luzik, and sophomore Dana Hallam took home first place on the first day of competition falling just short of a school record.

“Overall we are happy with our new best times and our team enthusiasm,” said Blass. “We felt that sticking together and really feeling like a team was more important than what place we got.”

Blass also received recognition: The Middle Atlantic Conference awarded her Rookie of the Year honors.

The team feels hopeful for the future and as Ranson said, “Seeing your name with the number one next to it, it is a pretty amazing feeling.”

Many of the members of MACs were in the senior class and, this marked the last opportunity to swim for MU. Senior Adam Grzech was emotional going into MACs and felt like he was an old guy being forced to go into retirement.

Though Grzech fell short of his goal of making nationals all four years, he will not soon forget the people he met and the memories made in his four year journey.

“I will cherish the most from the people that I have met on the swim team that turned into my family. No matter where you come from, how long you swim, how terrible you do the team is always there picking you up.”

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