WEST POINT, New York, October 5. THE Army men's and women's swimming and diving teams combined to post a perfect 5-0 record versus Boston College, Rowan and Vermont on Friday evening as the Black Knights successfully lifted the lid on their 2012-13 season at Crandall Pool.
The Army men (2-0) defeated Boston College (174-118) and Rowan (183-13), while the Black Knight women (3-0) swept Boston College (173.5-121.5), Rowan (221-69) and Vermont (152.5-142.5).
Army's men won seven of the first 11 events in the pool before swimming exhibition over the final three races. Freshman Chris Szekely posted a pair of individual victories in the middle-distance freestyle events to pace the Black Knights in the pool, and senior Chris Nguyen swept both diving events to lead the Army men off the boards.
“We have a lot of depth on our men's team, and I thought that showed up tonight,” said Army head coach Mickey Wender. “Chris (Szekely) was very impressive throughout the meet, and Will (Viana) picked up right where he left off last season. It was a great start for our men.”
Freshman Nat Beale had a hand in three victories in the pool, and classmate Molly Mucciarone won a pair of individual events to help lead the Army women to their season-opening sweep.
“I am so proud of our women and how they have transformed themselves as a unit,” said Wender. “The energy and enthusiasm they have been training with carried over into tonight's meet, and it was a lot of fun to be a part of. I thought the upperclassmen provided outstanding leadership and the plebes really stepped up. We swam with an unbridled enthusiasm and purpose tonight, and that bodes well for the rest of the season.”
Szekely, competing in his first collegiate meet, looked nothing like a plebe as the first-year performer from Doylestown, Pa., took gold in both the 200 free and 500 free. Szekely won the 200-yard freestyle with a clocking of 1 minute, 43.01 seconds. Later in the meet, he claimed first-place honors in the 500 free in a time of 4:42.26.
Nguyen, who has been named Patriot League Diver of the Meet each of the last two seasons, picked up right where he left off last season. The fourth-year product of Cheshire, Conn., began the night by winning the one-meter event with a score of 273.75. He then coasted to victory off the three-meter board, piling up 317.65 markers.
Army went on to sweep the top three positions in both diving events. Sophomore Zachary Woods (267.85) and senior Chad Drake (247.90) placed second and third, respectively, in the one-meter discipline. Drake then finished runner-up off the three-meter board (299.50) with Woods placing third (284.40).
Sophomore distance specialist Casey Woudenberg performed well in this evening's season opener as well, winning the 1000-yard freestyle (9:49.82) and placing second in the 500 free (4:42.81).
Fellow sophomore Will Viana, who was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year last season, won the 200-yard backstroke (1:54.75) and registered a second-place showing in the 200 free (1:43.56). Viana also outdistanced the field in the 200-yard individual medley (1:57.53), though the Black Knights were swimming exhibition.
Freshman Zach Blankenbeker rounded out Army's list of individual winners on the night, taking gold in the 200-yard butterfly with a clocking of 1:53.42. He led a Black Knight sweep of the top three positions in that event as senior Ayman Andrews (1:54.71) and freshman Sam Mo (1:57.36) placed second and third, respectively. Mo also added a second-place effort in the 200-yard breaststroke, touching the wall in 2:11.68.
Army began the night by swimming to victory in the 200-yard medley relay as the quartet of junior Kenny Yacynych, sophomore Dion Hart, Andrews and senior co-captain Dan Foky finished the race in 1:34.36.
Foky went on to post runner-up finishes in both freestyle sprints, placing second in the 50 free (21.64) and 100 free (47.56). Yacynych, meanwhile, chipped in a second-place showing in the 100 back (52.79). Freshman Richard Xue added a runner-up effort in the 1000 free (9:57.99).
Beale began the night by teaming with freshman Jess Fabrizio, sophomore Kristina Muller and junior Grace Hamilton to win the 200-yard medley relay in a clocking of 1:49.87.
The highly-talented Beale went on to capture individual victories in the 100 back (59.23) and 200 back (2:05.71). Her time in the 100 back ranks 10th all-time at Army, while her clocking in the 200 back lists fourth on the Black Knights' career list. The Black Knights swam exhibition over the final two events, but Beale outdistanced the field in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:10.12.
Mucciarone, meanwhile, displayed her versatility by taking gold in the 50 free (23.91) and 100 fly (58.34). Her time in the 50 free ranks fifth all-time, while her clocking in the 100 fly lists eighth on the Academy's all-time chart. The first-year swimmer also added a second-place finish in the 100 free (53.63).
Sophomore Kristen Barta and freshman Shannon Rogers led the Army women in the middle-distance events. Barta won the 500 free (5:09.63) and placed runner-up in the 200 free (1:56.35), while Rogers won the 200 fly (2:10.74), finished second in the 500 free (5:10.86) and took third in the 200 free (1:57.48).
Muller, junior Laura Stouffer and freshman Ally Walz rounded out Army's list of top-two finishers in the pool as each swimmer turned in a runner-up showing. Muller took second in the 100 fly (59.33), Stouffer earned the silver in the 100 back (1:00.15) and Walz placed second in the 200 fly (2:12.59).
Junior Danielle Ullman paced the Black Knights in the diving events, winning the one-meter event (212.45) and finishing third off the three-meter board (216.10). Junior Rita Davis chipped in a second-place finish off the one-meter board (209.65), while junior Breawna Davis took fourth off the three-meter (213.90).
Army returns to action on Friday, Oct. 19, when the Black Knights travel to Amherst, Mass., to face Massachusetts in a dual meet. The first events are slated to begin at 5 p.m.
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