ANNAPOLIS, Maryland, December 13. LAST night’s matchup between the Army and Navy swimming and diving teams will go down as one for the ages in the history of the two schools. Competing in front of a capacity crowd that likely exceeded 1,000 spectators, Navy defeated Army on both the men’s and women’s sides, while four pool records, 19 meet records and five Patriot League records were established.
Navy Press Release
The Navy swimming and diving teams extended the two longest winning streaks in Army-Navy history by sweeping the Black Knights before an overflow crowd in Lejeune Hall Thursday night in Annapolis. The Navy women’s team (4-2) recorded a 216-84 win over Army (2-3), while the Navy men (4-2) posted a 196-104 victory over the Black Knights (3-2) .
Navy’s women’s team has now defeated its counterparts in each of the last 25 seasons, which is the longest winning streak by any team in any sport in Army-Navy history. Meanwhile, the Navy men’s team moved into second place for the longest winning streak with their 23rd consecutive win.
Navy’s two teams combined to win 27 of the 32 events, place first and second in 10 events and first, second and third in four events. Additionally, Navy broke 19 meet records, four Lejeune Hall records — one of which was held by Michael Phelps — and five Patriot League records.
“I’m overwhelmed,” said Navy men’s swimming head coach Bill Roberts. “That’s the only way I can put it. We always hope and expect to do well in this meet, but both the men and the women just took control of this meet right from the bat. It was fun to watch.”
“It is just incredible,” said Navy women’s swimming head coach John Morrison. “An incredible team effort. When the team comes together and lays it out on the line for their teammates, some amazing things happen. Tonight was one of those occurrences. It was spectacular, from the first event to the last. No one was doing it for themselves, but for each other.”
Lejeune Hall seats 1,000 fans, and those stands were more than filled through the majority of the meet.
“The atmosphere in here tonight, in my over 20 years of coaching, was the best,” said Roberts. “I have never seen this at a dual meet. It was loud, and I think people appreciated the good swimming that was going on, and the great diving they saw. We can’t thank enough the athletic department, the Brigade, all of the support that went into this meet beforehand and then tonight. It was great to see.”
“It was absolutely electric in here, from start to finish,” said Morrison. “We thank the support of all the mids, the families that flew in for this, along with a big alumni contingent. The feeling in here was one of the most electric events I have been at, from NCAAs to anyplace. It was phenomenal, and that led to a lot of big swims, by both us and Army. Army had some incredible times, and we were fortunate to stay ahead of them.”
Thursday’s meet was the first Army-Navy meet held in Lejeune Hall to be contested in short-course yards as opposed to short-course meters, which Navy holds all of its other meets in. This is due to a new rule passed by the Patriot League’s coaches that states the visiting team determines the length of the pool. This is in contrast to the NCAA rule that says the home team determines the pool’s dimensions.
The springboard to Navy’s big night — for both teams — took place in the very first event of the meet, the women’s 200 medley relay. The Mids would not only claim first place in the race with a meet-record time of 1:42.53, they also finished in second place with a clocking of 1:42.70. Army would place third in the race with a time of 1:42.95.
“On paper, it looked like Army had a stronger back half of the medley relay,” said Morrison, “and we didn’t have enough to get out too far on them heading into the last half. We had Army picked to win the relay, so to finish first and second was just a fantastic moment for us and really set the tone for the remainder of the meet.”
Navy’s men’s team followed by placing first — in a meet, pool and league record time of 1:27.37 — and third (1:28.41) in the 200 medley relay to help both teams jump out to early leads.
Those two wins were the first pair of 11-consecutive victories recorded by Navy swimmers. In the women’s meet, Rachael Dudley (So., Hoschton, Ga.), 9:55.04, and Sara Lopez (Fr., Lenexa, Kan.), 10:09.80, placed first and second in the 1000 free, Charlotte Meyer (Fr., Bethesda, Md.), 1:49.13, and Maddi Thompson (So., Jersey Shore, Pa.), 1:49.18, were 1-2 in the 200 free, then Anna Brooks (Fr., Kansasville, Wis.), 54.63, and Lauren Baguley (Sr., Hudsonville, Mich.), 54.85, placed first and second in the 100 back. Each of the three respective victories set new meet records.
The Mids would then claim the top-four finishers in the 100 breaststroke, with Ellen Bradford (So., Knoxville, Tenn.) leading the way with a winning time of 1:02.61. Rheanna Vaughn (Sr., Aliso Viejo) won the 200 fly for the Mids in a time of 1:58.43 to break her own meet record, then Olivia Morrell (Fr., Albuquerque, N.M.) won the 50 free for the Mids.
“We just kept the momentum going,” said Morrison. “We have had some difficulties with health in the distance events this year, but to have Rachael not only win the 1,000 but also come back 15 minutes later to place third in the 200 fly was a tough double. Then our 200 free swimmers swam lights out and we stepped up in the 100 backstroke and dropped a ton of time.”
On the men’s side, Alex Nickell (So., Loveland, Colo.), 9:10.64, and Noah Martin (So., Phoenix, Ariz.), 9:11.07, were the top two finishers in the 1000 free, Hugh Davison (Sr., Towson, Md.), 1:36.00, and Riley Mita (Jr., Stevenson Ranch, Calif.), 1:36.46, placed first and second in the 200 free, then Brendan Walsh (Jr., Annapolis, Md.), 48.37, and Joe Lane (Fr., Durham, N.H.), 48.64, led the swimmers in the 100 back. Nickell and Walsh set new meet records with their winning times, while Davison broke the meet, pool and Patriot League record with his clocking.
One of the more noteworthy swims in the first half of the meet took place in the men’s 100 breaststroke. Sean Murphy (Sr., Hudson, Ohio) won the event for Navy with a time of 52.88. That clocking broke the previous meet (55.33) and league (53.77) records, as well as the Lejeune Hall standard of 53.75 that was established by Michael Phelps three years and two days ago.
“Hugh’s race was big in that he had to come from behind, as did Riley,” said Roberts. “That, with being a couple of events in, guys knew good things were coming. By the time we got to the 100 breaststroke, Sean was going to go fast, but I don’t think anybody thought he would go that fast. It is a cliche, but one just feeds off of the results of another.”
After Army’s Sean Rogan won the 200 fly, Dain Bomberger (Jr., Lititz, Pa.) picked up the win for Navy in the 50 free with a time of 19.75. That clocking broke the meet record and just missed tying by one one-hundredth of a second the pool and league record.
Rounding out the first half of the meet was Navy winning the women’s three meter and men’s one meter diving boards. Julie Jesse (So., Edwardsburg, Mich.) won the women’s event with a score of 248.25, while Ben Freedman (Sr., Kennewick, Wash.) won the three meter with a score of 326.55.
Navy swimmers would win each of the next six events. Morrell led a 1-2-3 Navy finish in the women’s 100 free (50.22, meet record) with Davison winning the men’s race (44.26, meet record). Meyer earned her second win of the day as she claimed the 200 back (1:58.08, meet record), which was followed by Conor Campbell (Sr., Manassas, Va.) winning the men’s edition of the race (1:45.78, meet record). Bradford made it a sweep of the breaststroke events with her win in the 200 (2:14.43) before Luke Hoffer (Sr., Chapel Hill, N.C.) won the men’s 200 breast (1:54.31) in a new meet, pool and league record.
The Mids would win just one of the next four races — Tom Duvall (So., Durham, N.H.) posted a time of 4:17.27 to win the 500 free by 10 seconds and set a new meet, pool and league record — but Navy then won five of the remaining six events during the meet. Jesse won the one-meter board with a score of 237.83, while Freedman won the three meter with a tally of 326.55 points, Meyer won the 200 individual medley (2:01.80) and both Navy teams set meet records in winning the 400 freestyle relay races.
Navy’s teams are now off from competition until early January.
Army Press Release
The Army swimming and diving team broke a combined total of 12 records in Thursday night’s meet versus Navy, with seven records from the women and five records from the men. Freshman Danielle Nuszkowski lead the Army women as she broke two academy records with a first-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle and a third-place finish in the 1000-yard freestyle, while plebe Sean Regan contributed three record breaking performances in the 100 and 200-yard butterfly events and the 200 medley relay as the Black Knights were swept by Navy in the annual “Star” meet at the Leujene Hall.
The Navy men scored a 196-104 victory versus Army while the Navy women secured a 216-84 decision against the Black Knights.
“My hat goes off to the Navy team for their outstanding performances,” said Army head coach Mickey Wender. “This was the fastest meet I have ever been a part of in my career and although we were beaten soundly, our performances almost across the board were very good. With seven academy records for women and five on the men’s side, this meet was something never been a part of. The attitude, effort and the way the team carried one another was tremendous.”
After touching the wall at 4:54.38 in the 500 free for the gold, Nuszkowski went on to pick up two third-place finishes in her respective races. The freshman long distance swimmer came through with a time of 10:12.18 in the 1000-yard free, followed by a 1:50.39 record-setting performance in the 200-yard freestyle.
Plebe classmate Ariana Bullard added the only additional first-place finish for the Black Knight women, breaking the plebe records with a time of 53.66 in the 100-yard butterfly. Bullard also earned points and set the bar for another plebe record for Army with a second-place finish in the 200-yard butterfly touching the wall at 1:59.49.
Joining Nuszkowski and Bullard in the record winner’s circle were sophomore standouts Natalie Beale. Beale first swam for an academy record time of 55.60 in the 100-yard backstroke taking home the bronze, before competing in the 200-yard backstroke in which she broke an additional academy record and took the silver with a time of 1:58.64. Sophomore counterpart Molly Mucciarone also earned a second-place finish swimming for a personal best time of 23.09 in the 50-yard freestyle.
Senior diver Danielle Ullman rounded out points for the Black Knight women finishing second off both boards. Ullman earned 236.25 points for her performance off the 1-meter board and collected 227.03 points off the 3-meter board. Senior co-captain Breawna Davis also placed off the 3-meter board collecting 236.50 points on the evening.
On the men’s side, Regan, was joined by sophomore Sam Mo who was the only other Black Knight to have a first-place showing. Mo contributed a third-place finish for the Black Knights with an academy record time of 49.71 in the 100 backstroke. After smashing an academy record, Mo went on to post a time of 1:50.03 in the 200 individual medley race for the gold and was followed by Army junior Will Viana who took the silver touching the wall at 1:51.50.
Sophomore freestyle swimmer Chris Szekely had an impressive performance in Thursday night’s meet with two second-place finishes in addition to a third-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle. Szekely posted an academy record time of 19.88 in the 50-yard freestyle and clocked in at 44.40 in the 100 freestyle.
Casey Woudenberg and Colin Kanzari each chipped in a third-place finish in the 1000 freestyle and 200 breaststroke, respectively.
Junior diver Zach Woods placed second off both boards for the Army men. Woods collected 313.28 points off the 3-meter board and 313.20 off the 1-meter. Woods was followed by junior diver Josh Urnezis off the 1-meter board collecting third-place honors with 290.18 points.
Army will be idle for the next four weeks as the Black Knights break for exams and the holidays. Army gets back in the competition pool on Thursday, Jan. 3, when the Black Knights travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to take part in the San Juan Invitational.