West Virginia Swims to Seven Victories on Opening Night of Home Invitational

west-virginia-GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 26: Swimmers compete during the Prelims of the Division I Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships held at the Greensboro Aquatic Center on March 26, 2021 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Carlos Morales/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
David Dixon. Photo Courtesy: Carlos Morales

On the first day of competition in the second annual WVU invitational, the West Virginia University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams collected seven victories to open weekend on Thursday night, in Morgantown.

The Mountaineers’ seven victories on the opening night of competition at the Aquatic Center at Mylan Park were credited to fifth years David Dixon, Max Gustafson, sophomore William Mullen, freshman Sarah Krusinski, the men’s 200 free relay and the men’s 400 medley relay teams.

“Today was a very solid day of swimming,” WVU coach Vic Riggs said. “We had several lifetime best swims in prelims along with 100% of season best times, which is great. Tonight, we swam with passion and energy. Our 500 free swimmers made great adjustments, our IM swimmers and 50 free swims were very strong as well. The relays, for both teams, are on track for this time of the season.”

Thursday’s finals session began with the 400 medley relays. The women opened the evening, as the team of fifth year Ana Zortea, juniors Tatum Peyerl, Harna Minezawa and Jacqueline McCutchan finished in second after touching the wall in 3:42.94.

The West Virginia men’s team had a 1-2 finish with sophomore Justin Heimes, fifth years Fausto Huerta, Dixon and Gustafson leading the way with a time of 3:14.83. Senior Josh Harlan, sophomore Joe Schaefer, junior David Snider and freshman Braden Osborn followed in second, touching the wall in 3:18.96.

The individual events in the competition pool began with the 500 free. Sophomore Abby Reardon finished in second with a time of 4:51.45, followed by freshmen Emily Knorr in fourth (4:54.35) and Miranda Kirtley in fifth (4:56.58).

Mullen claimed WVU’s first individual victory of the meet with a time of 4:30.90 in the 500 free. Freshman Braden Williams notched fourth-place touching in 4:33.93, while sophomores Roanoke Shirk followed in fifth (4:35.24) and Logan McFadden in sixth (4:37.36).

Action in the diving well commenced following the 500 free, as the men competed on 1-meter and the women on 3-meter. Freshman Sarah Krusinski led the way for the women, tallying a first-place finish with 262.50. Sophomore Camille Burt finished third (253.65), followed by freshman Marian Tiemeier in seventh (231.50).

Senior PJ Lenz led the way for the Mountaineer 2-3-4 finish on 1-meter, with a score of 295.40. Junior Owen Johns followed in second (284.95) and senior Nick Cover in third (276.40), while freshmen Glenn Eloriaga took seventh (250.90) and Hayden Apel finished eighth (226.60), respectively.

“This competition was done in a conference, zones-style meet to accustom each athlete to how those meets are ran,” West Virginia diving coach Karla Helder said. “We handled ourselves well by diving strong enough to make finals and showing up well in the first day. We’re looking forward to the competition tomorrow.”

The women’s 200-yard individual medley was next, where sophomore Shelby Gerving grabbed a third-place finish in the A final after touching the wall in 2:04.68.

Dixon notched first in the men’s 200 IM A Final, finishing with a time of 1:47.14, while Harlan followed in second place (1:49.83) and freshman Jake Young took third (1:50.61).

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Action then continued with the 50-yard freestyle. In the women’s event, West Virginia’s Zortea was edged out of first place in the A final, taking second with a time of 23.06. Minezawa also competed in the A final, finishing in 23.50, good for fifth place.

Gustafson notched another victory for West Virginia, touching the wall in 20.40 in the men’s 50 free A Finals. Osborn and junior Roberts Zemturis finished side-by-side in third (20.68) and fourth (20.69), followed by freshmen Conner McBeth in seventh (20.84).

Thursday’s opening night of competition concluded with the 200 free relays. The women were up first, as the West Virginia women’s team comprised of Zortea, Minezawa, Reardon and McCutchan notched a third-place showing with a time of 1:32.92. Junior Ginger Hansen, sophomore Kate Beckish, freshman Morgan Burton and senior Abigail Riggs followed behind, touching in 1:35.90 to tie for fifth-place.

In the men’s 400 medley relay, Gustafson, Dixon, Zemturis and Osborn claimed first (1:21.73) for the final win of the night. McBeth, sophomores Dylan Melin, David Snider, and Roanoke Shirk followed in third, touching the wall in 1:22.73.

Following the first night of competition, the West Virginia men sit in first place with a total of 658.50 points, while the women’s squad tallied 464 points. William & Mary is in second place with 600 points from the women’s team and 462 from the men’s side.

West Virginia welcomes seven swimming and diving programs to Morgantown this weekend, including Colgate, Old Dominion, St. Bonaventure, Villanova and William & Mary. Diving teams from Toledo and Bowling Green are also in attendance.

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with West Virginia Athletics. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact Advertising@SwimmingWorld.com.