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Swimming and diving brush off Bulldogs, lose to Lions

For swimming and diving teams, Columbia proves a more watertight foe than Bryant

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed in two dual meets this weekend, hosting challengers Bryant University and Columbia. Friday, the men and women defeated the Bulldogs by scores of 174-67 and 165-76, respectively. But Saturday, the Bears fell to the Lions by scores of 167.5-132.5 and 185-113.



Brown encountered little difficulty in the home meet against Bryant, as the men’s and women’s squads combined to win 24 of 26 events. By beating the Bulldogs, the Bears extended their perfect non-conference record.

“Bryant’s a strong team, but we knew we were better than them,” said captain Brian Barr ’15. “We just wanted to practice racing.”

On the men’s side, the story of the day was the strong performance by the sophomore class. Cory Mayfield ’16 finished first in the 200-yard freestyle. Classmate Ryan Saenger ’16 not only won the 1,000-yard freestyle, but also swam a leg on the Bears’ winning 200-yard freestyle relay. On the diving platform, Sazzy Gourley ’16 topped all competitors in both the 1-meter and the 3-meter events.

There were double event winners aplenty for the women’s team as well. Elly Vitek ’17 triumphed in the 1,000 free and the 100-yard backstroke. Paige Gilley ’14 and co-captain Kate Dillione ’15 started the day by winning the 100-yard freestyle and 50-yard freestyle, respectively, teaming up later in later in Brown’s victorious 200 free relay.



The Bears rested for a mere 24 hours before returning to action against Columbia. Dillione said that this short recovery was “good practice” for the Ivy League Championships, when the team will compete morning, noon and night, for three straight days.

Despite once again swimming at home, Bruno won a considerably smaller share of events than in the meet against Bryant. Altogether, the men’s and women’s squads claimed just 12 of 32 potential victories.

The outcome was not entirely inconsistent with the teams’ expectations. “Columbia has always been one of the better teams in the Ivy League,” Barr said. “They lost a couple of studs this year, so we were hoping to maybe squeak out a win, but they came ready to swim.”

Dillione added that Columbia “goes into every dual meet like it’s the end of the season.” The Lions wore full-body competition suits, which the Bears typically do not break out for duels. “The only thing that really matters to us is how we do at the Ivy League Championships,” she said.

Confronted with rivals as redoubtable as the Lions, Tommy Glenn ’14 put up a herculean fight. The senior standout secured no fewer than four first-place finishes for the Bears. Glenn took home titles in both the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly events, the 400-yard freestyle relay and the 200-yard medley relay, which he anchored.

Barr praised Glenn’s performance highly. “Tommy’s the base of the team. We always expect him to win, because he’s such a stud. When Tommy’s on, it lifts us all up — it motivates us.”

Thomas Mercurio ’16 and Connor Lohman ’17 took first and second place, respectively, in the 200-yard breaststroke, contributing vital points to the Bears’ score.

On the women’s side, Reia Tong ’16 enjoyed a breakout meet, putting together a performance that was almost as eye-popping as Glenn’s. Tong swam to first-place in the 50 free, 100 free and 400 free relay.

“Reia did great yesterday,” said Dillione, who backed up Tong in the 100 free by taking second place. “It was great to see (Tong) being as dominant as she is in practice.”

Across the pool, diver Rachel Speakman ’16 logged a win in the 1-meter diving event and took second place in the 3-meter event.

Reflecting on the meet, Barr said the Bears could take away a valuable lesson. “I think it showed that we have a problem getting out of the starting gate quickly,” he said. “We were a little shaky the first few events of the meet. I think we’ve got to start firing on all cylinders right from the start.”

The Bears will return to competition on Saturday, swimming against Cornell on the road.


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