By Maegan White
Elm Staff Writer
The Shoremen traveled to Gettysburg College on Thursday, Feb. 16, to compete in the Centennial Conference Championships.
The meet took place over four days with preliminaries in the morning and a two-heat final(A and B) in the evening. The Shoremen entered the meet ranked fifth in the conference.
The Shoremen started day one off with a fourth and fifth place finish in the 200-yard medley relay and 800-yard freestyle relay respectively. Sophomores William Schmidt and Chase Hensen, junior Bianti Danaj, and senior Gage Mandrell composed the 200-yard medley relay. Sophomores Jack Poleto and Zach Affeldt and juniors Justin Fitzpatrick and Justin Morris competed for the 800-yard relay.
The Shoremen ended day one ranked fifth with 74 points, trailing Ursinus College by two points.
Affeldt and Mandrell secured spots in the A final in the 200-yard individual medley. Mandrell finished third while Affeldt finished fifth. Mandrell’s bronze was the first medal earned by the Shoremen. In the 50-yard freestyle, Danaj competed in the B final and took sixth in that heat, 14th overall.
Hensen, Danaj, Schmidt, and Mandrell earned the first and only medal in a relay event, earning a bronze in the 400-yard medley relay.
At the end of day two, the Shoremen remained in fifth behind Ursinus.
On day three, Morris earned a fifteenth and sixteenth place finish in 400-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke respectively. In the 100-yard backstroke, Schmidt finished just before Morris taking 14th in the event.
Hensen and Mandrell each earned bronze in their individual events for the day: Mandrell in the 200-yard freestyle and Hensen in the 100-yard breaststroke. Affeldt finished behind Hensen in sixth in the A final and junior Jay Dadhania finished in 15th.
The fourth day of Conferences proved to be the most exciting for the Shoremen. Mandrell entered the A final ranked first in the 200-yard backstroke.
In prelims Mandrell broke the school record for the event and at finals, he trailed behind a senior swimmer from Gettysburg. In the last 50 yards of the race, Mandrell caught up to his competitor. He finished with a time of 1:48.09, tying with the Gettysburg swimmer. The two of them shared the Conference title, Championship record, and Conference record.
Affeldt earned his first silver medal in the 200-yard breaststroke. He went into the A final ranked sixth but passed four other competitors to secure the silver and breaking a school record.
Freshman Shane Brace nearly missed a medal in the 200 yard butterfly, finishing fourth. His swim placed him in the Washington College All-Time Top 10 times.
Sophomore Patrick Downes earned a sixteenth place finish in the mile. Danaj and Schmidt finished fourteenth and sixteenth in the 100-yard freestyle. Dadhania and freshman Joey Bond secured thirteenth and sixteenth place in the 200- yard breaststroke.
The Shoremen finished fifth behind Swarthmore College, Gettysburg College, Franklin and Marshall College, and Ursinus. Dickinson College and McDaniel College finished behind WC.
“This season our team definitely had some ups and downs but in the end we were able to rally together and put together some great swims,” Affeldt said. “The team is definitely evolving in terms of culture and I think conferences has only proved that we are able to come together and compete against the best.”
Mandrell and Affeldt earned a NCAA Division III B cut, meaning there is a chance they will compete in the NCAA National Championships. They will find out in the coming week if either will compete in one last meet this season.
The Shoremen also celebrated 16 All-Time Top 10 times. Mandrell now holds the top times in all three of his individual events from the Championship meet. Hensen and Affeldt also broke the school record in the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke, respectively.
Affeldt is ranked second and third in the 100-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke.
Morris, Fitzpatrick, Dadhania, Schmidt, and Brace also earned All-Time Top times for their races this weekend.
Head Coach Phil Quick said that the Shoremen competed well all-around, with outstanding performances from the team’s senior, Mandrell, and underclassmen.
“The Men’s team had a historic championship meet — they destroyed some long standing and impressive team records,” said Quick. “The support the men’s team showed for each other during some of the closest races of the championship made all the difference between a good and great time.”
Photo Courtesy of WC Athletics
Photo Caption: Senior Gage Mandrell celebrating after breaking a school record at the Centennial Conference Championships.