Defending National Champions Georgia Tech Swim Club (GTSC) rolled out to Columbus Ohio last Thursday for the FINIS College Club Swimming 2019 National Championships. The meet lasted for three days, with five sessions, 119 teams, and 1863 swimmers from all around the country. This was the team’s first ever National Championship on the road, and now they had a title to defend. And defend they did! Proving that they didn’t need ‘home field advantage,’ GTSC emerged victorious to secure a national title for the second consecutive year.
The women’s team dominated the competition for the second year in a row to secure a first-place finish on Saturday night with 843 points, crushing second place UVA by nearly 300 points. The men, not to be outdone, fought their way through a competitive field of sprinters to a well-earned second place with 446 points. This was even better than their incredible third place finish last year. GTSC as a team finished in first place overall with 1289 points (beating second place host team Ohio State by 156.5 points). These scores came from dominating the podium at the meet.
The women’s relays shattered every single Nationals swim meet and the College Club Swimming (CCS) records. Some of them were set by these same girls last year, but many were old records dating back when the meet was named East Coast Championships. These relays were different combinations of the same five girls: Alex Rieger, Lindsay Knapp, Ellie Ridgeway, Ally Nastasi, and Rebecca Durham. Nastasi even swam through a broken arm at the beginning of the spring semester, but still managed to absolutely demolish the competition in the 400 yard Individual Medley to win by 15 seconds and set a new CCS record as well as finish second in the grueling 1000 yard freestyle. Ridgeway and Knapp both had a spectacular meet. Ridgeway placed in the top ten in each of her four swims, taking down the notorious Juliana Primm from UNC to win the 100 yard butterfly with a time of 55:98 to set a new meet and CCS record. Knapp secured two first place finishes, also beating out Primm, in the 200 yard freestyle and the 100 yard freestyle. Durham snagged another first place for the women with her Nationals meet and CCS record setting 200 yard backstroke at 2:05.24. Rieger, one of the team’s coaches, also won the Women’s High Point Award for scoring the most points on the women’s side of the meet due to two first place and two second place finishes. Rieger also set two new CCS records in the 50 yard freestyle and the 100 yard Individual Medley.
The men’s team also had a spectacular meet. All their relays placed well within the top 20 to score much needed points. Standouts include Landon Eisenhut and Andrew Rohweder who placed 2nd and 3rd in the 200 yard breaststroke respectively. Three top ten finishes in the 1000 yard freestyle by Luke Teverino, Carson Fregosi, and Jake Grant further cemented GTSC’s place as undisputed distance swimming champions. For the boys, it was definitely the ‘year of the breastrokers’ as Derek Wu joined Rohweder to score points in the 100 and 50 yard breaststroke. The team’s other coach Michael Quillen made his presence known by scoring points in all four of his events including both the 200 yard freestyle and the 200 yard Individual Medley, showing that the team can swim more than just distance freestyle.
GTSC traveled with 42 swimmers and 20 of them placed within the top twenty to score points for the team. Many of these individuals scored in multiple events. Top ten finishers include: Ally Nastasi, Derek Wu, Carson Fregosi, Rebecca Durham, Makenna Laffey, Maddie Sibilia, Blake Bunnell, Ellie Ridgeway, Olivia Fassett, Abbie Cochell, Landon Eisenhut, Andrew Rohweder, Lindsay Knapp, Alex Rieger, and Micheal Quillen. Top twenty finishers include: Justin ‘JP’ Wong, Nick Jozwiak, Mathias Zacarias, Maddie Sibilia, Luke Teverino, Michael Quillen, Jake Grant, Blake Bunnell, Abbie Cochell, Olivia Fassett, Camila Medrano, Makenna Laffey, Derek Wu, Andrew Rohweder, and Sterling Ralph.