Men’s swimming sets records in first-place finish at Metropolitan Championships

Junior Nick Marks (pictured above during 2015-16 season) broke the university 100 butterfly record in 48.81 at the Metropolitan Championships. Marks previously set the record this season. -Photo courtesy of Sports Information

The Rowan men’s swimming and diving team finished the 2015-16 regular season in style.

This past weekend, Rowan traveled to Rutgers University to compete against 15 other teams in the Metropolitan Championships — one of those teams being New Jersey Athletic Conference rival, The College of New Jersey.

The brown and gold would ultimately go on to beat TCNJ, along with the other schools, en route to placing first in the Metropolitan Championships.

“The strong point of this season was from the start. The motivation and determination to beat TCNJ at Mets was huge,” says head coach Brad Bowser. “We wanted them at Mets, and now, we want them at nationals. We have the talent to score more points than them and to win at the NCAA’s.”

The brown and gold would ultimately go on to beat TCNJ, along with the other schools, en route to placing first in the Metropolitan Championships.

Members of the Profs never skipped a beat; the team would set 11 new university records over the course of the weekend.

One of the records came in the 200 freestyle medley, as freshman Joe Furze, junior Mike Simunek, junior Nick Marks and junior captain Jesse Novak finished with a time of 1:29.98.

“It feels awesome knowing you’re doing this for a bigger picture,” Novak said. “It’s not a personal record, you know? We’re doing this all for Rowan. You don’t have a lot of opportunities to compete for a bigger power like this.”

Since the tournament was three days long, members of the team knew that the first couple of days would serve as warmups for individual events.

“200 fly on the last day is tough because it’s such a large event, but I kept my motivation high throughout the whole meet,” Marks said. “I’m happy with my ‘B’ cut [time of 1:50.10] and my performance.”

In the 100 butterfly, Marks set a record time of 48.81 seconds, which hit the ‘B’ cut qualifier (49.70).

At the conclusion of the event, Novak was named an individual champion, taking first in the 100 freestyle (43.88).

Now focusing on the NCAA Division III Championships in mid-March, Novak said that his performance at the Metropolitans would serve as great motivation going forward. The junior is currently third in the nation in the 50 freestyle, and the top dog in the 100 freestyle.

“Being on the top is a way better position than I was in last year,” Novak said. “It’s really motivating to see that I had all of these time drops last year, and I’m doing even better this year, so this is all pretty amazing to me. This meet helped me out a lot in terms of sharpening up my techniques and such.”

In addition to the team’s success, Bowser was named Coach of the Year following the completion of the Metropolitans. Fellow coach Jesse Lyman was named Diving Coach of the Year.

“It’s always nice to be recognized by your peers, and to see that the hard work that these guys are putting in is paying off,” Bowser said. “It means a lot, and this is something that I want to continue. It’s not something I’m working for. I’m working for these guys and this university to where it is nationally ranked and noticed. I want the university to be on a top level in the country.”

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