Men’s swimming places third at METS, but that doesn’t affect its dynasty

Matt Grubb during a meet last year. Photo courtesy of Rowan Athletics.

They obviously didn’t get the result they wanted as a team, but the Profs aren’t letting the third-place finish at the Metropolitan Conference Championships (METS) go to waste. In fact, according to Kevin Gillooly, the loss speaks loudly to the men’s swimming program.

“I don’t know any dynasty in the world of sports that hasn’t lost before,” Gillooly said.

The meet wasn’t a bad one by any means for the team that will be sending six swimmers to the NCAA Division III Championships later in March.

The 200 medley relay broke the school record. The 200 free really surprised with a 1:29.09 time and the 400 medley were just off of the school record.

Gillooly broke two school records and four swimmers were given awards at the meet. Gillooly won Swimmer of the Meet, Kevin Yanagisawa won Rookie of the Meet, Chad Shire won Diver of the Meet and Dan Lawton won the Outstanding Senior Award.

So how did a team with so many successes not take home the hardware?

Coach Brad Bowser only had one thing he would have changed.

“Our drive,” Bowser said. “We got complacent. When you’re at the top it’s kind of hard to continue to repeat.”

Bowser noticed this lack of drive as early as Friday. The seniors of this season were freshmen the first time the team won METS, so they became very accustomed to winning and, Bowser thinks, lacked the drive and “killer instinct” to win the meet. They were mostly focused on qualifying for NCAA’s, which only impacted the top eight swimmers on the team.

Bowser will use this as a teaching point for himself and for teams in the future. He won’t dwell on it, but will bring it up when necessary to remind his teams to stay hungry to win. Gillooly reflected the sentiment saying that seeing another team get to jump in the pool and celebrate was a shock and will be used as fuel for the future.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a down year as long as you take the right things away from it,” Gillooly said. “That way, you can improve and be better for next year. And I think we are unbelievably hungry for next year after what happened, and I think we’re going to come back way stronger with a strong freshman class having learned a lot from our mistakes and our losses.”

Gillooly slipped off the block on Sunday after a phenomenal meet and his response is very indicative of a swimmer and a team that will not let a small hiccup get in their way of greatness.

“There’s always going to be sometimes in your career that there’s going to be mistakes,” Gillooly said. “You have to live and learn from.”

Luckily for most of the team, they are young and know now what to look out for in the future.

As Gillooly alluded to, this is just a slight misstep on the path of a dynasty for years to come. Four seniors are graduating, two of which are large “point-getters” for the team, so talented swimmers will be returning.

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