After two years out of the water, Rowan Men’s Swimming and Diving came back with a bang on Saturday, Oct. 3.
For their first meet of the season, Rowan, the 19th ranked team in the nation, defeated York College 182-70.
The 112 point win was due to eight Profs coming out on top in their respective events. These swimmers included graduate student Kevin Gillooly, seniors Greg Cann and Kevin Yanagisawa, juniors Joe Rucci and Andrew Fenton, sophomore Alex Volin, freshmen Tobias Cahnbley and freshman Justin Goglia.
A team composed of Gillooly, Cann, Yanagisawa and Volin placed first in the 200 yard medley relay. The Profs also had a first-place finish in the 200 yard free relay, thanks to Gillooly, Fenton, Matt Maretic, a senior, and Matt DeGennaro, a junior.
“It feels good,” Head Coach Brad Bowser said. “It feels good that we were able to build some confidence. We got stronger as the meet went on, which is a great sign. When you go a year and a half without competing, to be able to have a win in the win column right away is a great feeling.”
The Profs had an all-around dominant performance, with four of eight individual winners placing in multiple events. This flexibility will be crucial to the Profs claiming another New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) title this season, according to graduate student Kevin Gillooly.
“It is the single biggest key to winning that conference title,” Gillooly said. “We have so much potential in terms of our depth, but guys have to be confident. The veterans know what needs to be done, but the rookies have to build confidence and learn from the veterans.”
Although the Profs had numerous victories, Gillooly believes that he and his teammates can continue to improve.
“I’m not entirely satisfied with how I swam this weekend,” Gillooly said. “A big part about this point of the season is shaking off the rust. I did compete this summer in the Olympic Trials but there is nothing that compares to the environment of swimming at Rowan. So there was definitely some nerves to be shaken off for the first meet… Another big thing is just focusing on the fundamentals, and overall, getting 1% better every day I step in the pool.”
Following two victories in the 200 yard butterfly and the 200 yard individual medley, Joe Rucci, a junior, earned his first-ever NJAC Swimmer of the Week honors on Monday, Oct. 25.
“It feels great,” Rucci said. “A lot of my teammates had really great swims this weekend, so getting that honor really means a lot because it shows that all of my hard work has been paying off.”
Gillooly has seen that hard work first hand, and he couldn’t be prouder of his teammate for his success.
“I’m really happy for him,” Gillooly said. “He works his butt off like no one else… Sometimes, early in his career, he would lack confidence, but the work he’s put in has turned him into a whole different swimmer. But we still have a lot of work to do to make him a national champion. On a national level, people are going to be hearing his name a lot more soon.”
Coach Bowser and the Profs started their season and title-chase strong. Now, they look to ride this momentum into their Nov. 5 matchup against William Patterson and their Nov. 6 matchup against Montclair State.
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