At a packed Tony Lisa Natatorium, Rowan women’s swimming fell to New York University (NYU) Saturday, Oct. 22, with a final score of 167-90.
The Profs had not competed against NYU since October 2019, and going into this meet, Rowan was 0-7 all-time against NYU.
Rowan did not pick up a win until their fourth event, the 100-yard backstroke. Freshman Ella Pennington finished with a time of 58.69 seconds, securing nine points for Rowan. Pennington was not done yet, as she also won the 200-yard backstroke (2:05.87) and the 200 IM where she recorded a time of 2:13.54 seconds.
“I think Ella Pennington’s 200 backstroke was very impressive. She was about a second or less from our team record,” Head Coach Elise Fisher said. “So to do that in her first collegiate meet and at a dual meet is wild. She has a really promising feature.”
Rowan’s record in the 200 backstroke was set by Alex Bambrick in 2018 with a time of 2:04.53, making Pennington 1.24 seconds away from breaking the record. When asked about her meet, Pennington was proud of herself.
“It felt great to represent just how much work that the coaches and everyone have been putting in these past couple weeks of training,” Pennington said. “It just felt really great to see the training pay off. Not just for me, but for everyone else too. Just being able to show up and show that Rowan here’s to play.”
Pennington was named New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Women’s Swimming & Diving Rookie of the Week after her strong performance.
Freshmen Trisha Lau and Molly Klinedinst also touched on the team’s culture. The two raced in the 200 freestyle relay along with senior Abbi Schick and sophomore Emily Nelson.
“It’s just really amazing to not even be like ‘Oh we are two freshmen swimming with a sophomore and a senior,'” Lau said. “It was pretty much like ‘ok here’s our friends, we’re just gonna do this really fast relay.’”
Klinedinst added to this, comparing her first collegiate meet to high school.
“In my junior and senior year of high school, I was always with the people that are in my grade,” Klinedinst said. “People that I’ve always swam with, but I like how in college, we’re intermixed and we were with one of the seniors in Abbi [Schick]. It’s just nice like all of us swimming together.”
Senior Jordan McChesney was named NJAC Swimmer of the week after picking up their next victory in the 50 freestyle, where Jordan McChesney swam a time of 24.60. In the meet against NYU four years ago McChesney also won the 50 freestyle, with a time of 24.87.
In addition to McChesney, fellow seniors on the team Abbi Schick, Maria McMahon and Lindsay Cave helped the team prepare for NYU.
“I think that they were all vocal in the sense that ‘it’s a tough way to open our season.’ There are some nerves associated with that,” Coach Fisher said. “But I think they were able to get the other members of their squad to understand that it was an opportunity.”
Despite the outcome, Coach Fisher was proud of her team’s mentality throughout their first meet of this season.
“They were still on their feet, they were cheering for their teammates, they kept their heads held high,” Coach Fisher said. “They continued to work at what they knew they needed to, they didn’t try to race someone else’s race.”
Coach Fisher and her team have now turned their attention to the meet against Kean University on Friday, Oct. 28, their first dual meet with an NJAC opponent this year.
“I think we’re having a lot more conversations as we know it will be a closer meet, it is an NJAC opponent, and that makes things a bit more exciting,” Coach Fisher said. “They know something is on the line-an NJAC title. It starts Friday for us. Our last NJAC meet isn’t until January 28 against TCNJ. So in order to get to that moment this is the first step, so it’s a big one.”
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