Rowan’s women’s swimming team returned back from the four-day-long Metropolitan Conference Championships (METs), which was held at Rutgers University, with a second-place finish and some new school records.
The event was from Thursday, Feb. 16 to Sunday, Feb. 19, and the team got outstanding performances from plenty of swimmers throughout the weekend, including Ella Pennington and Jordan McChesney, to just narrowly beat out Merchant Marine for second place.
“We improved from third place to second this year,” Head Coach Elise Fisher said. “Ultimately, they competed and really showed up and rose to the occasion which was awesome.”
As a freshman, it was Pennington’s first time experiencing the environment the METs bring. Instead of fearing it, the freshman from Elkton was excited to show off her skills and represent Rowan swimming.
“It felt awesome to be able to represent my school like that and represent my team and show what a good program we have,” Pennington said.
Pennington won first place in the 100 and 200-meter backstroke finals, breaking two schools’ records in the process. She also placed second in the 200 IM final with a time of 02:06:18. As a result of this success, Pennington was named as the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Rookie of the Week.
“It was extremely well deserved but to come in as a freshman of any program and to make a statement so early on is ultimately incredible,” Coach Fisher said.
While the team’s season is coming to an end, Pennington’s great season will continue, as the freshman swimmer got invited to compete in the NCAA Division III championships and will compete in the 200 backstrokes.
“NCAA takes the top 20 women, automatically in each event,” Coach Fisher said. “We did the entries to see where Ella would fall, she’s 22nd. How it works is after they take the top individual women, they’ll fill the relay spots. Then there’s an NCAA equation that adds certain lines in certain events.”
With the NCAA championship headlining a few of the next events Pennington will be taking part in, Coach Fisher is focused on helping her fix the small things.
“We’re really just going to make sure that we’re working on fine-tuning some of the details of her events and shaving time off the areas that are easy fixes leading up to the next three events,” Coach Fisher said. “Then after that, we can really dive in a little deeper into what can be fixed over the next three years to bring her even more success.”
Meanwhile, McChesney placed first in the 200 freestyle prelims and finals. Her time of 1:54:15 broke the previous school record of 1:54:29.
“Every year we do preseason meetings with our coaches and you set goals for the rest of the season,” McChesney said. “I kind of said in a meeting ‘It’d be kind of cool to break the 200 freestyle record.’”
With it being the final meet of her collegiate career, McChesney was proud to finish her swimming career behind the cheers that everyone else on the team got.
“The atmosphere there was so good,” McChesney said. “Everybody was up the whole time cheering for each other, and supporting each other. It was a great way to capstone the end of my career. I couldn’t imagine doing that meet with any other group of girls.”
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