Rowan women’s swimming dominates TCNJ on Senior Day

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Sara Clayton (center) gets honored by her family, coaches, and part of the men's team before the meet. Clayton was the team's lone senior. - Photo via Rowan Athletics

The women’s swim team hosted their New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) rival TCNJ for the team’s Senior Day on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024. Rowan dominated in the meet as they took down the Lions by a score of 178-70, which ended up being the Profs’ second-highest point differential so far this season and their seventh consecutive win over TCNJ.

Some of the team’s standout players included junior Laura Jones and sophomore Ella Pennington. Both athletes won four events each, which played a huge factor in their blowout win. Laura won the 1000 free, finishing with a time of 54.66, as well as the 50 free, with a personal best time of 24.55.

“I was most impressed with my 50 [free] because it was a personal best for me. In a dual meet, I have never had a personal best, I usually get those during championships or end-of-season meets where I’m tapered and suited up,” Jones said. 

While Jones dominated those events, Pennington recorded a first-place finish in the 200 (2:05.07), the 100 back (57.09), and the 200 IM (2:08.61). Pennington has been on a tear her entire sophomore season, and with the NJACs coming up soon, it seems like she is only getting better. 

“I was definitely most impressed with the relay. I feel like as a team we have made a lot of progress in working and swimming together this season. We have come a long way and I am proud of that,” Pennington said. 

The win isn’t the only thing the athletes plan on taking from this past meet. They’re hoping that this momentum can carry over into next week’s meet against Kean and Swarthmore and into the NJACs.

“We definitely want to take the momentum from a good race,” Jones said. “Sometimes I get in my head even when I have a good race. I am very critical of myself so definitely seeing my times or seeing my place sometimes I tend to overthink it. But now I feel like with the amount of wins I had I want to bring this momentum into my upcoming practices and meets to get out of my head. These wins help me tell myself you can do this. You have the training and the teammates to support you.”

As Jones alluded to, this is a close-knit unit. They rely on each other to get better each day and constantly support each other regardless of outcomes, and meets like the one against TCNJ can only help the team’s chemistry.

“I learned that our team camaraderie has grown a lot,” Pennington said. “I feel like that is something not only myself but my teammates will bring into our next meet.”

The most important part of this meet was that it was Rowan’s Senior Day. The team honored Sara Clayton, who is the lone senior on the team.

“For me, winning on Senior Night felt like a way of honoring her myself,” Jones said. “On my first day here, I can remember meeting her [Clayton] and thinking to myself how funny and kind she is. She was so dedicated to the sport and was the only person in her class to compete all four years. I definitely admire her. She has always been kind of like the mom of the team and has always made sure everyone felt included.”

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