Seton Hall Athletics
This has been a long season for the men’s and women’s swimming and diving team. In the final part of this season the Pirates look to make a splash and history in Ithaca, N.Y. at the Big East Championships.
Both sides have swimmers and divers with a chance to make an impact as they set their sights on individual titles.
For the men it starts with diver Ben Mitchell, who is going to be competing in his last Big East championship. The senior has set multiple school records during his time at Seton Hall and looks to add to his trophy case that already has two gold medals from the conference championships last season. He has continued to be strong in his final collegiate season and looks to continue to put up scores in events such as the one meter dive.
Mitchell will look to bring the blue and white as many points and he can and according to head coach Ron Farina, “diving is going to be a huge bonus for us point wise.”
Also looking to help the cause are junior Eric Davidson and sophomore Alex Pfisterer. The two divers could really add to the effort of obtaining those much-needed points as they have shown that they can finish in the top-4. The divers have second and fourth place finishes in the one meter dive this season respectively.
For the men, they can really swim too and 23-year-old freshman Zohar Suslovich looks to keep up the great pace that he set during the regular season. The Israeli native led the Hall in individual victories and points in addition to obtaining times in the 200-yard backstroke and 100-yard breaststroke that were tops in the Big East during the regular season. Suslovich, despite having to adjust from meters to yards, has really adjusted well to swimming in the states.
“I have never swam in yard,” Suslovich said. “The number of strokes, you don’t expect it and the pool suddenly ends. It takes a lot of focus on your turns and it is like two different sports.” Suslovich believes he has adjusted well and based on his early success, his times back that up.
Senior James Logan will also look to defend his title in the 200-meter breaststroke, which shows that this team not only has players on the rise, but also established veterans and champions.
“It is going to be a dog fight between Xavier, Georgetown and us,” Farina said. “It is really just who has the best last day and hopefully that will be us.”
It is clear that the men have a great chance to take home some hardware and do their part to help bring home a team title. However, do not forget about the women because they have some real players too, but also the tougher hill to climb.
“We definitely have our work cut out for us. Villanova on the women is strong in every event,” Farina said. “Just beat the girl next to you.”
For the Seton Hall women, junior diver Gabby Signorelli looks to lead the way on the board for the blue and white. Signorelli’s third-place finish from the three meter board at Marist was one of the highlights for the women on the board earlier in the season. Coach Farina believes that Signorelli “has a great shot to repeat” as the two-time Big East diving champion look to grab her third title in a row.
In the lanes, a young group of Pirates will be depended on to put up solid times in their respective events. Freshman Kylene Ronayne and sophomore Tessa Lindner have had great seasons to this point and look to cap it off with a great showing in Ithaca. Despite being inexperienced, they seem to be ready for the tough task ahead.
Ronayne has really burst on to the scene as a freshman and has accumulated a number of victories in the pool. Lindner was able to win the 100-meter butterfly in the season finale, which led the 23 top-10 times that The Hall accumulated. The women are a force to be reckoned with and want to do their part to bring home a title to the school.
“Waking up every morning at 6 a.m. and putting in the solid work, we have the longest season,” Lindner said. “To see the whole team win would bring recognition to our sport and the high caliber athletes that we have at Seton Hall.”
“It would be unprecedented,” Farina said. “We are focused and ready to race.”
This is a team in every sense of the word. They practice together, cheer each other on and have their sights set on making history, which would mean bringing home the school’s first team Big East title.
“I feel that it is important to stay as relaxed as possible,” Farina said. “They have some confidence and have been consistent all year, this is the fun part.”
Even if the Pirates do not win the team title, both teams have plenty of opportunities to bring home some hardware.
“If we do not win a team Big East championship I am hopeful that we are able to bring home a lot of individual titles.” Coach Farina said.
Follow thesetonian.com for updates throughout the weekend.
Sean Saint Jacques can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @SSaintJ7.