Swimming and diving continues to be a Big East threat
After dropping their first meet of the season, the Seton Hall men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have experienced a resurgence in the pool. In the three meets since, the women’s team has dominated its opponents by a total of 281 points, while the men’s team has outscored the competition by 228 points over that same span. Early on in the season, it seems both teams have the foundation to maintain their footing in the Big East as the season progresses.
So far, the men’s team has found dependability in sophomore short distance breaststroke specialist Joshua Tosoni. Through four meets, Tosoni has not lost a 100 meter breaststroke race, with all of his times coming in at 57.20 or faster. Tosoni also has three 200 meter breaststroke victories and his 2:05.10 time against Rider is the team’s fastest of the season.
On the women’s side, Sara Ouellette’s consistent appearance in the win column in a variety of races has made her a critical part of the team’s success. Ouellette has victories in the 200 and 500 meter freestyle and 200 meter butterfly, plus two wins in the 200 meter backstroke demonstrate and two more as part of a 400 meter freestyle relay team. This diverse set of victories demonstrates Ouellette’s versatility as a swimmer and her ability to rise above the competition regardless of the stroke.
Both the men’s and women’s teams have experienced success in long distance swimming as well. For the men, junior Lior Grubert and senior Vadim Jacobson hold two victories in the 1000 meter freestyle, with times of 9:48.01 and 9:53.85, respectively. Those may seem fast, but both Grubert and Jacobson finished that same race with times nearly 30 seconds faster in the Big East Championship meet last season. Knowing what these two swimmers are capable of, it seems their long distance power has the potential to become even more dangerous as the season progresses.
For the women’s team, sophomore Amanda Kilgallon and senior Courtney Regan hold 1000 meter freestyle victories as well, while sophomore Jill Calocino recorded a team-best 10:42.07 1000 meter time against UMBC. Just like Grubert and Jacobson, Calocino’s time in that same race was 30 seconds faster in the 2016 women’s Big East Championship meet, so her stamina makes her a long distance swimmer to watch down the road.
On the diving board, freshman Taylor Jackson has emerged as a threat for the Pirate women’s team. Jackson, who has received honors for women’s Big East Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Week, is undefeated in the one meter dive through four meets. Even more impressive is that Jackson, set a Seton Hall record score in the one meter dive against Monmouth and Montclair State with a 325.42. Jackson also won the three meter dive against UMBC and Rider. Jackson’s prowess is evident even at this young stage of her college career, and it will be interesting to see if she can keep up the pace and continue outperforming competitors with more NCAA experience.
As men’s and women’s swimming and diving enter the middle of the season, it appears fans have much to anticipate. With the younger swimmers demonstrating skill and a dangerous blend of long and short distance racers capable of championship caliber endurance and speed, the Pirates have what it takes to remain a threat in the Big East. Now, the teams must focus on sustaining the pressure and controlling the pace in meets down the stretch.
Bob Towey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BobTowey5.