The rigid temperatures and a blizzard could not keep the Seton Hall swimming and diving teams from honoring their nine seniors as they changed their meet to an intra-squad scrimmage on Sunday afternoon in the Arthur E. Imperattore Natatorium.
Family and friends cheered on the Class of 2016 as the athletes ran under a tunnel made up of their teammates with their parents at the end. Head coach Ron Farina and assistant coach Derek Sapp greeted the seniors with flowers, a towel embroidered with their name and a canvas portrait of them doing what that they love best—swimming.
The nine seniors honored in Sunday’s ceremony were Katie Adams, Isabelle Alario, Rae Congdon, Eric Davidson, Megan Mallon, Leah Mayer, Cora Meehan, Alexa Santis and Gabby Signorelli.
The day started off with hearing Farina, the voice the Pirates hear every day. But this time, he was behind the speaker as an announcer, not a coach.
“I just wanted to give them a chance to race,” Farina said. “Let them have fun and it was an opportunity to send our seniors off in a fun way.”
The relay team of Mallon, Melody Bush, Cecelia Henry and Kathryn Carson started the day off strong finishing with a time of 4:06.79.
The most exciting moment of the day for the Pirates came as the all-senior women’s 200-yard freestyle team took first place as the Natatorium exploded with jeers from the packed stands. The relay team of Mallon, Meehan, Congdon and Signorelli led the way with a winning time of 1:50.20.
Even with the swim meet only being an intra-squad scrimmage, Mallon addressed the advantages of it.
“Competing with my teammates is the best thing for a swimmer,” Mallon said.
Meehan not only contributed to the medley but also finished in the top two of her events, including an individual win in the 500-yard freestyle and a second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle.
On the men’s end, the 400-yard medley relay team of Zohar Suslovich, David Rowe, Matthew Zebrowski and Dakota Williams dominated the pool finishing with a winning time of 3:33.23.
A duo match-up between junior Colin Machat and Rowe, a freshman, ignited the stands as the two swam within a second of each other on each lap. Machat came out with a winning time of 49.45 as Rowe was disqualified on his last lap.
On the diving end of the pool, senior Eric Davidson finished with a score of 290.20 while his fellow senior Signorelli finished with a 280.50 on the day.
“It’s sad and it’s rewarding,” Finario added on the departure of his senior class. “We had a large class this year and it’s just nice to see them grow over the four years.
The Seton Hall swimming and diving teams will hit the waters Tuesday, Jan. 26 in an away dual-meet against Marist at 6 p.m. This meet was rescheduled from its previous date, Saturday, Jan. 23 in South Orange.
Sedria Thomas can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @sedria_renee