13 swimmers out of the 16 who were invited to compete at the 2015 NCAA Division II Championships in Indianapolis, Ind. over spring break became All-Americans. In the Championship, the men placed ninth and the women placed 13, which poses a huge improvement to their rankings in the past.
“Six of our relays were top eight, including the men’s 200 Free Relay that broke the national record and finished second,” said head coach Ed Brennan.
Top individual scorers at the meet were sophomore Marisa Barton and senior Erin Plachy of the women’s team and juniors Jordan Augier and Runar Borgen of the men’s squad. Augier was one of seven men who made the A cut. He placed in the top eight for the 200 Medley, 400 Medley, 400 Free Relay and 100 Free.
“On the guys side we had a little bit of an upset on the first day,” Augier said. He said that all but one of the men swimming the 50 free on the first day of the meet swam a best time, but the others didn’t do as well as they expected. During the next few days, the men were able to redeem themselves by placing fourth in the 200 Medley.
The men also placed eighth in the 400 Medley Relay. The team lost two of their strongest swimmers for this relay, freshman breast stroker Philip Nordenberg who transferred and Karl Burdis who graduated, but they were able to rise up and place in the top eight.Other men who made 2015 All-American were freshman Wayne Denswil, senior Derek Krell and juniors Jeremy Parker, Borgen, Martin Hammer and Khalid Aldaboos.
The women placed 23 in the 2014 NCAA Championships, making this year a drastic improvement from last season. The national team for both the men and women combined also increased from nine to 16 swimmers, which also gave them more of an advantage. Six women made All-American, including senior allied health major Briana Murphy. With NCAAs being her last meet of her college career, Murphy thinks that the team has improved since last year.
“We beat our rival Florida Southern,” Murphy said. “Especially since they beat us in our dual meet and at conference, it was cool to beat them.” She said that the team’s performance could have been better if they had more time to prepare. “It’s hard to do two big four day meets only two weeks apart.”
Overall, Murphy said that she is happy with her individual performance during nationals but her times have been better in the past. She became All-American in the 200 Free Relay, 800 Free relay and 400 Free Relay.
Freshman Brittany Bayes, sophomore Marisa Barton, freshman Amanda Fernandes, freshman Sophie Long and Plachy also placed All-American. Augier said that freshman Allison Chandler and Victor Philaire did a good job at the meet, especially for their first time at nationals.
“Allison qualified with B cut and made B finals for 200 back only a few seconds off the school record,” Augier said.
Although Philaire didn’t place, Augier thought that experiencing nationals as a freshman counts for a great experience for the future. Both Murphy and Augier were happy with the team’s overall performance those four days.
“I think that a lot of that goes to the coaches,” Augier said. “We have amazing coaching staff and they care so much about us.”
Brennan is also happy about his team’s results at NCAAs, but will miss the 12 seniors who will be graduating in May. The four seniors from this year’s national team that he thinks will be the most difficult to replace are Plachy, Murphy, Kerll and Zane Hranac. Murphy is confident in the rest of the swimmers who will be moving up after her and thinks that the team is left in good hands.
The 2015-2016 men’s team has already set goals to break the national record in the 400 and 200 Free Relays and to become national champions. As long as the men keep moving up, Augier believes that they can fulfill those goals, especially since they won’t be losing any key swimmers for those events.
“Next year we will graduate the best mens class we’ve had in my 35 years at Tampa,” Brennan said. “I don’t even want to think about that!”
Ann Marie Distasi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org