Old Dominion’s swim and dive team built on last week’s home opening split with a convincing men’s and women’s victory on both sides, leading 183-127 over St. Andrews University last Saturday afternoon at J.C. Scrapp Chandler Pool.
The Lady Monarchs men outpaced the Lady Saints 31-18 while the men rebounded from the week prior 152-109 over the visitors.
Leading the charge early on the ODU women’s side was sophomore Alicia Frey men’s side was Andrew Cook, who took the 1,000 yard freestyle with a time of 9:44.14. Frey did not stop there, as she collected several more victorious finishes on the day in the water. She edged out fellow teammate Amber Wingfield by .27 seconds with a 1.01.18 time in the women’s 1,000 yard butterfly and the 100 yard backstroke just six events later at 1:03.41.
“We’ve been working really hard this entire week and to put it all together, throw it in the pool and go after it, it was hard but fun though,” Frey said of the team’s tireless work ethic in preparation for Saturday’s showdown. “It was a good opportunity to push ourselves even harder. I’ve seen everybody push themselves harder, do races they normally don’t do. Everyone did really great and it was a lot of fun to watch everyone.”
Frey capped off the day on the women’s side with a win in the women’s 200 yard freestyle relay alongside teammates Evelina Aizpuriete, Abby Vance and Morgan Johnson with a time of 1:42.80. She elaborated on how her reaction to an individually dominant performance and what drove her to individual success on the day in route to helping the Lady Monarchs notch their second straight “W” at home.
“I was actually really surprised but it felt really good. I had great teammates to swim next to that pushed me to get those wins and just my mindset. You’ve just got to stay really focused and really determined with a positive attitude, which everyone had today,” Frey said. “For me to just go out there and win was just awesome but everyone else did really well too.”
Other notable wins on the women’s side included Juliana do Santos’ 1.58.14 first place finish in the 200 yard freestyle and Morgan Johnson’s win in the 500 yarder of the same race at 5:16.32.
The men rebounded from last week’s disappointed loss to UMBC in high fashion. Freshman phenom Jacob Ziedler took home wins in the men’s 50 yard breastroke at 26.66, the 100 yard breastroke at 59.26. Not to be outdone, junior Francisco Byrnes shined in the men’s 50 yard butterfly, while being narrowly edged out by Sidni Hoxha 51.67-51.56 in the men’s 100 yarder.
The concluding race of the meet saw Byrne and Hoxha, Richie Smith and Carer Watson fall 3.04 seconds behind Saints David Lambert, Jake Anderson, Garrett Ocker and Josh Dixon in the men’s 200 yard freestyle relay. After a hard earned win on the day, Byrnes credited the team’s focus and determination to step up their game in home water throughout the day.
“I felt pretty good. I think everybody just got up and got after it today. We knew that we needed to step it up at home finally and have a good meet. So we just did what we had to do,” Byrnes said.
As far as team morale is concerned, the meet did wonders for their confidence as a whole in this young season, as Byrnes eluded to after all was said and done.
“It’s definitely a big moral boost, especially because we’ve got some bigger meets coming up. We’ve got a meet down at North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and then we’ve got nationals here in about three and a half weeks. So, definitely a big moral boost. It’s what the team needs,” Byrnes said.
Head coach Carol Withus was impressed by Frey, Byrnes and her entire team’s performance and expressed her excitement with them after the meet with feel good chants and words of encouragement that resonated with every swimmer on the floor.
“Well, Alicia’s a transfer this year and she’s really bringing a lot to the team. She’s a good team player and I’m really glad she came. She’s helping a lot of people train hard in practice,” Withus said of Frey. “What can you say when somebody’s that good? [Byrnes] is doing a great job and he’s a role model in practice every day.”
The Monarchs and Lady Monarchs head to Radford next for a two-day dual meeting against Radford and Marshall that begins Fri., Nov. 15 at 6 p.m.
By Brian Jerry