Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Hoyas Out in Full Force at Final Meet

Last year, Georgetown sent zero athletes to the Big East championships. This year the Hoyas on deck at the league’s biggest stage numbered 20.

“We’re back. I’m excited we had 20 athletes there this year, which is 20 more than we had last year,” Head Coach Bethany Bower said after bringing a full team of swimmers and divers to East Meadow, N.Y., to compete against the league’s best teams.

While the Hoyas did could not garner any high finishes, a return to the top level of competition is still a crucial step forward for Georgetown, which admitted to being intimidated by the meet at first.

“It took us a while to settle into the meet. It’s intimidating, you’ve got all these big teams with their warm ups and matching outfits for each day but once we settled in, we started to be more confident,” Bower said.

That confidence was seen most in three freshmen: Daniel Robinson, David Ballinger and Goran Bistric.

“Dan’s a quiet guy and tries to draw as little attention to himself as possible,” Bower said. “And they’re small guys, if you look at Dan and David, they’re probably the two smallest guys on the team, but they’re two of the strongest swimmers on my team.”

Bistric and Robinson were the top two Hoyas in the 200-yard butterfly, finishing with times of 1:53.46 and 1:56.32. Bistric’s time broke the previous Georgetown record of 1:54.11 held by Kevin Walsh (COL ’05).

“David Ballinger and Dan Robinson probably didn’t get as much attention as they deserved for all the work that they did,” Bower continued. “Here they were, freshmen and making Big East championships.”

Following Bistric’s lead, junior swimmer Laura Sytnyk shaved .08 seconds off her own school record in the 200yd butterfly with a time of 2:08.72, good enough for 20th place. Sytnyk also placed fourth in the 50yd freestyle, .79 seconds behind her teammate, senior Julie Dougherty, who finished in 25.94 seconds.

The Notre Dame men and women swept the championship meet for the second year in a row. The men dominated from the get-go while the women’s team needed late efforts from a trio of juniors to pull out the win from under Rutgers.

The Notre Dame men had never won a swimming title before last year, but they did not look it after dominating the field from day one. Their 224.5-point victory over second-place Pittsburgh was a step back from last year’s 275-point victory over Pittsburgh.

Dominating wins on the men’s side of things has been par for the course: The last 10 Big East championships have been decided by an average of 198 points.

The Fighting Irish men were led by sophomore Jay Vanden Berg who defended his 1650yd freestyle title and broke his own school record in the process with a time of 15:15.99, 6.97 seconds faster then the second place finisher. Vanden Berg also won the 500yd freestyle.

Meanwhile, the Notre Dame women are on course to set a Big East record with 11 consecutive championships, which a win next year would bring.

Three of its top finishers – juniors Julia Quinn, Jessica Stephens and Katie Carroll – only competed with each other for most of the meet. Quinn and Stephens took the top two spots in the 200yd breaststroke while Carroll finished second in the 200yd butterfly.

The 18-point margin of victory for the women (705.5-687.5) is the smallest margin of victory in the 10 consecutive years that Notre Dame has won the championship.

Two teams, similar in Catholic tradition and academic excellence, have taken different paths in the swimming pool. While Notre Dame continues to exercise its will over the Big East, Georgetown and Bower continue to assemble the best team it can given the circumstances.

“If all goes well in admissions next year, we have some good swimmers,” Bower said. “Some schools are worried about national letters of intent, I don’t even have that.”

The lack of scholarships for the swimming and diving team makes success at a high level difficult, especially against teams like Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse that regularly recruit national-caliber swimmers.

Bower said that next year’s team “is going to be a young team. We only have three rising senior women and no senior men. We’re going to be looking for some leadership to develop. It’s exciting to think about.”

More to Discover