Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
BOSTON, Mass. – The Elms College men's and women's swimming team combined to set six lifetime best times as the Blazers kicked off the 2016 season in a dual meet against Gordon College and Simmons College, hosted at Simmons Saturday afternoon.
On the men's side, the Blazers posted a 134-105 victory over Gordon College in their first meet of the season. Sophomore Michael Grippo (East Longmeadow, Mass.) registered a trio of first-place finishes, claiming first in the 50m backstroke (26.47), 50m freestyle (24.16), and 100m backstroke (58.15). Grippo's time in the 50 backstroke was a lifetime best and one-tenth of a second off the Elms school record. Senior Ryan Burgos (Plaistow, N.H.) posted a lifetime best with a first-place finish in the 100m breaststroke (1:07.28), along with a first-place finish in the 1000m freestyle (11:04.20). Senior Nick Cirillo (Gloversville, N.Y.) won the 200m freestyle (1:53.31) and the 500m freestyle (5:20.74), while junior Nick Bergstrom (Derry, N.H.) came in first in the 100m freestyle (51.32) and 100m IM (1:00.72). Freshman Joshua Guntly (Chicopee, Mass.) recorded a second-place finish in the 100m butterfly (1:07.83) in his first collegiate meet, and sophomore Patrick Gay (East Hartford, Conn.) registered a lifetime best in a third-place finish in the 50m butterfly (28.77), along with a third0place finish in the 100m butterfly (1:08.65). Freshman Paul Ferraro (Walpole, Mass.) logged a pair of third-place finishes in the 1000m freestyle (12:48.64) and the 50m backstroke (31.41) in his collegiate debut. Junior Tony Luciani (Agawam, Mass.) placed fourth in the 50m butterfly (31.83), while sophomore Joseph Sutton (Suffield, Conn.) claimed fifth in the 200m freestyle with a time of 2:39.98. The relay team of Grippo, Burgos, Cirillo and Bergstrom won the 400m freestyle relay.
The Blazers women's squad fell to Simmons (236-45) and Gordon (163-83) during Saturday's meet. Against Gordon, sophomore Desi Milar (Springfield, Mass.) netted a pair of first-place finishes to open the season, winning the 50m breaststroke (36.69) and the 100m breaststroke (1:01.54). In her collegiate debut, freshman Kelly Sciana (Milford, Conn.) won the 500m freestyle (6:04.00) with a pair of second-place finishes in the 200m freestyle (2:14.96) and the 100m freestyle (1:01.54). Senior Kelly O'Connell (Monson, Mass.) posted a lifetime best in a second-place finish in the 1000m freestyle (13:21.53), while freshman Natalie Obando (Chicopee, Mass.) grabbed second in the 100m butterfly (1:13.43) and third in the 200m IM (2:44.27) in her collegiate debut. Junior Aislinn Carrier (Charlestown, Mass.) took second in the 100m breaststroke (1:25.09) and third in the 50m freestyle (28.43) and the 200m freestyle (2:19.54). Senior Rebecca Carterud (South Windsor, Conn.) placed third in the 1000m freestyle (14:15.88), while sophomore Amanda Rotberg (Rowley, Mass.) posted a lifetime best in the 50m butterfly (39.73) in a fourth-place finish.
The Blazers will return to the pool when they travel to St. Joseph (Conn.) for a road meet next Saturday at 1:00 p.m.