The University of Cincinnati swimming and diving teams were back in action Friday at the Keating Aquatics Center as they hosted Xavier University and Virginia Tech University.
Despite falling to the Atlantic Coast Conference power Virginia Tech — 169-74 for the men and 183-60 for the women — both teams defeated their arch-nemesis Xavier 188-49 and 187-47.
“They did a great job getting up and racing tonight at home,” head coach Mandy Commons-Disalle said. “We lost a number of really close races that I wish had gone in our favor instead, but they really fought from the beginning of the meet all the way to the end and raced really well.”
The day’s events began at 11 a.m. with diving, where last week’s American Athletic Conference Diver of the Week Mitch Godar finished third in the one-meter with a score of 333.40.
Swimming events began later in the afternoon, where the Bearcats began by sweeping the longest race of the meet.
In the 1,000-meter freestyle, sophomore Rocky Laabs — who won the race with a time of 10:02:26 — led the women’s team. The men’s team was led by senior and race-winner Chris Bready with a time of 9:08:04.
“We had some great racing out of our distance crew,” Commons-Disalle said. “They always like to keep it close and dig in at the end.”
Bready also was involved in a neck-and-neck 500-meter freestyle, where he ultimately came in second with a time of 4:31:33.
The Bearcats’ sprinters put forth a strong effort as well. The women’s team now has three sprinters with times under 24 seconds.
“I think our sprinters, especially on the girls’ side, had a phenomenal meet,” Commons-Disalle said. “To have three girls under 24 [seconds] at this point in the season was really strong.”
William Sigala contributed a sub-24 time for the men’s team, placing second in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 20:94.
The Bearcats have had little experience in the 400-individual medley this season, but the women’s team excelled in this event regardless. Junior Dee Sopapong finished second with a time of 4:26:81.
While the Bearcats were unable to secure a victory against Virginia Tech — a team which has been ranked in the top-25 nationally this season — displaying competitiveness against a team of their caliber will help them down the home stretch, Commons-Disalle said.
“For us … being able to post some good times at this point is really critical,” Commons-Disalle said. “Being able to be competitive — especially with a team like Virginia Tech — was really important, because when you fast-forward to conference, it’s no different. They’re going to have to get out and race, and they don’t have the opportunity to let up whatsoever. They’re going to be psyched for our last home meet [on] senior day. So, they’ll get up and get after it then.”
Friday’s home meet was the second-to-last meet at Keating Aquatics Center. At this Saturday’s meet, senior student athletes will be honored before the 11 a.m. start time.
Both teams will head to the University of Kentucky this Friday for a dual-meet with the Wildcats. The event will begin at 5 p.m.