Coming off a tough loss to Alabama, the Jackets left a strong impression in a record-breaking home meet, the last of the season. Tech played host at McAuley Aquatic Center last Saturday, Senior Day for the team. While it was an intense day for 13 senior swimmers, the elder statesmen had reason to be proud when the meet came to a close.
Although the Jackets had not won in Alabama the week prior, their performance left optimism for things to come. Iris Wang placed first with her relay teams in the 200m medley relay and the 200m freestyle relay. Wang also finished at the top among her fellow jackets in the 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle but could not defeat her Alabama counterparts. Shannon Lumbra, who has performed at an admirable level all season, topped the scoreboard in the 1m and the 3m dives. Her drive and consistency earned her ACC Female Diver of the Week for the second time this season.
The women were not the only ones who had noteworthy performances against Alabama. Youssef Hammoud earned first place with his relay team in the 200m freestyle relay. Though Hammoud worked well with his teammates in the 200m medley relay and the 100m freestyle, it was not enough to edge the Crimson Tide. Placing first in the 1000m freestyle, Yuval Safra was 7.34 seconds away from beating his record. Ben Southern earned a victory in the 200m butterfly but placed third in the 100m butterfly.
The Jackets demonstrated improvement at their last home meet of the season. Senior Day was memorable for more than just the seniors. Junior Brad Homza secured himself a spot in Tech’s record books with a victory in the 1-meter dive and a score of 379.27. Junior Omar Eteiba broke his personal record for the 3m dive by 41.18 points. Freshman and rising star Iris Wang topped the scoreboard in the 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle and, with the help of her relay team, the 400m medley relay.
Last Saturday was a memorable comeback for all of the Jackets. As the last home meet of the season for 13 senior jackets, Tech’s success against Emory University on senior day was the icing on the cake. Without breaking her streak of outstanding performances, Shannon Lumbra broke school records in both her main events on senior day. Youssef Hammoud placed first in the 100m freestyle, although his performance in the 400m relay left a bit to be desired.
The Jackets’ season is far from over. The ACC Championships take place later this month. Traveling to Greensboro, N.C., the Jackets will need to ensure their success continues even without the “home-pool” advantage it has enjoyed recently. The key is effectively capitalizing on Tech’s abundant athletic talent.
The ACC Championships will give Tech fans an inkling of the Jackets’ standing before the NCAA Qualifiers and Championships in March. The seniors will certainly not be alone in raising their game to meet the higher stakes. With younger swimmers and divers like Wang stepping up to the board, the future of Tech swimming meets the present. Fans can rest easy about the lineup the team will field in the weeks, months and years to come; it will be as competitive as its