On Feb. 22, the Jackets club swim club team competed in the Gator Chomp Invitational at The University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville. This meet gathered almost 400 swimmers from 15 different schools around the southeast, including several of Tech’s fiercest competitors.
This meet yielded an effective assessment of how the Jackets measure up to other schools, and the club acquitted themselves quite well, coming in a decisive second place trailing behind UF. The final combined score was 1627 points for UF and 1310 for Tech. The next closest team, Clemson, only scored 643 points.
While the Gators had the home advantage, they certainly put the Jackets on notice and showed that they will be a significant obstacle to Tech winning the National Championship for the third year in a row.
Coach Atharva Deshmukh commented on the results of the meet, saying that “besides the damage to the hotel from doing post-meet warm down exercises, I thought it was a successful meet with a lot of great swims. We were robbed by the officials, who disqualified our best 100 breastroker Kenny Scharm.
“We had some really good swims and had some really bad swims too. However, our team grew a lot closer throughout the meet, and this cohesiveness will propel our success into the rest of the season. But let’s get back to the team … they have a strong bond! You don’t wanna know about it here, but I’ll tell you one thing, we’re going to win the national championships.”
Head Coach Deshmukh was correct about the fast swims. On the men’s team, Mateo Golloshi took the win in the 100 yard butterfly at 50.56, third in the 100 yard freestyle at 47.48, and second in the 50 yard butterfly at 22.97.
Jonathan Shaheen took first in the 100 yard backstroke at 53.24 and first in the 200 yard IM at 1:56.76. Andrew Rohweder took first in the 50 yard breaststroke at 27.53 and first in the 100 yard breaststroke at 59.36. Ben Radak took second in the 50 yard backstroke at 25.96.
On the girls side, Allie Riddell won the 50 backstroke at 29.17 and second in the 100 yard backstroke at 1:03.05. Celine Nugent won the 200 IM at 2:14.83. Rebecca Durham won the 50 freestyle at 24.38 and 100 backstroke at 1:00.46. Ellie Ridgeway won the 100 butterfly at 57.53, the 100 freestyle at 54.29, and the 100 breaststroke at 1.10.48. Ally Natasi won the 500 yard freestyle at 5:17.86. Cali Murray won the 200 yard freestyle at 1:59.98.
In addition to these high ranked swims, many Tech Swim Club members qualified for the national championship meet later this season.
However, there was controversy in the pool when Kenny Scharm swam their 100-yard breaststroke. Scharm is perhaps the most talented swimmer on the team, but chooses to demonstrate his abilities only on select occasions.
During this meet, it was during the breaststroke. His time was 57.93 would have put him in first place, however, he was “disqualified” for having three other people “swim” the race for him.
Some swimmers commented about the post-meet team bonding that took place in Gainesville that night.
One student commented on the success of the team bonding and said, “It was a lot of good wholesome fun. There was a social at a house off-campus until the cops showed up and shut it down. After that we went to a bar where a third of our team was kicked out after making it in because of those narc security guards. After the night, several of the team members took our traditional post-social morning walk.”
There is one meet left in the season at Clemson University on March 7th. After this, the club swim team heads to nationals to showcase all of their hard work throughout the season and hopefully pursue their third consecutive club swim title. The meets will take place at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, NC from April 10-12.