For some swimmers, the Metropolitan Championships represent what is likely the last event of their swimming careers. For others, it is their last chance to leave a mark on their first season at Montclair State. For the rest, it’s building on what they have learned through the season and officially starting the offseason in preparation for the 2016-17 season.
The event at Rutgers University began with 16 men’s teams and 16 women’s teams preparing for a taxing three days at the end of a long season that started in October and stretched across two semesters.
On the first day, the Montclair State Red Hawks were already performing well, with freshman Kevin Clauss setting two different records in the 200 IM. Clauss broke the original record in his first run by just short of a full second. He then broke the record he set earlier in the day with an 11th-place finish in the finals that set the mark at 1:55.58, 00:01.72 quicker than when the day began. The former record was set two years ago in the Metropolitan Championships by Joseph Berry.
Clauss would then participate in the 400 medley relay with James Singewald, Steven Roth and Charles Cobbertt and set a new record for that event as well. The group broke the original record by over three seconds and then rebroke the record in the finals by 18 hundreths of a second. The former record was set just last year by Roth, Devon D’Agosta, Dan Knepple and Mark Dawes.
The grouping of Tori Holzberg, Kim Torres, Alyson Gawin and Samantha Dowdlater placed eighth in the 200 freestyle relay, while Senior Sydney Stein placed 10th in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:18.29.
At the end of the first day, both the men and women’s teams stood in seventh place.
The second day continued much like the first, as Clauss set another Montclair State record with a 58.27 in the 100 breaststroke, breaking the record of 59.28 previously held by Donny Keenan, set at the 2012 Metropolitan Championships. Clauss would later reset the record with an 11th-place time of 58.24.
Much like the first day, Clauss was a part of a relay team that set another record. Clauss, Singewald, Roth and Hunter Romanowski set the record in the 200 medley with a time of 1:36.02.
Holzberg also placed in eighth in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:54.60. She would later team with Stein, Katherine LaCava and Blair Frantz in the 800 freestyle relay and the team would finish in eighth place.
On the men’s side, Cobbertt, Romanowski, Knepple and Francis Pino would place in fifth in the same event. After the second day, the men stood in seventh place while the women’s team was in eighth in the overall standings.
More records were broken on the final day, as Erin Cannon broke her own record set a year ago in the 200 backstroke. She finished sixth overall in the event, with a time of 2:10.08, beating the previous record time of 2:10.36.
Stein finished her Montclair State career with a third place finish in the 1650 freestyle. “I’ve never felt more supported in my life from my family, friends, team and school community,” Stein said. “I may not have swam the times I wanted, but it was definitely a weekend I will never forget.”
Blair Frantz placed fifth in the same event, while Ashley Singewald finished in sixth. At the same time, LaCava finished her career with a fourth-place finish in the 200 butterfly.
Clauss broke yet another Montclair State record, this time in the 200 breaststroke. He would later rewrite the record in the finals with a 10th-place finish and a time of 2:07.50.
The women’s team finished fifth overall, second among Division III teams, with 581.5 points. The men finished in sixth with 495 points and also five new school records.
“Everyone has to swim well in order for us to break records, so it was a team effort throughout the year,” Clauss noted. “Now we see that our hard work paid off in an immense way.”