William and Mary completed the regular season over the weekend, competing in the Janis Hape Dowd Carolina College Nike Invitational, held in Chapel Hill, N.C. Facing Duke and North Carolina, the men’s squad saw 18 personal bests and the women had several appearances in championship finals.
Though the meet was unscored, the three-day invitational showed strong, consistent performances from the Tribe before the upcoming Colonial Athletic Association championships.
The men started with six personal bests on Friday, added nine on Saturday and three more on Sunday. Freshman Ian Bidwell hit a lifetime-best in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:29.36 in the preliminary round and finished eighth in the event final. Another rookie, freshman Phillip Barto, broke his personal best in the same event, finishing 22nd in 4:42.28. Sophomore Joey Rento had two of the personal bests, swimming the 200-yard freestyle in 1:51.51 and the 200-yard butterfly in 1:48.79. Senior Nick DeLion was right behind Rento in the 200 fly in 1:51.54. Freshman Lee Bradley capped the day with his personal best 46.11 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle.
Bidwell continued his strong weekend with four personal bests on Saturday, twice in the 400-yard individual medley and twice in the 100-yard breaststroke. After breaking his best in the preliminaries, he swam 3:53.92 in the 400 IM before finishing in 56.67 seconds in the 100 breast. Barto added a personal best 4:05.17 in his heat of the 400 IM. Rento, with two personal bests from the day before, added another with a 49.37 in the 100-yard butterfly during the preliminaries. Senior Joe Eiden also hit a personal best in the 100 fly with a 51.79-second finish. Bradley netted a pair of personal bests, both in the 100-yard backstroke at 50.26 seconds in the preliminary round and 50.12 seconds in the finals for 11th place. Freshman Ian Thompson hit his own best in 51.19 seconds during the 100 back as well.
The action wrapped up with a personal best for Bidwell in the 1,650-yard freestyle in 15:36.77, marking the No. 5 overall time in the event in the College’s program history. Sophomore Ramzy Ali netted a personal best in the 100-yard freestyle in 46.15 seconds, while Bradley swam a 1:50.92 in the 200-yard backstroke.
The women saw two personal bests Friday night in the 50-yard freestyle — junior Meghan Schilken and junior Kitty Arenz swam a 23.97 and 24.00, respectively. Saturday’s events turned in another personal best as senior Sophie Rittenhouse swam the 100-yard butterfly in 57.95 seconds.
The final day of competition saw three championship finals races for the Tribe. Junior Emma Merrill finished fourth in the 200-yard backstroke in 2:04.34, while Arenz was just over one second behind her in 2:05.48 for fifth place in the finals. Freshman Lauren Freeman represented the College with a seventh-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke with a 2:22.01 finish.
With the regular season complete, all eyes are on the Tribe for the CAA Championships, scheduled for Feb. 22-25 in Christiansburg, Va. Both the men and the women are defending champions after the first championship sweep in program history last season, and both expect to be the team to beat once again.