William and Mary began the season with a home meet Saturday, Oct. 5. The men met with incredible success, starting their year with a 152-110 win against John Hopkins and bringing their record to 1-0 with nine pool and dual-meet records broken. The women, however, suffered a setback with a loss to the Blue Jays, a Division III team. The meet was neck and neck for the most part, but the Blue Jays were able to pull ahead by the final relay for a 135-127, winning eight of 14 events.
For the men, the Tribe started out strong with the 200 medley relay in its first win and first break of pool and dual-meet records. Senior Colin Demers started off the race for the College, followed by junior Devin McNulty, who was then succeeded by senior Jack Doherty while senior Colin Wright wrapped the race up. The team came in for a time of one minute, 29.21 seconds, over three-quarters of a second faster than their previous record in January 2018.
In the next event, the 200 free, Wright took the win and set a pool record of 1:40.47, breaking the previous record of 1:40.61 set in 2016 by Billy Russell ’16. In the next event, the 100 back, Demers won in 50.36 seconds, continuing as the conference champion in the event. Senior Chris Balbo then continued the strong showing for the College with his first win of the day in the 200 fly. Balbo completed the race with a time of 1:51.49. In the next event for the men, the College continued its streak of winning events with senior Ian Thompson completing the 50 free in 20.91 seconds.
Wright continued his success with his second win of the day in the 100 free, having swum in 44.36 seconds, the 16th–fastest race ever at the College. With this win, Wright moved into 7th place of all-time wins with 54 wins, passing Mike Lovett ’00.
In the next two events, the 200 back and the 200 breast, the Blue Jays took home wins. After, in the 500 free, Balbo was able to rack up a second win for himself and another win for the Tribe, swimming the race in 4:38.62. His win in the 500 free was also Balbo’s 50th win in his collegiate career. Balbo is only the seventh man in the last 30 years at the College to reach 50 wins in their career.
The Tribe continued breaking records with Doherty’s win in the 100 fly, where he broke the dual-meet record with a 49.13 time, almost a full four-tenths of a second faster than the previous dual-meet record set by Justin Barden ’16. The streak continued with doctoral candidate Ben Skopic making a dual-meet record in the 200 IM with a time of 1:51.15.
By the time the final race had occurred, the Tribe was already set to win the match, but the team still made its mark in the 200 free relay. Wright started the team off in the relay and broke his own pool and dual meet records with a 19.95 lead-off split. This time is also a National Collegiate Athletic Association provisional-qualifying level, and places Wright as third in the country in the 50 free at this point in the season. Thompson followed Wright with a 20.09 split, and then Doherty swam a 20.17 split. Sophomore Graham Hertweck swam the final laps in 20.78 seconds. The overall time was 1.20.99, breaking the previous pool record of 1:23.23 in 2013 and the dual-meet record of 1:22.12 that the Tribe swam last fall against Navy. The race is the 2nd fastest of the season in the NCAA, and the 9th fastest in the College’s history.
For the women, the Tribe began the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay. The race was started by sophomore Anna Kenna with backstroke. Senior Lauren Freeman followed her with the breaststroke, and freshman Brooke Lamoureux swam the third leg with the butterfly. The Tribe was behind by over half a second before the final swimmer, sophomore Missy Cundiff, swam the anchor leg in freestyle in 22.86 seconds and took the team to a win by a mere 0.04 seconds.
In the next event, the 1000 free, senior Norah Hunt continued to rack up wins for the Tribe placing first with a time of 10 minutes and 31.45 seconds. Junior Megan Bull won her first event of the day in the 200 free in 1:51.99. Freshman Annie Tuttle followed with her first collegiate win in the 100 breast. She finished the race in 1:05.85, only a second away from the dual-meet record for the 100 breast.
Cundiff, an Olympics Trials qualifier, won in the 50 free. She is the freshman record holder for the 50 free, and almost broke both the pool and dual meet records with her time of 23.28, only two-tenths of a second away from both records. After the 50 free, the Blue Jays won the next three events, the 100 free, 200 back and 200 breast. For the first time in the meet, they took the lead, taking a six-point lead over the College.
In the next event, the 500 free, College briefly took back the lead with top two finishers. Bull placed first in 5:05.57, and Hunt came in second. However, the last three races were all won by Hopkins, taking the wins in the 100 fly, 200 IM and the 200 free relay. The Tribe had a strong showing, but even Cundiff’s second under 24 second 50 free swim in the 200 free relay was not enough to take the win home for the College. Blue Jays Michelle Wang also broke a pool record from 2002 with a 2:05.32 finish in the 200 IM. Wang is an All-American swimmer for Hopkins, and her time is a NCAA Division III provisional qualifier.
Historically, the College had won all nine matchups against Hopkins, making this the first time that Hopkins defeated the Tribe. Blue Jays coach Scott Armstrong commented on the success of his team in the meet.
“Any time you go up against a Division I team you know have to bring your best,” Armstrong said to HopkinsSports.com
The Tribe will reconvene in Greenville, North Carolina where it will take on East Carolina with the hopes of repeating its success.