The Golden Rams men’s and women’s swimming teams were given a reprieve as the diving teams headed to the Delaware Diving Invitational on Saturday afternoon in Newark Delaware. The Invitational was held at the Rawstrom Natatorium in the Carpenter Sports Building. The Golden Rams competed against both Towson and their hosts, University of Delaware.
For the men’s team, Ryan Kuser and Jon Brittian represented the Golden Rams.
Kuser had a particularly strong meet, finishing first overall in the one-meter springboard competition and second in the three-meter event.
Kuser’s one-meter springboard score was an impressive 332.55, followed by a score of 291.95 off of the three-meter board putting him in second place.
Brian Coonse of Delaware was Kuser’s closest competition for the Golden Rams as he and Kuser traded first place slots in the one-meter and three-meter events.
Golden Ram Brittian, placed third in the one-meter with a score of 281.2 and fourth in the three-meter scoring 264.10 surpassing two other Delaware divers.
On the women’s side, Kelsey Tennett, Dana DePaul, Michelle Murphy and Michelle Heinemann took to the pool for the women’s diving team.
Kelsey Tennett took the lead for all West Chester divers in the three-meter springboard competition at the Invitational.
Tennett finished seventh in the three-meter event with a score of 246.5. She placed behind five Towson divers and one University of Delaware diver.
Teammate DePaul followed her lead placing eighth with a score of 244.20 in the three-meter dive, followed by Murphy who racked a score of 226.05.
DePaul grabbed the highest WCU score in the one-meter placing sixth with a score of 234.40. Murphy followed just behind her with a score of 225.10 claiming the seventh place title while Tennett placed ninth and Heinemann placed eleventh.
The Golden Rams will compete in the first event of the PSAC Championships this week on Thursday, Feb. 17. The event will be held in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The diving team’s Invitational took place on Feb. 5, which gives them twelve days for rest and preparation.
The swimming team has not competed since Jan. 28th, allowing the team a nearly three week break to prepare mentally and physically for the highly anticipated competition.
The PSAC Championship is a sought-after title from a valued establishment. According to the PSAC website, “Originating in 1951 to administer and promote men’s athletics, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference has evolved into one of the NCAA’s most heralded intercollegiate conferences.”
West Chester is no stranger to the Championships.
Not only did West Chester men’s and women’s teams take home the PSAC Championship title in 2010, they have taken home the first place title every year since 1999 solidifying an 11-year winning streak. Last year the Golden Rams collected 780 overall points.
Golden Rams’ coaching staff and players were also honored last year at the Championships.
WCU Head Coach Jamie Rudisill is a revered and competitive coach who is respected by his team and feared by his competition.
Coach Rudisill added to his long list of accomplishments that he’s accumulated over the 23 years coaching the Golden Rams swimming and diving team when he was named the 2010 PSAC Coach of the Year award last year for his work with the men’s team.
Over the years, Rudisill has snagged this title ten times for his work with the men’s team and twice with the women.
West Chester swimmers Kenny McKormick and Tommy Rhoads each took PSAC titles last year. Senior McKormick was named PSAC athlete of the year; now sophomore, Rhoads, was named freshman of the year in 2010.
McKormick, who specializes in the butterfly, and Rhoads, a distance swimmer, are expected to contribute to a WCU title and will likely exhibit impressive athletic performances.
For women’s swimming, Jackie Borkowski was the PSAC women’s athlete of the year in 2010. The star swimmer also broke four conference records, earning seven conference titles among her other accomplishments throughout her career at West Chester.
The loss of Borkowski was a detriment to the team, but has not proved to slow the Golden Rams’ down in the slightest, as the team is a compilation of talented individuals who have continuously ranked among the top athletes in Division II swimming and diving.
While the PSAC Championships are “of the NCAA’s most heralded intercollegiate conferences,” it is likely no match for this rough and tough group of swimmers and divers. The institution has repeatedly proved its strength and consistency, and these athletes are hungry for another title.
Brynn Dougherty is a third-year student at West Chester University. She can be reached at BD670913@wcupa.edu.