PSAC Championships are hard to come by. West Chester’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are making it look easy.
On day two of the PSAC Championships, both teams left the York YMCA with substantial leads. The men’s team left Saturday with 512 points as a team, 266 points better than second place Bloomsburg. As a team West Chester looked good all season and are the favorites to win the PSAC as they are gunning for their 16th straight PSAC championship. The team has 26 overall.
Going into the PSAC, it was obvious that freshman Victor Polyakov was favorite in numerous categories. On day one he took his first PSAC title as he won the 1000-yard freestyle. His time was nine minutes and 4.20 seconds. This would also set a new PSAC record.
On Saturday, he was at it again, as he won the 200-yard freestyle. Of course he would set a new record for this too. His time was one minute and 37.36 seconds. Being the owner of the all-time PSAC records of the 500-yard freestyle, 1650-yard freestyle, and numerous PSAC championship records is quite the accomplishment for only being a sophomore. If he keeps this up the men’s team will be in contention for the next two years.
Polyakov was not the only talent on display the past two days. On day one his teammate, senior, Ryan Stahley took first place in the 50-yard freestyle. His winning time was 20.55 seconds. This is the second time in his career he has gotten first place in this event as he gained top honors his sophomore season. Stahley was also part of the 200-yard medley relay team that took first place on day one. The foursome included Stahley, junior Bogdan Grebenyuk, sophomore Luke Maguire, and freshman Michael O’Brien. They had a record time of one minute and 30.92 seconds.
On day two Stahley led the 200-yard freestyle relay team to another first place finish. Besides Stahley, the foursome included senior Tommy McMahon, sophomore Dan Sokman, and sophomore Luke Maguire. They had a winning time of one minute and 22.72 seconds. The 400-yard medley relay team also donned first place on day two and Maguire was a part of the foursome who won this. The teammates that competed with him were O’Brien, Polyakov, and junior Bogdan Grebenyuk.
For the women’s swimming and diving team, they are looking to win their eighth straight PSAC title and add to the 11 they already have. By day two the Golden Rams already have a remarkable lead over the competition. Their 439 points trumps Indian University of Pennsylvania who has 232 points.
Going into this tournament senior Kacie McNichol was the favorite to dominate the pool for this West Chester squad. She is the reigning PSAC Women’s Swimmer of the Year. She broke the 1000-yard freestyle last year and currently holds the conference record in the 1650-yard freestyle.
However, on day one people would be talking about McNichol as much as they would talk about freshman Kitty Fischer. Her record-breaking performance came in the 200-yard individual medley. Not only did she break a national record, but she was the first woman in division II to ever swim in under two minutes in this event. Her time was one minute and 59.41 seconds. Fischer did not stop there on day one. She also played a role in the 200-yard medley relay team that would give the Lady Rams their third victory of the day. Along with Fischer, senior Megan Winslow, freshman Tess Heyward, and junior Alexis Walley would post a time of one minute and 44.13 seconds.
Day two brought more good fortune to Fischer and Winslow. Fischer posted a first place finish in the 200-yard freestyle. Her time was one minute and 49.70 seconds. Winslow provided her services to the two relay teams that would take home first place finishes. The 200-yard freestyle relay team’s foursome included Winslow, Heyward, senior Mia Barone, and sophomore Emily Stang. Their winning time would be one minute and 34.07 seconds. The other relay team to win on day two would consisted of Barone, Fischer, Winslow, and junior Kendall Somer. This team competed in the 400-yard medley relay, with a winning time of three minutes and 45.32 seconds.
It would be premature to say that these two teams have their respective conferences all wrapped up. Seeing the history behind these two teams suggests otherwise. One final note: the men’s team will come one year closer to the PSAC conference record of 19 straight conference wins held by Clarion University (1971-1989). Number 16 is hopefully on the way, but the chase for 19 is really starting to heat up.
Michael Murphy is a first-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at MM802071@wcupa.edu