The Golden Rams’ swim teams are back for the spring season with the same mindset to win the PSAC title. It is finally the week of the long-awaited PSAC Championships, and the Golden Rams have the championship on their minds.
From Feb. 18 until Feb. 21, West Chester men and women continued to swim for greatness as they looked to take home the crown.
Starting with the men’s swim team, their final season record is the following: on the season, they had nine wins and only two losses for the year. The Lady Rams final season record is the following: four wins and six losses on the year. These records, they all go out the window as we look forward to seeing success during the PSAC championship weekend.
With the men’s start on Feb. 18, Victor Polyakov set a conference, pool and meet record by winning the 200 Individual Medley. He then helped the 200 medley relay accomplish the same feat as West Chester opened defense of its PSAC team title with a lead after day one in the York YMCA Graham Aquatic Center Thursday evening. The Golden Rams managed 233 points through four events and held a lead over second-place Bloomsburg, which amassed 175.5 points. Indiana (Pa.) is third with 58, with Edinboro and Clarion right behind with 54 and 51, respectively. Gannon is sixth with 49 points, and Shippensburg is seventh with 34.5 points. Polyakov ended the day leading off the 200 medley relay team that also broke the PSAC, the pool and the meet record with a time of 1:29.24. McCormick, Luke Maguire and Evan Sherkness made up the rest of that record-setting team. Senior Bradley Strathmeyer opened the PSAC Men’s Swimming Championships with a first-place showing in the 1000 free. He posted a time of 9:18.09 in his hometown pool and set the tone early as well. Day two got under way for the Golden Rams on Friday, Feb. 19 in the morning with the prelims in the 400 IM, the 100 butterfly and the 200 free.
With the Lady Rams’ start on Feb. 18, Tess Hayward started off the 41st PSAC Women’s Swimming Championships with a victory in the 1000-yard freestyle as West Chester University opened up defense of its team title with a lead after day one in the York YMCA Graham Aquatic Center Thursday evening. West Chester accumulated 145 points through four events and holds a slim four-point lead over second-place Bloomsburg. Gannon sits in third with 87 points while Indiana (Pa.) is right behind in fourth with 86. Edinboro is fifth (62), Shippensburg sixth (52), Clarion seventh (51), California (Pa.) eighth (37), East Stroudsburg ninth (34) and Millersville 10th (32). Both Kutztown and Lock Haven are tied for 11th with 14 points. Looking at some of the other Lady Rams stats from the first day, Morgan Haney placed third in the 50 free with a time of 23.75 seconds, Emily Stang was fourth in 23.81, Megan Burns placed fifth in the 200 Individual Medley in a time of 2:08.33, and Emelie Johansson was right behind in 2:08.53. On Friday, Feb. 19, in the morning was the prelims in the 400 IM, the 100 butterfly and the 200 free as well.
Moving onto the results from Feb. 19, starting with the Lady Rams, Hayward and Emelie Johansson each picked up wins as WCU extended its lead on the rest of the field after day two of the PSAC Championships at the York YMCA Graham Aquatic Center Friday evening. West Chester extended its lead over Bloomsburg to 59 points. The Golden Rams have 357.5 points after two days and nine events while the Huskies have 299. Indiana (Pa.) is third with 223 points while Gannon is fourth with 202 points. Shippensburg stands in fifth (151.5), Clarion sixth (121) and Edinboro seventh (103). East Stroudsburg is in eighth with 85 points, and California (Pa.) is ninth with 82, just ahead of Millersville with 81. Lock Haven and Kutztown round out the team leaderboard with 45 and 40 points, respectively. The Lady Rams opened the Day two finals session in the evening with a first-place showing in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The team of Haney, Emily Stang, Sydney Wareham and Hayward clocked a time of 1 minute, 35.14 seconds. Day three got under way Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with the prelims in the 500 free, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and the 200 butterfly.
The men’s second day of the PSAC’s, Polyakov (Taganrog, Russia) and Michael Oliver (Howell, N.J./Freehold Twp.) helping the 400-yard medley relay set a PSAC mark while also winning individual events as West Chester continued to lead the field Thursday evening. West Chester accumulated 504 points through nine events and holds a 119.5 lead over second-place Bloomsburg, which amassed 384.5 points. Indiana (Pa.) is third with 179 points and Gannon is fourth with 150. Edinboro stands fifth with 118 while Clarion is sixth (107) and Shippensburg is seventh (105.5). Polyakov, who has two individual titles and has been a part of two relay wins, claimed the top prize in the 200 freestyle prior to his leading off the 400 medley relay. West Chester claimed the top four spots in the 200 free after landing five swimmers in the finals.
We will have more updates during the week for the remaining PSAC Championship weekend, and we wish our Golden Rams the best of success as we hope they bring home the title.
Marcelus Council-Jones is a fourth-year student. He can be reached at MC785844@wcupa.edu.