ECU Swim & Dive (Santos)

Sophomore swimmer Gustavo Santos in the pool during a previous ECU swim and dive meet.

Chants of ‘Purple,’ ‘Gold,’ and ‘Pirates argh’ echoed throughout Minges Natatorium on Saturday as the East Carolina University swim and dive team hosted the University of Maryland - Baltimore County for its last home meet of the season.

Both the men’s and women’s teams came away with victories on senior day. The men’s team dominated winning 194-106. On the women’s side ECU won by a comfortable margin, 157-143.

“Anytime you come out of a meet with a win it’s pretty special and it’s something we appreciate and enjoy,” head coach Matthew Jabs said. “When you swim against a team like UMBC who is as talented as they are, every year that meet is close and super competitive, they are a great group, they are really well coached, so to come out on top against a team like that makes me pretty happy. I am really, really pleased with the way we swam today.”

The Pirates had a lot of success as the men and women’s team combined for a total of 22 event wins. The Pirates took first, second and third place in the men’s 100 yard freestyle. Senior Victor Dos Santos snatched first with a time of 46.47 seconds, followed by senior Gavin Erdmann who came in with a time of 46.58 seconds, and in third was freshman Pietro Nannucci who finished with a time of 47.02 seconds.

Both the men’s team and the women’s team took first and second in the 200 yard breaststroke race. Graduate student Lily West took first for the women with a time of 2:20:54. West was followed by runner up freshman Keren Wasserman who finished with a time of 2:23:47. On the men’s side freshman Lyubomir Epitropov grabbed first place with a time of 1:59:97 and sophomore Benjamin Gingher came in second with a time of 2:04:68.

As this was the last home meet of the year, that also means it was the last chance the seniors had to swim at home in front of their friends, family and fans.

“It’s bittersweet,” senior Kelly Barnhill said. “It’s exciting to be moving onto the next chapter, but at the same time swimming here was such a big part of our lives.”

Jabs and the ECU community recognized Manny Alvarez, Barnhill, Dos Santos, Erdmann, Trey Pofahl and Tristan Taylor of the men’s team. On the women’s team, Sarah Blank, Lauren Hensley and Alex Kreager were honored for competing for the Pirates on Saturday.

“Our seniors are a great group of kids, they are really good and we are going to miss them next year,” Jabs said. “They are a special group, they are close with each other which makes it even more fun to see them succeed and celebrate together after meets like this. I couldn’t be prouder of them, I am so happy we were able to pull out two wins and send them out the right way.”

This victory at home helped both teams finish with winning dual meet records. The men’s team, for its 36th consecutive season won over half of its dual meets by finishing 4-2. The women’s team on the other hand finished with a winning dual meet record for its 27th time in school history by finishing 4-3.

The Pirates final meet before the conference championships will be in Chapel Hill at the Nike Cup Invitational from Feb. 8-10.

The Pirates will travel to Indianapolis, Indiana for the American Athletic Championships, where a conference champ will be decided. The University of Cincinnati is the reigning champ and the Pirates hope to dethrone them. The American Championships won’t start until Feb. 27, which leaves the Pirates with plenty of time to prepare and rest up.

“The thing particularly now in the second semester is building upon every week, we had a good meet last weekend and an even better one this weekend, so now we get a little more rest and just focus in on conference,” Erdmann said.

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