Swim and Dive

Swimmers dive to begin a race.

On Saturday, the East Carolina University swim and dive team continued to dominate in the 2017-18 season as it blew the University of North Carolina at Wilmington out of the water at home in its ‘Paint it Purple’ meet.

The swim team defeated UNCW in the first 11 events before falling in the 200-yard butterfly event. Everyone on the roster helped pitch in and contribute to the victory, with six swimmers winning multiple events for ECU. The Pirates never took their foot off the gas, and went on to win 23 of the 32 total events. The men’s team won with a final score of 169-119 while the women prevailed, holding the Seahawks to the same score, with a 170-119 victory.

“Even though the score kind of got out of hand,” head coach Matthew Jabs said. “We did a good job of staying involved in the meet. We never took a step back, and kept pressing forward because we want to build momentum going into the Georgia Tech Invitational in a couple weeks.”

On the women’s side, seniors Bridie Burke, Vendela Norrman and Julie Lajoie took home first place finishes in multiple events. All three have been key factors with the team's success, as their veteran leadership has helped the rest of the team step up and perform well, shown by the season’s event and meet results.

Burke placed first in the 100 and 200-yard freestyle races with times of 51.62 seconds and 1:52.61 seconds respectively. Norrman showed why she qualified for the NCAA B Zone Championships as early as she did by placing first in both the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke events.

Lajoie had another strong performance in the meet as she finished first in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:02.14. Sophomore swimmer Victoria Gillet came in second by 2.97 seconds with a time of 2:02.82 and defeated the second place finisher of the Seahawks by 6.82 seconds.

“Having a positive mindset has helped us perform well these past few weeks,” Lajoie said. “We have worked hard everyday throughout the season. Having a win helps carry us through the week and show what we are capable of. Having the fans definitely helped, and being at home is always fun.”

Three swimmers on the men’s side dominated as they helped lead the Pirates to another victory. Freshman Jacek Arentewicz had a very strong showing, winning both the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke events. Sophomore Grega Popovic was also victorious in both the 500 and 1,000-yard freestyle races.

Sophomore Magnus Andersen stepped up to the occasion where he placed first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:41.89 and also placed first in the 200-yard backstroke event with a time of 1:50.94 seconds, defeating senior teammate Boleck De Pawlikowski by 4.44 seconds.

“Just walking from one side of the pool to the other, people were just cheering all around,” Andersen said. “It was like getting you pumped for the race before you actually raced. That really helped get me (get) going and in-turn do as well as I did.”

This was the Lady Pirates’ fifth consecutive victory and the fourth consecutive victory for men’s Swim and Dive, which dates back to the ECU Tri-Meet on Oct. 14. One victory came against rival Old Dominion University, where the swim team demonstrated that it can perform on the road just as well as at home.

“We don’t get into worrying about win streaks, we just take it one meet at a time, and put our best foot forward each and every weekend we are competing,” Jabs said. “If we do the little things right and we go and we focus on what we need to focus on the other stuff and results will take care of itself.”

ECU started its season off with a tough loss to Navy, but has not been the same team ever since. The energy level has been different at the swim meets and the confidence level has risen, which in turn has helped the team prevail for consecutive weeks.

“After the first week against Navy, we just trained more,” Jabs said. “We have taken one more step every time we compete. We had to make adjustments with our training and get back to doing what we do, and I think that has helped us out thus far.”

The Pirates do not have a meet for the next couple of weeks, but return on Nov. 16, when they will travel to Atlanta, Georgia to compete in the Georgia Tech Invitational through Nov. 18.

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