Swimming and Diving: Both teams inconsistent this year

By Kelly Flanigan

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams opened their season in… The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams opened their season in mid-October against St. Bonaventure, and the past six months were up and down for both teams.

After finding success in the Big East Swimming & Diving Championships, the Panthers will not send any members of either squad to the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.

Earlier in the season, head coach Chuck Knoles cited the team’s mental toughness to be an issue. However, he was quick to point out his team’s improvement from last year.

Both Pitt teams suffered losses to West Virginia, Louisville and Virginia this season, but defeated Cincinnati, Duquesne, Carnegie Mellon, California University (Pa.) and St. Bonaventure.

In a tri-meet with Villanova, Penn State and Maryland, the women finished third, but the men put in an impressive first-place finish.

Standout freshman swimmer Adam Maczewski from Poland and Jake Lucas have performed consistently well for the men’s team throughout the season, as have junior divers Collin Forner and Zane McLain.

Lucas, who won the co-Swimmer of the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships award, broke the longest standing record in Pitt’s history books this season. In the men’s 100-yard fly event of the Big East Championships, he posted a meet record when he finished in 47.24 seconds in the finals.

Lucas was also a member of two relays that garnered first place finishes and set ECAC records.

Lucas’ team was made up of Otto Pagel, Donald Mata and Andrzej Dubiel. They combined for a NCAA provisional time of 1:21.53, just under the previous ECAC standard of 1:21.54.

Pitt’s 200-yard medley relay team (Lucas, Pagel, Maczewski and senior Jonathan Buchanan) earned an ECAC crown and set a meet record with a time of 1:29.53. The previous record was set at 1:31.28 in 1999.

Maczewski earned all-Big East honors this season and set school records in the men’s 100-yard backstroke event. In the Big East Championship, he turned in a second place finish in the same event with a time of 47.73 and set a school record last held by teammate Dubiel. Had a Louisville competitor not won the event, Maczewski would have also qualified for a Trees Pool record with his time. He was the lead leg of the 400-yard medley relay team that finished fourth overall.

At the NCAA Diving Zones, McLain placed 10th on the 3-meter board with 298.25 points in the preliminary round. He finished 13th in the finals, with 570.55.

Forner placed 20th in the preliminary round on the 3-meter board with 258.40.

For the women’s team, senior swimmer Lisa McDonnell and freshman Joanna Budzis led the way. McDonnell competed in the fly, back and free events, and Budzis participated in the free and individual medley events.

In the meet against Louisville, McDonnell won the 200-yard free event (1:50.67) and placed second in the 100-yard free event (51.25). She was the lead leg of Pitt’s 400-yard free relay team that finished second. In addition to McDonnell, the relay included sophomores Elena Spak, Yolandi Van Rooyen and Kristen McMullan.

Originally from Warsaw, Poland, Budzis broke her freshman season record on the third night of the Big East Championships. She re-wrote the freshman record to 1:49.65 and improved to fifth overall in the 200-yard free. Budzis earned all-Big East Honors for the 200 individual medley.

Junior diver Mallory Mullady found success in the Big East Diving Championships, as she advanced to the finals of the 1-meter board. Her best dive of the night was her second, on which she collected 49.2 points. She finished eighth overall, totaling 265.15 points.