Both of Springfield’s swimming and diving teams had a dual meet with MIT on Saturday at Art Linkletter Natatorium. Coming into the season, both MIT teams were ranked in the Top 10 nationally and they proved why during the meet as the men’s team fell 209-76 and the women’s team fell 195.5-99.5.
As the scores show, MIT dominated the whole day. When it came to the swimming events, MIT had placed first in every one except for the women’s 100 meter butterfly in which the Pride’s Delaney Dyjak tied MIT’s Kailey Allen with times of 58.45 seconds. Other notable performances include Christine Shea, who finished second in the 200 meter breaststroke, and Kasandra Lamb, who finished second in the 1,000 meter freestyle.
The most exciting part of the day by far was the women’s 500 meter freestyle. Two swimmers separated themselves from the rest of the pack early and didn’t look back. Springfield’s Olivia Paione and MIT’s Mary Thielking were neck and neck the whole race. Noticing how close this was going to turn out, both teams lined up on their respective sides of the pool and cheered on their teammates. Both teams were clapping and yelling as if their seasons depended on this race. Unfortunately for the Pride, Thielking prevailed by barely edging out Paione by 0.19 seconds.
Knowing that MIT was a tough opponent, Pride head coach John Taffe said that he knows where his team is at.
“We don’t really worry about dual meets,” said Taffe. “We use these to prepare ourselves for the bigger meets and tournaments. Our team was a little up and down today.”
Taffe also touched on the teams fatigue and its role in the meet.
“Our team was tired today,” he said. “But unlike any other sport this is a good thing. It shows that we have been training hard and hopefully this hard work carries over the rest of the season.”
Success was also hard to find against MIT in the diving events. For the women, Sierra Skaza of Springfield placed third in the one-meter dive while placing 5th in the three-meter dive. For the men, Connor Pennington continues his strong start to his career as he finished 3rd in the three- meter dive and 1st in the one-meter dive.
“Going against a tough opponent like MIT early is good for us,” said Pride head diving coach Peter Avdoulos. “It shows us what we need to do. I think we did okay today but the competition opened our eyes to the fact that we have things to work on. Overall, I’m not concerned about the results today because like I said, MIT is a very good opponent, and I think come championship time, our team will be ready.”
The Pride women host Smith on Tuesday at 6 p.m. while the men don’t have a meet until November 17th.