Army Starts Strong At Brown Big Bear Open

Molly Mucciarone

Molly Mucciarone

Nov. 30, 2012


PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Freshman Molly Mucciarone had a hand in a three Academy records, and the Army men also shattered a school standard as the Black Knights' swimming and diving teams excelled on the first day of competition at the Brown Big Bear Open on Friday evening.

Mucciarone tied the Army record in the finals of the 50-yard freestyle to help the Black Knight women into fifth place following the opening day of the three-day meet. The talented plebe then swam on Army's 400-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relay teams that obliterated Academy records.

The Black Knights accumulated 136 points to reside near the middle of the eight-team field. Princeton leads the women's draw with 343 points. Yale (249 points) is running a distant second, followed by Dartmouth (197), Brown (149) and Army. New Hampshire (60), Rider (42) and Columbia (27) round out the field.

Freshman freestyler Chris Szekely led the way for Army on the men's side, posting a pair of top-eight finishes individually and swimming the anchor leg on Army's record-breaking 400-yard medley relay team to help lead the Black Knight men into third place after Day One.

Army racked up 245 points to maintain a spot in the upper half of the six-team field. Princeton leads the men's competition with 300 points, followed by Dartmouth (258) and Army. Columbia (151), Brown (138) and Rider (76) occupy the bottom half of the field following today's action.

"I am so proud of how our women swam tonight," said Army head coach Mickey Wender. "Both relays on the women's side were very good, and it was nice to break some Academy records. I thought it was a solid start for our men, though I believe their best is still ahead of them this weekend. I'm looking forward to what tomorrow will bring."

Mucciarone began her memorable evening by teaming with junior Grace Hamilton, junior Juliette Wallerstein and sophomore Keeli McNeary to take fifth in the 200-yard freestyle relay with an Academy-record time of 1 minute, 33.97 seconds. Mucciarone then placed fourth in the 50 free, touching the wall in a school-record time of 23.36. The first-year performer concluded the evening by teaming with fellow freshman Nat Beale, sophomore Kristen Barta and Hamilton to finish fourth in the 400-yard medley relay with a school-record clocking of 3:47.60.

Hamilton finished just behind Mucciarone in the 50 free, placing fifth overall with a personal-best time of 23.48. The clocking ranks as the third-best time in Academy history. Barta also excelled individually, finishing 14th in the 500-yard freestyle with the fourth-best clocking in Army history (4:59.91).

Beale placed 10th in the 200-yard individual medley with an Army plebe record time of 2:05.31. The clocking ranks as the second-fastest time in school history. Beale also broke the Army record in the 100 back, clocking a time of 56.51 in the lead-off leg of the 400-yard medley relay.

Junior Lara Stouffer also stood out in the 200 IM, finishing 17th overall with the fifth-best time in Academy annals (2:06.00).

Sophomore Maggie Churchill led the Army women off the boards, placing sixth off the three-meter board with a score of 223.70 points.

Szekely, who is in the midst of an outstanding plebe campaign, sparked Army in the pool. Individually, the freshman took fourth in the 500-yard freestyle (4:30.98) and placed eighth in the 50 free (21.43). He capped his productive night by joining with senior Ayman Andrews, junior Kenny Yacynych and sophomore Joon Chung to finish third in the 400-yard medley relay with an Academy-record time of 3:18.67. The clocking shattered the previous school mark, which had been on the books since 2007, by nearly a full second.

Senior Chris Nguyen led a 1-2 Army finish off the one-meter board to pace the Black Knight men in the diving events. Nguyen cruised to victory off the short board, piling up 335.65 points and winning by more than 20 markers. Army sophomore Zachary Woods placed runner-up (314.15), while sophomore Josh Urnezis took eighth (265.45).

Freshman Sam Mo turned in a sixth-place showing in the 200-yard individual medley, touching the wall in a personal-best time of 1:52.00. The clocking, which shattered John VanSant's 28-year-old plebe record, ranks as the fourth-fastest time in Army history. Andrews finished right behind Mo in that event, placing seventh overall with a time of 1:53.13. Sophomore Will Viana chipped in a 16th-place finish in the 200 IM (1:54.65).

Three Army swimmers joined Szekely in the finals of the 500 free with junior Daniel Ruckman finishing fifth (4:32.34) and sophomores Casey Woudenberg (4:34.03) and Matt Kane (4:40.02) placing 11th and 14th, respectively.

Sophomore Michael Dustin swam to a 13th-place finish in the 50 free (21.22), while senior Dan Foky placed 14th in the same event (21.26).

The Black Knights also turned in a fourth-place showing in the 200-yard freestyle relay as the quartet of Yacynych, Dustin, Foky and Szekely clocked a time of 1:22.83.

Army continues competition at the Brown Big Bear Open on Saturday, Dec. 1. The first events are slated to get under way at 11 a.m.

Meet Notes: Daniel Ruckman clocked the fifth-best time in Academy history in the preliminaries of the 500-yard freestyle, touching the wall in 4:30.30 ... Chris Szekely recorded the sixth-fastest time in Army history in the 500 free during preliminaries (4:30.74).

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