Dec. 8, 2011
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
The Army men's and women's swimming and diving teams broke a pair of Academy records, but the Black Knights won just five of 32 events as they were swept by arch-rival Navy in the annual Star Meet Thursday evening in front of a packed house at Crandall Pool.
The Navy men (8-0, 4-0 PL) took a 186-114 decision from Army (5-2, 0-1 PL). The Black Knights won five of 16 events en route to posting their highest point total against the Midshipmen since scoring 118 points in 1993. The Navy women (6-2, 4-0 PL) captured all but one of the 16 events to defeat Army (2-6, 0-1 PL), 223-5-73.5.
"I don't want to take anything from Navy," said Army head coach Mickey Wender. "They have two very good teams and they swam very well this evening. With that being said, this was certainly the best Army-Navy meet that I've been a part of in my six years here at West Point.
"I am extremely proud of how our teams raced and competed tonight," continued Wender. "I cannot say enough about the leadership that our seniors are providing. Our younger swimmers continue to learn what it takes to be successful on the collegiate level. I am impressed with the commitment both squads have made in and out of the pool, and I am just happy to be a part of this group. We now turn our attention to getting ready for the Patriot League Championships, and we are all very excited about that."
Junior Dan Foky swept the freestyle sprints and swam the anchor leg on Army's record-breaking 200-yard medley relay team to pace the Black Knight men. The Charlottesville, Va., native began his productive evening by taking gold in the 50 free (20.81). He followed up that performance by winning the 100 free (45.61). He led a 1-2 Army finish in that event as freshman Michael Dustin finished runner-up in a clocking of 46.24.
Sophomore Kenny Yacynych, juniors Carter Kelly and Ayman Andrews, and Foky teamed up to placed second in the 200 medley relay, touching the wall in a school-record time of 1:31.42. The clocking obliterated the previous mark, which was established last season, by nearly a full second.
Junior Chris Nguyen swept the diving events to spearhead the Black Knights' effort off the boards. The reigning Patriot League Diver of the Meet led an Army sweep of the top three spots in the one-meter event, taking the gold with 323.92 points. Freshmen Josh Urnezis (287.32 points) and Zachary Woods (283.57) placed second and third, respectively. Nguyen then completed his sweep by winning the three-meter competition with 299.25 points.
Andrews rounded out Army's list of winners on the men's side, capturing the crown in the 100-yard butterfly (48.52).
"I thought our men competed really well tonight," mentioned Wender. "They are starting to see themselves as a championship-caliber team, and it is exciting to watch them grow and improve each and every day. Everyone, from the seniors right on down to the plebes, stepped up tonight. It was a total team effort, and I am extremely proud of them."
The Black Knights turned in an outstanding showing in the 200-yard breaststroke with sophomore Ben Quay placing runner-up (2:04.74) and Kelly finishing fourth (2:04.92). Quay's time ranks as the eighth-fastest in Army history, while Kelly's clocking lists ninth.
Army produced two of the first three finishers in the 200-yard backstroke with freshman Will Viana taking the silver (1:49.93) and senior Chuck Zhou placing third (1:51.75).
Yacynych chipped in a runner-up showing in the 100-yard backstroke, touching the wall in 50.87. Sophomore Daniel Ruckman added a third-place effort in the 500-yard freestyle, clocking a time of 4:35.36. Freshman Casey Woudenberg authored a fourth-place finish in the 1,000-yard freestyle, clocking the seventh-best time in Academy annals (9:30.73).
Viana (1:39.70) and Ruckman (1:40.84) placed third and fourth, respectively, in the 200-yard freestyle.
The Army men capped the night by finishing runner-up in the 400-yard freestyle relay as the foursome of Foky, Viana, Dustin and Woudenberg combined their talents to clock a time of 3:03.12.
Junior Alyssa Tran led the way for the Army women as the Yorba Linda, Calif., native won an event, placed second in another and swam the second leg on the Black Knights' record-setting 200-yard medley relay team.
Tran produced Army's lone win of the meet, besting the field in the 50-yard freestyle (23.48). The talented third-year swimmer led a 1-2 Army finish in the 100 free as sophomore Grace Hamilton finished runner-up (24.12).
A two-time All-Patriot League pick, Tran also finished second in the 100-yard butterfly in a personal-best time of 55.30. The clocking represents the second-fastest time in school history. Senior Paige Brink finished right behind Tran in the 100 fly, placing third with a time of 56.96.
The Army women began the night on a high note as the foursome of Tran, Brink, sophomore Juliette Wallerstein and freshman Keeli McNeary broke the Academy record in the 200-yard medley relay (1:45.36). The clocking eclipsed the previous standard, which was set in 2006, by more than one second.
Brink broke the school record in the 200-yard freestyle, placing runner-up in a time of 1:50.84. Freshman Kristen Barta took fifth in the 200 free with the eighth-best time in Army history (1:53.50).
Sophomore Rita Snyder stole the show for the Black Knights in the diving events, placing runner-up off the three-meter board (227.63 points) and finishing third in the one-meter event (201.29). Both marks represent season bests, with the three-meter score establishing a personal record. Fellow sophomore Breawna Davis chipped in a third-place showing off the three-meter board as the second-year diver piled up a career-best 214.12 points.
"I think the women's score is a little bit deceiving," said Wender. "We are much faster now than we have been, and I think we've taken it to another level. Navy is just very good, and very deep in a lot of different areas. I think Navy's performance overshadowed some of our women's swims. I am impressed with how we bounced back following the Akron meet, though. We were better tonight, and I'm pleased with that."
Freshman Grace Hamilton pitched in a third-place showing in the 100-yard freestyle (52.45), while Barta placed fourth in the 500 free (5:02.24). Barta's clocking lists eighth on Army's all-time top 10 list.
Freshmen McNeary and Meghan Buckley both etched their names into Army's record books in the 100-yard backstroke. McNeary finished third with the second-fastest time in Academy history (57.39), while Buckley placed sixth with the sixth-best time in Army annals (1:53.50).
Elsewhere, freshman Audrey Brown was fifth in the 1,000-yard freestyle with the fifth-best time in school history (10:29.07). Fellow freshman Sam Allen recorded the sixth-fastest clocking in Army history in the 100-yard breaststroke, finishing fourth overall in a time of 1:06.56.
The Black Knights finished the meet by placing third and fourth in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Army's quartet of Brink, Tran, Wallerstein and Hamilton took the bronze with a clocking of 3:31.18, while the freshman foursome of Barta, McNeary, Kristen Muller and Buckley shattered the plebe record (3:33.99) by nearly six seconds.
Army will be idle until Tuesday, Jan. 3, when the Black Knights travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to compete in the San Juan Invitational. Army will return to its Patriot League schedule on Jan. 13, when the Black Knights host Lehigh at Crandall Pool at 6 p.m.
Meet Notes: The Army men fall to 29-45 all-time versus Navy ... the Midshipmen have taken 21 straight decisions from the Black Knights ... Army's women are now 4-27 all-time versus Navy ... the Mids have won 23 consecutive Stars versus the Black Knights ... the 114 points scored by the Black Knight men are the most since Army registered 118 markers during the 1993 meet ... prior to sweeping both boards this evening, the Army men had not won a diving event versus Navy since 1980.