SAVANNAH, Ga. – The Saint Leo men's and women's swimming teams continued action at the eighth annual SCAD Invite (Hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design) with the men jumping two spots to third-place, and the women maintaining a steady presence in sixth, Friday evening from the Chatham County Aquatic Center.
The men tacked on to their first day score of 40 points to nudge to the third spot with 330 points, while the women registered an additional 107 points in the nine-team assembly to close with 139. Day two featured eight different events, including the fan-favorite 50 Yard Freestyle.
Overall, both Wingate's men's and women's teams currently own the top spot with 716.5 and 657.5, respectively.
The Lions' women saw early success in the 200 Yard Free Relay as the Paula Carvajal-led group finished eighth of 22 teams at a time of 1:41.58. Kaitlyn Hite was Saint Leo's top finisher in the 200 Yard Free as she finished 12th overall at a time of 2:00.03. Erin Bobsein finished just outside the top-eight in the 100 Yard Backstroke as she touched in at 59.64.
Meanwhile, the Lions' top women's finish came in the 200 Yard Breaststroke when Sondra Stopczynska registered a fifth-place showing at 2:25.78. Saint Leo closed action with an impressive performance in the 400 Yard Medley Relay as the group consisting of Bobsein, Stopczynska, Chloe Pellican, and Bianca Muniz finished eighth out of 23 teams and closed with a time of 4:06.92.
For the men, after a sixth-place showing by Rhett Rheinlander and company in the 200 Yard Free Relay, the records started to fall. Michael Cozzi finished first of 16 in the 200 Yard Free with a record time of 1:40.30, while Matheus Assis and Rheinlander finished one and two in the 100 Yard Backstroke clocking in at 50.61 and 51.50, respectively. Both finishes surpassed the Lions' previous record setting time.
In one of the most impressive races in the program's history, freshman Pawel Trenda won the 400 Yard IM in a time of 3:54.72, defeating current defending national champion and Macedonian Olympian Marko Blazevski by more than three seconds. The 'A' time is an automatic qualifying time for the NCAA National Championship to be held in Birmingham, Ala. in March. The time was also 11 seconds better than the previous program record set in that event.
Assis and Milton Alberto-Requejo went one-two in the 50 Yard Free going 20.85 and 21.11, respectively, before Trenda struck again in the 200 Yard Breaststroke. He claimed first place and set the program record as he touched in at an astounding 2:03.06.
Additionally, the 400 Yard Medley Relay team of Trenda, Cozzi, Assis, and Alberto-Requejo set the new school record by three-tenths at 3:23.68. Trenda nearly made it a perfect-four-for-four, but what could have been the fastest time in the country in the 200 Free Relay was nullified due to a discretionary call from an official for an early start.
"Our men and women are making great strides in our quest for excellence," said Head Coach Paul Mangen. "I see them swimming smarter each race and it's very satisfying for Coach Murphy and me to see them enjoying swimming fast and representing Saint Leo so well. Obviously, Pawel's swim statistically is our fastest swim and he was huge today setting three individual team records and almost a pair of relays. It's been across the board for men and women this weekend in terms of fast swimming, but most importantly I'm proud of our team in how they've matured as athletes, people, and students of the sport."
The Lions will return to the pool on Saturday, December 1, when they close-out the three day Savannah College of Art and Design Invite at the Chatham County Aquatic Center.
For more on the men's and women's swim teams, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also, be sure to 'Follow' the Lions on Twitter at Twitter.com/SaintLeoLions' and 'Like' the Lions on Facebook at Facebook.com/SaintLeoLions
This postgame recap is brought to you by Papa Joe's Italian Restaurant. Located in Brooksville, Fla., you can contact Papa Joe's at 352-799-3904 for dine in or catering needs.