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Brockport divers end record-breaking season at nationals

by Panagiotis Argitis - Editor-in-Chief
Wed, Apr 3rd 2019 02:00 pm
Senior diver Matthew Merchant performs his routine at the NCAA Diving Championships.
Senior diver Matthew Merchant performs his routine at the NCAA Diving Championships.
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The College at Brockport men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams broke records at a prolific pace this season. Following a commanding regular season from both teams, Brockport’s swimming and diving teams entered the SUNYAC competition and got through the final day of the overall event with one first-place finish, while breaking a record in the process. The same success continued in the NCAA Division III competition that followed. 

Both the men’s and women’s teams took a massive stride toward the final day of the SUNYACs after crushing the opposition in the days prior. In the fourth and final day of the competition, the men’s team propelled forward when sophomore Brandon Amthor grabbed first place in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 46.57. With the top-place finish, the sophomore added another title to make for two consecutive victories in the event. 

After Amthor’s leading performance, the men’s team broke Brockport’s record for the 400-yard medley relay with a final time of 3:30:10 and finished fourth in the event. The new record was claimed by a combined effort from Amthor, sophomore Logan Gregory, senior Chase Carson and freshman Matthew Dambra.  

On the other side, the women’s team took seventh place in the 400-yard medley relay following a final time of 3:43:37, achieved by the group of freshman Alexa Callaghan, freshman Allison Morrow and juniors Kaitlin Dunning and Rebekah Wilkinson. To conclude the SUNYACs, the men’s team finished in seventh place out of nine and the women’s team took sixth out of nine. 

While the SUNYACs came to an end, the Brockport’s swimming and diving teams’ postseason continued onward to the national stage for the NCAA Division III Region Four Diving Championships. The competition stretched for a total of two days with the women competing in the three-meter dive for the first day and the one-meter dive in the second, while the men took on the same events in a reverse schedule. 

In the opening day, junior Loren Sayers finished in seventh place with a score of 423.95, followed by teammate and graduate student Brooke Leddon in 15th place with a score of 380.30. The women’s strong output in results was topped by a stronger display from the men’s team, which saw Matthew Merchant capture second place and solidify a spot in the national tournament. His effort was followed by Brockport freshman Mark Eaton, who took 16th place. Sayers finished in seventh place in the three-meter dive, which meant two Brockport athletes were eligible to compete in the NCAA Division III tournament. 

On Wednesday, March 20, Merchant and Sayers traveled to North Carolina for the start of the biggest meet in Division III diving. On the first day of three, Sayers finished 26th out of 29 competitors in the three-meter dive. Merchant’s turn came during the second day, where the senior competed in the one-meter diving preliminaries and finished 18th out of the 24 total divers. 

Despite the underwhelming finish on the second day of the tournament, the NCAAs were not over for Merchant. The senior capped off the competition and his collegiate career with a Brockport all-time high, All-American performance of a consolation final 15th place in the 3-meter dive. Merchant’s finish is the new record for the highest finish at the NCAA Championship from a male diver in Brockport’s history. Merchant’s All-American honor also made him the second Brockport male diver to ever claim the status.

At the beginning of the season, Merchant set out to make it to the national competition and while his goal was completed, he never imagined a season like the one he really had. 

“I did not expect to be able to get All-American,” Merchant said. “I am very grateful to my coach and teammates for pushing me to do what I’m capable of despite my occasional hesitations.” 

The efforts of both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving team throughout the entirety of the season proved to be one of the best campaigns in the program’s history. The NCAA displays of Sayers and Merchant solidified the teams’ legacy with elite performances from both divers.

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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