Swimming & Diving Teams Prepare For This Weekend's Patriot League Championshis
Loyola University Maryland swimming and diving reaches the apex of its season this weekend when it takes part in the Patriot League Championships, an event the Greyhounds have shown continued team and individual improvement in since joining the conference in 2013-2014.
Starting on Wednesday, February 14, the Greyhounds will be competing for the Patriot League Championships at the U.S. Naval Academy's Lejeune Hall. The Championships continue through Saturday night with all sessions streamed on the Patriot League Network.
"Both of our teams are deeper than before," says Coach Brian Loeffler, a Loyola graduate who has been the Greyhounds' coach for 26 years. "With the additional depth, we were hoping to provide more competition for spots on our relay teams. It will be interesting to see how it works out this weekend."
Ben Cono will be back in the pool this weekend, looking to add to his two previous Patriot League wins. He has won the Patriot League title in the 100 breaststroke the last two seasons, years in which he has also finished as runner-up in the 200 version of the discipline. Last year, he broke the Patriot League record in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 53.83. Cono has qualified for the NCAA Championships the last two seasons and has been named to the All-Patriot League team twice.
"He will go into the championship ranked fourth in the nation in the 100 breast," Loeffler said. "We feel he has a great chance to win both of the breaststroke events."
Cono, who also owns, or has been a part of, school records in the 200 individual medley and the 200 medley relay, gives the Greyhounds an excellent one-two punch in the breaststroke events when he teams up with junior John Callaghan.
Speradino will lead the Greyhounds in the 50 freestyle and the 200 backstroke, while Mann will as a distance swimmer. A solid swimmer on the relay teams, Apostle will look to score in distance events. Cary is a versatile swimmer who has experience in the distance events.
The Greyhounds have received some important production from their freshmen. Ben Amoreno has been the team's top distance swimmer, and Colin Anderson has specialized in the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle. Mark Boran has led the Greyhounds' in the backstroke events, while Brendon Kolar has been a key contributor for Loyola in the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle and Connor Rutigliano has excelled in the butterfly,
The women's team enters the Patriot League championship with a host of very talented swimmers.
In fact, this year's roster boasts five swimmers who hold school records. Sophomore Annie Hayburn, who is probably Loyola's most versatile swimmer, owns the school record in the 100 butterfly (56.27). Hayburn, a member of most of the Greyhounds' relay teams, is also a top swimmer in the 100 and 200 backstrokes, as well as the 200 individual medley
Senior Madalyn Myers, the school record holder in the 400 individual medley (4:27.12), can also add points for the Greyhounds in several events, including the 500 freestyle and the 200 butterfly.
The Greyhounds have the potential to score some points in the breaststroke events, led by freshman Emma Schouten and sophomore Devin Cronin. Schouten had a very strong freshman season and broke the school record in the 200 breaststroke (2:16.22), and Cronin owns the school record in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.45). She will also swim the 100 individual medley and the 200 individual medley
Sophomore Emily Koegl is the school-record holder in the 100 individual medley (59.68), and she shares the 200 individual medley mark with Cronin (2:05.10), two events she will look to score in for the Greyhounds.
Loeffler was very pleased with the way the women's team's relays performed at last year's Patriot League Championships, setting and challenging new records. Gabrielle Clarkson and Hayburn were two of the team's top relay swimmers, and the team will count on them again this year.
Freshman Megan Dickey had a terrific first year for Loyola, excelling in the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle, events she swept in four different meets this year. She will also be an important swimmer on relays.
Loeffler has a lot of confidence in the Greyhounds' divers. Junior Lindsey Staszewski has had another strong year and has already qualified for the NCAA Zone Meet, while senior Maggie Garrahan has also had her best season.
"Anything can happen," says Loeffler, who led the Loyola men and women's teams to four Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championships each in the Greyhounds' years in the MAAC. "I know we'll be in the mix, and hopefully, we will have a great weekend."
Host Navy has dominated the Patriot League in swimming and diving, winning 13 titles on the men's side, 16 on the women's.