MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University men’s swimming and diving team won six events on the first day of at the WV State Games at Marshall's Frederick A. Fitch Natatorium, on Friday.
The Mountaineer men opened the 2016-17 season in dominating fashion, winning all six events and claiming the top two spots in all but one event. The women’s team posted five top-three finishes, including two on springboard and two in relay competition.
“Overall it was a pretty solid day,” coach Vic Riggs said. “Our race splitting was very good and we saw some things that we can improve on for the next two sessions. We had some strong swims from our freshmen today. We had several season-best times and improvements from times at this meet last year, which is a good way to start the year.”
Marshall hosted the event, welcoming eight teams for the sixth annual WV State Games - Wheeling Jesuit, West Virginia Wesleyan, West Virginia Institute of Technology, Fairmont State, Salem International, Davis & Elkins College, Alderson Broaddus University and WVU.
The WV State Games conclude on Saturday, splitting the remaining 28 events into two sessions, the first starting at 9 a.m. ET, with the women’s 200 medley relay and the second session at 3 p.m., with the women’s 1,650 freestyle.
WVU men’s team dominated in the 200 individual medley, sweeping the top-13 places. Sophomore Drew Damich
won the race, touching the wall in 1:56.95, while senior Austin Green
placed second with a time of 1:58.32. The 3-5 finishes came from West Virginia’s freshmen, Robert Wylie
in third (1:58.66), Jack Portmann
in fourth (1:58.88) and Luke Hene
in fifth (1:59.68).
In the men’s 500 freestyle, West Virginia swept the top eight finishes, with freshman Trayton Saladin
winning his first individual race as a Mountaineer with a time of 4:40.79. Following Saladin was junior Chris McMahon
in second place with a time of 4:41.15, junior James Koval
in third (4:41.90), Damich in fourth (4:45.38) and freshman Robert Wylie
in fifth (4:45.78).
For the women, sophomore Morgan Carr
finished in second place in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:07.85. Freshman Morgan Bullock
came in fourth in 2:08.82.
In the men’s 50 freestyle, El Merini touched the wall in first place with a time of 20.89, followed by freshman Sam Neaveill
in third place (21.70).
The Mountaineer men grabbed 1-2 finishes in the 200 freestyle relay. In first place was El Merini, Neaveill, freshman Matthew Marsh
and Damich with a time of 1:24.55. In second place was McMahon, freshman Ryan Kelly
, junior Daniel Rodriguez
In relay competition for the women’s squad, WVU posted a second-place finish in the 400 medley relay and took third in the 200 freestyle relay.
The WVU men tallied another 1-2 finish in the 400 medley relay. The winning team came from El Merini, sophomore Jake Armstrong
, freshman Gabe Swardson
and Damich with a time of 3:29.49. A team consisting of freshmen, Austin Hartke
, Portmann, freshman Jack Frazier
and Neaviell, placed second in the event (3:30.30).
On springboard, the Mountaineer divers dominated, as the men took the top-three finishes on 1-meter and the women went 1-2 on 3-meter.
Sophomore Julia Calcut
won the women’s 3-meter, scoring 273.075, and teammate Madeline Woods placed second with a score of 232.875. For the men, freshman Gerald Hodges
won on the 1-meter board, scoring 281.625, followed by juniors Alex Obendorf
with a 278.4 and Michael Proietto
with a 263.925.
In the women’s 500 freestyle event, Carr also posted a fourth-place finish.
Following this weekend, West Virginia returns home to the WVU Natatorium to host the Big 12 vs. Big East Weekend on Friday, October 14, at 6 p.m., and Saturday, October 15, at 10 a.m. The Mountaineer men and women will compete against Seton Hall and Xavier, while the women will also face Butler.