Charlotte, NC - The Saint Leo University men’s swim team battled through sickness to finish 12th at the Bluegrass Mountain Conference Championships last week at the Mecklenburg County Aquatics Center in Charlotte, NC.
Wednesday brought high hopes for the men’s team, and Matt Attal gave the Lions the start they needed, breaking the school mark for the 500 Freestyle (4:49.83) while competing in the 1000 Yard Free. The event was one of only two on the day and the seventh place finish by Attal put the Lions in sixth place going into Thursday preliminary rounds.
Unfortunately for the Lions, a stomach virus struck the team on Thursday, knocking out a total of eight of the 24 Saint Leo swimmers from competition. But Lions’ sophomore Tim Olson fought through the sickness and gave a valiant effort in the 200 Yard IM finishing 13th with a time of 1:58.55.
The virus continued to circulate around the team on Friday, as well, making it difficult for the Lions to perform at their highest competitive level. Still, many Lions forged through, including Olson as he placed 15th in 100 Yard Butterfly with a time of 52.20. Donald Maclary finished 19th in the same event with a time of 51.87.
Saturday brought new hope for SLU, as they concluded the day with 50 total team points, while breaking three school records along the way. Attal wasted no time putting his name back in the record book, as he surpassed his old record in the 1650 Freestyle by two seconds with a time of 16:39.19, finishing 10th.
Freshman Derek Maddigan was the next Lion to etch his name in the record book, as he finished 24th in the 200 Yard Breaststroke with a time of 2:22.41, more than eight seconds better than the previous record.
Attal, accompanied by Cliff Rhodes, Maclary and Olson, helped shatter the 400 Yard Freestyle Relay record with a time of 3:13.36, as just five seconds separated them and a top five finish.
Olson and Attal went on to compete in and finish two other individual events that day. Attal touched competed in the 200 Yard Butterfly with a time of 2:01.75 finishing 21st, while Olson finished 14th in the 100 Yard Freestyle with a time 47.43.
Wingate University was dominant in the pool the entire week, as they won the championship with a grand total of 657.5 points. Saint Leo finished just two points behind Bluegrass foe Florida Southern as they finished with a total of 86 points. Tampa (552 pts.) and Rollins (259 pts.) finished second and sixth, respectively.
The Lions finished an outstanding season in the pool, breaking numerous individual and school records and look to continue upon their recent success starting in the 2009-2010 season.