Swimming and diving starts season with a splash

Lachlan Wellington, Staff Writer

The Iona College women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams have both made promising starts to the 2021-2022 season.  

The men’s team has started the season with a 3-0 record, while the women’s team has begun the new season with a 3-1 record.  

Both teams opened up their seasons with wins on Oct. 9 against Holy Cross at the Hynes Athletics Center. The women’s team beat Holy Cross 152-141, while the men’s team beat them 180-108.  

Head coach Nick Cavataro enters his 36th season at the helm of Iona swimming and diving. The experienced coach loves to see his team start off the season with an energetic victory.   

“It’s always nice to get the win,” Cavataro said. “Our team was really enthusiastic and to have everyone on deck was great. A lot of our practice has been men only and women only, so to have everyone together the enthusiasm was high.”  

Cavataro emphasized that for both teams to be successful during the rest of the season they are going to need everyone to contribute. He praised the performances of graduate students Conor Mullin and Spencer Moran and that of the seniors on both teams, specifically the leadership they bring to the squad. 

The Gaels’ teams both competed again on Oct.15 and Oct. 16 as part of Iona’s homecoming weekend. Both teams for the Gaels faced Saint Francis Brooklyn on Oct. 15. The men’s team then faced Wagner on Oct. 16, while the women’s team faced both Wagner and Sacred Heart.  

“It’s an unusual situation where we have Saint Francis Brooklyn on Friday and then we come right back and have Wagner and Sacred Heart on Saturday,” Cavataro said. “It’s not something that we’ve done in a couple of years so to see how kids respond, especially for some of our first- and second-year kids, but we expect to be competitive and win.”  

The men’s team beat Saint Francis Brooklyn 183-78 and then came back and beat Wagner 167-28. The women’s team beat Saint Francis Brooklyn (152-139) and then on Saturday beat Sacred Heart (135-102) but came up short against Wagner losing 92-113.  

The climax of the season for both teams will be the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships, which will be held in Buffalo, New York at the Burt Flickinger Centre, Erie Community College from Feb. 9 to Feb. 12.  

Both teams are ranked second in the MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The women’s team received two first place votes and 86 overall votes behind Fairfield (five and 95). While the men’s team received one first place vote and 62 overall votes behind Rider (seven and 70). Both teams hope to upset the preseason poll and win the Championship.  

“We’ve had a goal to win MAACs, we had a great spring meet last year, although not all the teams participated but it looks like on paper everybody on the opposition is back,” Cavataro said.  “We would certainly be disappointed if we didn’t build off last year.”