Iona swimming and diving complete MAAC championships


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Last season the women’s team finished second and the men’s team third at the MAAC championships.  

Kaylin Flukey, Managing Ediotr

The Iona University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships in Buffalo, N.Y. from Feb. 8-11. 


The women’s team took fourth place with 495 points while the men’s team finished in sixth with 317.5 points. Despite not placing as high as expected, both teams broke numerous school and MAAC records.  


The women’s team started off day one with a new school record in the 200-medley relay with a time of 1:42.50. The quartet of freshman backstroker Victoria Novinskiy, senior breaststroker Julia Moser, sophomore butterflyer Ashley Benkert and junior freestyler Megan Josephs took gold by 1.17 over Niagara University. 


Closing out day one in the 800-yard freestyle relay, the men’s quartet of Daniel Hadary, Mikel Palaj, Matthew Woyksnar, and Michael Faughnan combined for a time of 6:40.26, taking fourth place. 


Day two of the meet saw Faughnan make history in the 500-yard freestyle. The junior set a new MAAC and Iona school record while also an NCAA Championship B standard time of 4:20.35. Faughnan became the first male swimmer from Iona to achieve an NCAA Division 1 Championship standard. 


Hadary broke past teammate Jackson Madonia’s mark in the 200-individual medley with a time of 1:50.70. Palaj won the B final in the 50-freestyle with a time of 20.77, fourth best in Iona history.  


In the 200-individual medley for the women’s team, Novinskiy lowered her own school record set in December earning her silver and her first MAAC individual medal of her career. The quartet of Nicholson, Josephs, Benkert and Moser combined for a silver medal in the 200-yard freestyle relay lowering the school mark set in 2020 by .05. 


Day three saw the Gaels win a total of five gold medals. For the women’s team, Benkert won gold in the 100-butterfly with a time of 55.75 and Novinskiy won the 100-backstroke, lowering her own school record to 56.23. Moser defended her title in the 100-breaststroke winning gold with a time of 1:02.69. Seniors Luiza Da Silveira and Grace Curry placed seventh and eighth in the 100-backstroke with times of 57.91 and 58.52. 


Faughnan won gold in the 200-freestyle setting a new school record with a time of 1:45.83. Sophomore Brian Baldwin made his first championship appearance placing sixth in the 100-butterfly with a time of 49.59, a career best. 


On the fourth and final day of the meet, Faughnan took first and a new school record in the 200-backstroke with a time of 1:44.82, only his third time swimming the event this season. Hadary placed sixth with a time of 1:50.54, a career best for his final individual race. 


The men’s team finished the meet with a big swim as the quartet of Hadary, Palaj, Liam Pyatt and Faughnan combined to lower the record set last year in the 400-free relay by .22. 

Faughnan’s numerous broken records earned him the title of the 2023 MAAC Championships Men’s Most Outstanding Swimmer and due to Novinskiy’s standout performance she was named the 2023 MAAC Championships Women’s Swimming Rookie of the Meet.  


Select swimmers will compete at the 2023 CSCAA National Invitational Championship in Elkhart, Ind. on March 9-11 for one final swim this season.