Women's Swimmers Win First Metro Conference Crown And UB Men Finish a Solid Fourth At Conference Championship

Women's Swimmers Win First Metro Conference Crown And UB Men Finish a Solid Fourth At Conference Championship

Piscataway, N.J.-The University of Bridgeport women's and men's swimming teams wrapped up the three-day 2017 Metropolitan Conference Championships on with a flourish Sunday evening at the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center Natatorium on the campus of Rutgers University, as the UB women won the conference title for the first time in program history, and the men's team finished in a solid fourth place out of 16 team. 

The Bridgeport women amassed a total of 1098 points over the three days of action to edge second place Rowan University, who finished with 1086 points.  The College of New Jersey took third place in the women's event with 933 points, and LIU Post was fourth with 909 points.  The Purple Knights' conference crown is even more impressive when one factors in that Bridgeport did not score a point in diving events, as UB only sponsors a swim team. 

The Bridgeport men finished the three-day meet with a total of 1001 points.  Rowan won the men's competition with a total of 1413.5 points.  The College of New Jersey was second with 1396 points, followed by Montclair State with a total of 1113 points, and the Purple Knights in fourth.

The UB women clinched the program's first-ever Metropolitan Conference title in the final event of the championship when the 400-yard Freestyle Relay team of Oksana Marchuk, Nina Stegu, Yekaterina Gakhokidze and Tatiana Shepel won the event in a time of 3:26.08.  The Purple Knights led Rowan by just two points heading into the final race of the meet.

In individual events for the Bridgeport women on Sunday night, junior Annagrazia Bonsanti (Caracas, Venezuela) captured her third race of the weekend winning the 1650-yard Freestyle in a time of 16:48.38.

Bonsanti was honored as the Co-Women's Swimmer of the 2017 Metropolitan Conference Championships.

Sophomore Oksana Marchuk (Mlyniv, Ukraine) also won her third event of the championships taking the top spot in the women's 200-yard Butterfly (2:02.24).  Sophomore Clara Mico Gonzalez (Madrid, Spain) finished third in the same event in a time of 2:12.80, and freshman Renta Avendano (San Antonio, Tex.) was eighth in a time of 2:19.51.

Marchuk, who joined the Bridgeport program in January, was named Rookie of the Meet at the completion of the three-day event.

In Sunday's women's 100-yard Freestyle, the Purple Knights finished two-three-four in the event, as sophomore Nina Stegu (Ljublijana, Slovenia) was second (51.47), Yekaterina Gakhokidze (Almaty, Kazakhstan) was third (51.70) and junior Rebeka Repman (Sombor, Serbia) took fourth (51.95).

Bridgeport head coach Sean Raffile was selected as 2017 Metropolitan Conference Women's Coach of the Year after the Purple Knights to their first-ever conference crown.

On the men's side on Sunday, freshman Erik Hren (Maribor, Slovenia) won his third individual event on Sunday taking first place in the 1650-yard Freestyle in a time of 15:40.92.  Teammate, junior Brian Kelly (Mahwah, N.J.) took second place behind Hren in the longest event of the weekend in a time of 15:51.59.

Hren was named the Men's Rookie and Swimmer of the Meet for the 2017 Metropolitan Conference Championships.

Sophomore Wilmar Du Plessis (Bloemfontein, South Africa) grabbed first place in the men's 200-yard Backstroke in a time of 1:48.62.

Up next, both teams will send swimmers to the 2017 NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving National Championship Meet which will take place in Birmingham, Alabama from March 9-12.  The complete list of NCAA qualifiers will be released this Wednesday, February 22nd.