Men's Swimming & Diving

Navy Swimming & Diving Sweeps Star Meet

In the tightest respective meets in the series in decades, the Navy swimming and diving teams put together just enough points to win both meets from Army, Thursday evening in front of a packed Lejeune Hall in Annapolis.

by Navy Sports Information

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- In the tightest respective meets in the series in decades, the Navy swimming and diving teams put together just enough points to win both meets from Army, Thursday evening in front of a packed Lejeune Hall in Annapolis.  The Navy women's team (5-1) defeated Army (2-1) by the score of 162-138 and the Navy men's team (6-1) posted a 154-147 win over the Black Knights (2-1).

The meet was part of the Star Series presented by USAA.

It was the closest women's meet since Navy won a 151-149 decision in 2000 and the closest men's meet since Navy defeated Army, 125-118, in 1993.  The latter meet was when the teams only competed in 13 events instead of the now standard 16.

Tonight, Army and Navy split the 16 women's events and the Navy men's team won nine events to seven for Army.

"This meet is special on so many levels. Before you even get to discussing the meet itself, it is one of the best dual meet environments in the NCAA. We want to extend a huge thank you to all who came out tonight to support the meet as well as all who worked behind the scenes to make this a special event for both programs.

Bill RobertsNavy Men's Swimming Head Coach

"In the water, we were anticipating a very close meet.  This meet was interesting as there were several events that did not go the way we had planned.  This is a tribute to the intensity of the competition as we really had to fight and claw for every point along the way.  I was really proud of the way this team responded to the results of each event."

"The energy in Lejeune was incredible," said Navy women's swimming head coach John Morrison, whose Mids won the Star Meet for the 35th year in a row.  A huge thank you to the families, alumni and friends for coming out to support the meet.  And congratulations to Army.  They had an incredible meet.

"I was real proud of how our team responded to the challenges we faced.  We had an all-in team effort to win the day.  We competed with a never-give-up mentality and it carried us to the end."

Navy led from start to finish in the women's meet, but it was a precarious lead the entire night.  It was not until the ninth event, the 200 backstroke, when the Mids pushed their advantage to 109-81 that there was some breathing room.  The Black Knights rallied and heading into the last event, the 400 free relay, Navy held a 149-136 lead.  That meant the Mids just had to have one of their four relay teams finish the race to win the meet.  Instead of just finishing third, which would have given the Mids a two-point win (151-149), Navy placed first and third to account for the final score.


The lead in the men's meet went back and forth from start to finish.  There were six lead changes with five occurring in a span of six events in the last half of the meet.  Navy went into the 400 free relay with a 147-136 lead.  That meant the Mids needed to have its top team finish no lower than second place to win the meet.  A second-place showing would have given the Mids a 151-149 victory, but Navy placed second and third in the race to post the 153 points.

"This atmosphere is like nothing else," said Navy women's team captain Theresa Milio. "To have the crowd like this behind you, cheering you on with your teammates by your side makes people like that haven't before.  It is awesome.  

"Our team never takes anything for granted.  We don't take the streak for granted.  It is blank slate every year and we know we have to fight against a really talented team. Just trusting in our training and trusting our teammates knowing we put our all into it to pull through in the end."

"This is an incredible place to swim," said Navy men's team captain Matt Murphy.  "Words are hard to describe it.  In that first relay when we touched first and the whole place exploded, it was ridiculous.  

"Obviously, events don't go as planned.  They never do.  That's why we swim the meet.  If we went off of paper, this meet would have gone completely differently.  I think the turning point was the 200 breast when Juan More won with a career-best time. That turned the momentum our way."

It was a great day for the Irwin family as siblings Caroline and Ben each posted a pair of victories.  Caroline won both butterfly events for the Navy women and Ben won both backstroke races for the Navy men.  Ben's time of 1:41.50 in the 200 back broke the Navy (1:41.95), meet (1:43.47) and Patriot League record (1:41.95).

Also winning two races for Navy were women's swimmer Maya Novack (50 and 100 free), men's swimmer Patrick Colwell (100 and 200 fly) and men's diver Blakeman Shaw (one and three-meter diving boards).  

Gabi Baldwinalso won the 200 back for the women, while Ela Habjan won the 100 back.  Habjan's time of 52.87 broke the Navy (54.02), meet (54.02) and league record (53.23).  The Mids also won both relay races.

For the Navy men, Jonah Harm won the 50 free and Juan Mora won the 200 breast.  

"A huge congratulations go to our divers who were spectacular," said Roberts.  "They have been consistently working very hard all season and we could not be happier for coach Tim Fisher and the job he has done leading this group in his first season.  We also wanted to extend a big congratulations to Navy women's swimming and diving who did another terrific job in winning the meet.  They fought hard throughout, as well, and it was great to see them earn the win."

"We also are really proud of our men's team for their win," said Morrison.  "Our teams really helped each other to bring the Stars back to Navy."