Jan. 26, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova came up short in a two-day conference meet against Pitt 279-74 over the weekend. Despite the loss, the meet was highlighted by five second- place finishes, seven third-place finishes and a personal record set by junior Ben Smith in the 100 yard butterfly.
The Wildcats had a solid performance Friday night.
Russell Paulson (West Chester, Pa.) and Scott Thiede (Bethesda, Md.) notched a third-place finish in the 1650 yard freestyle (16:24.67) and the 100 yard freestyle (47.09), respectively, while Jordan Bickhart (Wyomissing, Pa.) finished 3rd in the 200 yard backstroke (1:59.14). Kyle Grant (Winnetka, Ill.) added to the mix with a second-place victory in the 100 yard backstroke (54.07) giving Villanova much needed points in day one.
Ben Smith (Sudbury, Mass.) came up big for the Wildcats as he posted third place in the 200 yard butterfly (1:53.90) and was a part of a 200 yard medley relay team with teammates Kyle Grant tony sipala (South Glastonbury, Conn.) and Scott Thiede who finished second (1:37.93). But Smith's biggest victory came when he shattered his personal best in the 100 yard butterfly, touching the wall at 50.65.
Scott Thiede pulled off two top-finishes during day two of the conference meet. He registered second in both the 200 yard freestyle (1:42.15) and the 500 yard freestyle (4:44.84). Teammate Russell Paulson finished right behind Thiede in the 500 free at 4:46.99. Thiede also lead a relay squad consisting of Kyle Grant, Jason Moyer (Coopersburg, Pa.) and Braden Clarke (Chappaqua, N.Y.) in the 200 yard freestyle relay that placed third (1:36.48).
Head Coach Rick Simpson commented on the weekend's results, including Smith's performance at the meet saying, ""Our men stepped up to the challenge thrown at us from Pitt. Many of our men put up some great numbers even in the midst of heavy training. Ben Smith posting a personal best in the 100 fly is huge for this time of the year. I just think our guys are better athletes than they were in September. They are in a great position for the upcoming Big East Championships."
The meet marked Villanova's final home meet of the season as well as the final home meet for four graduating seniors. Scott Thiede, Braden Clarke, Russell Paulson and Jordan Bickhart all finished strong in their last meet at the Villanova Swim Complex. The Wildcats are back in action next Friday February 1st, when they travel to Richmond.