Shani Senbetta/The Hoya Five team records fell this weekend at the George Mason University Patriot Invitational eet.

In a meet where the focus was on individual performances, the Georgetown swimming and diving teams did not disappoint, breaking five school records in the highly competitive Patriot Invitational at George Mason University over the weekend.

“It was a really successful weekend,” said Head Coach Bethany Bower. “I am pleased with our times, our places, everything.”

Sophomore Katie Amaro once again led the Hoyas, establishing two new Georgetown records with her times from the meet. Amaro finished fifth in both the 200 and 500yd freestyle events, proving with her performances that she is one of the top freestyle swimmers on the East Coast. Her time of 5:03.88 shattered her previous record of 5:08.20 in the 500yd freestyle, while she was also able to improve her 200yd time, dropping her record from 1:56.78 to 1:55.15. With her times from the meet, Amaro automatically qualifies for the Big East Championships in February.

“I am pleased with myself as well as the rest of the team, we really showed heart and determination,” said Amaro.

In the 200yd butterfly, freshman Laura Sytnyk also set a new school record. On the third day of competition, Sytnyk swam a 2:11.08 in the preliminaries to break the previous record of 2:11.75, held by Katie Hayes (NHS ’03), and then went on to swim a 2:11.63 in the consolation race to finish 11th overall. Senior Juliana Bonilla, diving for the Hoyas, has also been a standout this fall. Finishing sixth overall in the 3m event, Bonilla ended the meet with a score of 398.55 for 11 dives, breaking her previous record of 380.70 from last season’s Patriot Invitational.

On the men’s side, junior Kevin Walsh continued his dominant fall by setting a new school record in the 200yd butterfly. Walsh broke the previous record of 1:56.83, held by Bryan Evangelista (MSB ’03), with a time of 1:56.53. The time was enough to earn him 11th place overall.

“The team had tons of great swims,” said Walsh. “Most of the team had best times, it felt like the men’s team is starting to get some momentum.”

Other strong performances for the men were put up by sophomore Heath Walden and senior Edmund Caulfield. With his times from the meet, Walden qualified for four events in the ECAC Championships at the end of February while Caulfield, who was questionable for the fall after being sick earlier this season, also qualified for the ECAC Championships with a time of 1:46.76 in the 200yd freestyle, a personal record.

“With a smaller team, we’ve been able to focus more on the individuals and we’ve swum better as a team,” said Bower. “I’m very happy with where we are going.”

The Hoyas were not the only swimmers to have fast times at the Patriot Invitational. Over a dozen meet records were broken across the three day meet, including five by Duke University. Duke won both the men’s and women’s titles in dominant fashion, with the men finishing 161 points ahead of the second-place University of Maryland and the women 228 points up on host George ason. The Blue Devil women were led by freshman Jackie Rodriguez, who set meet records in both the 500yd freestyle and the 200yd backstroke.

This was the Hoyas last meet of the fall. The men head into the break with a record of 0-4, while the women are 1-3 in dual meets. Both the men’s and women’s teams will travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for a week over the break to continue their training, one of the anticipated aspects of the season.

“I cannot wait for Puerto Rico,” said Walsh. “I grew up swimming outdoors all summer and that is the main thing that I miss about collegiate swimming.”

Georgetown will next compete on Jan. 17 against Radford, Howard and VMI at home in the McCarthy Natatorium. The team, including Amaro, is already excited for the events.

“Coming out of this meet I have an incentive to start working even harder in the pool and in the weight room to get ready for the end of our season,” she said. “Our season is barely halfway over so I am excited about the rest of the season with our team.”

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