Florida Tech Women’s Swim Team Defeats Rollins College at Season Opener
By Jerry Durney, Florida Tech News Bureau // October 2, 2023
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BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – The Florida Tech women’s swimming program opened the 2023-24 season Saturday afternoon with a Sunshine State Conference meet against Rollins at the Panther Aquatic Center.
Thanks to some strong performances from several first-timers, the Panthers were dominant from the outset and cruised to a 90-79 victory with the meet being cut short after 17 events due to weather.
Freshman Maja Malarz won her first individual race as a Panther by posting a 1:58.41 in the 200 Free. Tech took the top three spots in the event with Allysann Holder (2:00.30) and Brynn Romberger (2:00.66) taking second and third respectively.
Fellow freshman Torie Whitbeck earned a debut victory in the 100 Back thanks to a time of 1:00.03, just edging out Miranda Olhasso (1:01.30). Whitbeck went on to earn victory in the 200 Back with a time of 2:09.28 that was six seconds ahead of the closest competition.
Senior transfer Rae Ann Dressel joined the first-time festivities by winning the 100 Breast with a time of 1:06.67.
Leah Fonnotto’s time of 11:22.65 was good for third in the 1000 Free. Freshman Samantha Bullard took third-place in the 200 Fly with a time of 2:17.42.
Brie Wescott, another debutant, earned second place in the 50 free with a 25.20 finish. Debora Xavier (54.81) and Malarz (55.20) took home second and third respectively in the 100 Free.
Alex Knodel earned third in the 200 Back thanks to a time of 2:17.07.
In relay action, the team of Whitbeck, Dressel, Christina Ramirez and Malarz took top honors in the 200 Medley with a time of 1:50.34. Taking third in the event was the group of Harper Powell, Sophia Sichtnik, Bullard and Wescott with a 1:52.37 finish.
“We knew on paper that we had a good team coming into this year, we knew we had a really strong incoming class of freshmen and transfers, but the team saw today what we’re fully capable of and I think they’re going to buy in in a little bit more and we’re just going to keep having fun.”
“The one big push we made was just trying to grow our depth and continue to make sure that we’re competing at a high level from our top swimmers all the way down, we want to be competing at a high level with everybody.”
“We know September 30 is not our end goal, so we’re continuing to make progress and work towards our end goal of moving up the rankings in the Sunshine State Conference and sending as many athletes as we can to NCAA (Championships), but we’ve got a lot of meets coming up these next few weekends that we’re putting our focus on. Just have as much fun and continue to win as many races as we can.”
Up Next: The Panthers will be back in action next Saturday, October 7th at 12 P.M. at the Nina B. Hollis Wellness Center Pool in Lakeland for a Sunshine State Conference meet against Florida Southern.
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