Today: Feb 27, 2024

Owls take home another NE-10 title

Photo Courtesy Southernctowls.com
The Owls won by beating the second-place team, The College of Saint Rose, by 229 points.

PAT LONGOBARDISports Writer
The Southern Connecticut State men’s swimming and diving team had one of their more dominant meets of the season in a place where they can feel most comfortable.
The Owls won their eighth conference championship in nine years at the Northeast-10 Conference Championship at Hutchinson Natatorium with 934 points ahead of second place Saint Rose with 705.5 points.
Senior co-captain Matthew Sorena was named the Northeast-10 Conference Men’s Most Outstanding Swimmer for his performances for the second straight year and the conference swimmer of the week while breaking three records and putting up two NCAA “B” cuts.
Sorena set new conference records in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:35.42, the 1650 freestyle (15:56.19) while also breaking the pool record and posting an NCAA “B” cut mark and in the 200 yard butterfly (1:52.00). He also won the 800 freestyle relay (6:53.59) and an NCAA ‘B’ cut mark.
Sorena said he was happy with the team’s performance, but for some people like him, there is still more work to be done in the final meet.
“We had been getting ready for a while now [NE-10 Championships],” Sorena said. “It was a team effort. It was not just the individual performances. It was a 100 percent team effort. I am really happy with how I have been swimming. I am thinking nationals, but we will see. Being a senior, it was bittersweet [to do well].”
SCSU men’s swimming head coach Tim Quill said the team’s young depth also played a role in this win.
“It was a great performance team-wise,” Quill said. “We have a lot of youth on the program and a number of freshmen needed to step up in the top 16, or the top eight in some situations which helped solidify that championship. You always know who will be your point scorers from the previous year, but you do not know how the freshmen will stack up, which was a great joy. The depth showed in the B relays. We had dominant B relays. You also can not take away some of the individual performances.”
Senior Austin Mizzell broke two conference records while at the championships. He placed first in the 200 yard breastroke with a time of 2:00.76 and barely missed the NCAA “A” cut by four hundredths of a second. He also was first in the 100 breaststroke (56.34 seconds) to break his old mark by just over a second for an NCAA ‘B’ cut mark.
Senior Miguel Nesrala broke one record in the 50 yard freestyle with a time of 20.84 seconds, and he placed first in the 100 yard freestyle (45.47 seconds) for an NCAA “B” cut.
Four relay teams came in first place while two relay teams reached NCAA ‘B’ cut marks in the 800 freestyle relay with Mizzell, Nesrala, Sorena, and Joseph Polaco (6:53.59) and in the 200 medley relay team with Mizzell, Nesrala, Sorena, and Jared Thurston (1:33.38).
The 400 yard freestyle relay team of Nesrala, Mizzell, Thurston and Sorena broke the conference record with a time of 3:07.81, while the 200 yard freestyle relay team also placed first.
The Owls will compete in the final meet of the season in the Metropolitan Championships in Piscataway N.J. on Feb. 17-19. Mizzell is currently the only athlete on the men’s team that qualified for the NCAA Championships starting on March 14 in Mansfield, Tex.
“Winning the conference championship takes on a different flavor now,” Quill said. “We are looking to find some versatility that we had not thought about. Ultimately, this is the final preparation before the national championships, and it takes on a different thought. Two of our guys–Matt [Sorena] and Miguel [Nesrala]–have a shot at qualifying [for nationals].”
“We have been pushing each other in practice,” Sorena said. “It was good to see it all come together. We all pulled behind the girls and the boys [at NE-10s]. This [Metros] is a chance for others to get faster times.”

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