Swimming and diving championships
Morgan Douglas – Sports Editor
The swimming and diving teams won both the men’s and women’s NE10 Conference Championships this past Sunday at home in the Bruce Hutchinson Natatorium.
It took four days and a lot of swimming and diving, but the Owls came out as the ultimate victors in the end, marking the first time since 2018 that both men’s and women’s teams came in first place.
“I am crazy overwhelmed,” swimmer Arianna Arturi, a freshman, said. “This is probably the most excited I’ve ever been in my whole life. I’ve never felt more like part of a team in my life. The excitement is just crazy. We bonded so well, so fast. This is a crazy moment, I’ve never had so much adrenaline in my life.”
Arturi led the women’s team in medals with six total, including two golds as part of a couple of relay teams.
Rather than breaking down all the events and throwing out a multitude of scores and times, it would be better to just describe the atmosphere, because it was a vibe unto itself.
There was a lot of noise. A lot of smiles. And even a few tears shed.
The conference championships began last Thursday and went all the way through Sunday night with events wrapping up close to midnight.
Competitors’ voices were more spent than their bodies after countless hours of cheering on teammates.
“This is pure adrenaline,” swimmer Olivia Strelevitz, a junior, said. “There’s nothing left. My voice is absolutely gone. It was gone night one.”
Strelevitz collected four medals, including three gold as part of the Owls dangerous relay teams.
The women’s team held the lead for all four days en route to their second consecutive NE10 title and have won four of the past five NE10 Conference Championships, continuing their dominance in the conference.
The men had a tougher path to their championship win, trailing rival Bentley University Falcons heading into the final day of competition.
Over the past decade, it has been a battle of the birds as the Falcons and Owls have routinely traded places atop the NE10 perch, with both programs coming in either first or second place every year since the 2012-13 season.
The men’s team came prepared on Sunday and none of the other seven schools there mattered. Only Bentley, the team in front of them.
Determined to topple their rivals, the Owls brought it on Sunday.
“Everything counts,” diver Andrew Buehler, a junior, said. “Races, dives, relays, everything.”
Buehler’s two gold medals in the one-meter and three-meter diving respectively helped the Owls in achieving their goal.
The energy in the building was palpable. The walls of the bleachers were adorned with signs in support of the competitors. The Owls section in the bleachers had a cheer megaphone, a flag, and signs featuring a picture of swimming’s head coach Tim Quill.
The chants were both entertaining and engaging, with the most original chants emanating from the Owls section.
There were no spectators allowed, so it was all on the teammates to cheer each other on.
“We’re very close when it comes to putting in the work in these meets, we come together,” Arturi said. “We will not let anything stand between us. We block everything out. It’s just us. We focus on just each other. We’re cheering for each other 24/7.”
The men’s team began to pull away early on day four and capped the victory off with a strong second-place finish in the final event of the proceedings, a relay race.
After receiving their championship hardware and gear, both teams celebrated by jumping in the pool, championship shirts, hats and all.
After some coaxing, the teams even convinced their coaches to jump in, in what was a really special moment for a group who had accomplished the ultimate goal. Winning together.
“This is the closest team I’ve ever experienced by far,” Strelevitz said. “We are absolutely family and I’m so honored to be a part of it. These are my siblings. They’re friends forever and I can’t wait to see them do amazing things because the work for next year starts now.”
Fortunately for the Owls, there was no class on Monday due to the holiday, giving them the proper time to celebrate their tremendous accomplishments.
“I can’t wait to spend the rest of the night with them,” Buehler said. “We’re partying hard tonight.”