Like women’s swimming and diving before them, the Retrievers men’s swimming and diving team defended their third straight Coastal Collegiate Sports Association (CCSA) Championships, taking home several gold medals with them.
The Retrievers began their first few days strong, clinching first in overall standings at the CCSA Championships. Freshman Ilia Rattsev, sophomore Ahmed Wahby, junior Nikola Trajkovic and senior Gregor Spoerlein helped the men take the gold in the 800-free relay, finishing just two seconds ahead of the swimmers from Incarnate Word for a time of 6:30.95. Spoerlein returns with sophomore Alexander Gliese, freshman Luis Galvan and junior Philip Adejumo to snag bronze in the 200-medley relay, sprinting in with a time of 1:29.32.
Sophomore Elijah Wright and freshman Ben Parker both qualified for the finals in the 1-meter dive, where Wright reeled in a score of 325.10 for a bronze and Parker placed eighth with a score of 254.15 to wrap up the first day.
The following day, Trajkovic and Spoerlein placed first in individual events. Trajkovic won the gold in the 200 IM with a time of 1:48.04, shaving a whole two seconds off of his prelim time to earn a NCAA qualifying cut. Spoerlein finished first in the 50 free, sprinting in with a time of 20.28. Rattsev and Gliese both represented the Retrievers and got to stand on the podium for second and third place wins, respectively, in the 500 free. Rattsev finished just under a second before Gliese touched in, with a tiqume of 4:26.25 and 4:27.11.
Wright and Parker placed sixth and seven off the 3-meter diving boards with Wright taking a 337.80 score and Parker taking a score of 285.05. After finals, UMBC increases their lead to 550 points, putting a 76-point difference between them and the second-place team.
The third day of the competition saw a new record broken, by Trajkovic in the 400 IM. Streaking in at a time of 3:53.68, he beat the previous record he had set at the championships the year before. Teammate Andrew McKissick followed only two seconds later with a time of 3:55.57 to take the bronze medal.
A multitude of other individual events were won last Friday, as well. Adejumo flew in with a time of 48.53 in the 100 butterfly to place second and senior Andrew Shrantz placed sixth, with a time of 49.36. Five different swimmers touched in within a second of one another, marking an extremely close race. Spoerlein took silver in the 200 free, coming in at 1:37.32, with Rattsev following in fourth at 1:38.57.
On the final day, the Retrievers brought home a gold medal in the 400 free relay, with a time of 2:58.21, thanks to the quick hands and feet of Rattsev, junior Jared Vance, sophomore Connor Ganley and Spoerlein. Wahby sprints in to take silver in the 200 fly at 1:48.61, while junior Kyle Paxton and Ganley take second and third respectively in the 200 breast, both nearly breaking the 2 minute mark (2:00.14 and 2:01.23).
UMBC ended their final day with an accumulation of 1522 points, a full 305.5 points ahead of the second place team, naming coach Cradock Coach of the Year and finalizing their third consecutive championship win. In just a few weeks, the Retrievers will be ready to dive back in and race for another win at the ECAC Championships, in Annapolis, MD on March 3-5.