men's swim and dive team poses with its championship poster

The University men’s and women’s swimming and diving team won the Landmark Conference Championships Feb. 19, securing dominance for the program. The men captured their seventh-straight conference title, while the women have now won three of the last four.

Coach Tyler Ziegler’s men’s squad put up 765 points, 76 more than second-place Drew. Ziegler has won three championships since taking over as the head coach and CatholicU as a whole is currently in pursuit of matching the longest-ever streak of consecutive men’s titles in Landmark Conference history, currently held by former members United State Merchant Marine Academy (2008–16).

“Winning both the men’s and women’s Landmark Championship is a truly special accomplishment,” Ziegler said. “Winning just one is challenging, but doing so on both sides takes a full team effort. It shows that we came together as one big team, fully supporting each other from start to finish.”

The men’s 200 breaststroke was a wildly successful race for the Cardinals as the team provided three of the top four finishers. Junior Nathan Ober went 2:02.30 to beat teammate Jackson Hicks (2:06.03) to the wall while Tristan Burrola (2:10.00) touched fourth, smashing his personal best by more than three seconds. Ober’s time is a new program and championship-meet record.

Ober was named Landmark Conference Swimmer of the Year after four victories and two NCAA B Cuts in the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes, while first-year student Charles Connolly was named Diver of the Year after winning both the 1-meter and 3-meter platform dive events.

Women's swim and dive team posing with their championship poster

The women’s team’s championships provided wildly entertaining viewing, with the winner not being decided until the final event — the 400 free relay — was complete. Ziegler’s women’s team had a lead of greater than 50 points over Scranton, the team that had remained closest to the Cardinals all weekend. With Scranton ready to close the points gap, Angele Parral provided a clutch swim, securing a second-place finish. The first-year student produced the race of her career to date, clocking in at 2:12.06, nearly two seconds faster than her prelim time and over four seasons faster than her personal best prior to the day.

Catholic women’s swimming and diving first-year student Katie Herman was named both Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year and Swimmer of the Year after stealing the show at Landmark Conference Championships. The newcomer swam to six total victories, breaking program records, conference records and meet records in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. She also earned NCAA B Cuts in both events. Overall, 10 women’s athletes combined for 15 all-conference honors.

“Obviously those performances reflected big time on the scoreboard,” Zeigler said, “but this [program] had big contributions from each and every team member all year long, they leaned on one another and pushed each other to success.”

— M.J.P.