Transylvania swimming and diving opens up season with top-3 finish at Bellarmine Invitational

Fogle in pool

Louisville, Ky. – A new-look Transylvania swimming and diving team recorded a pair of third-place finishes on both the women's and men's sides to start its 2019-2020 season at the Kentucky Invite on Saturday afternoon at Bellarmine University's Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center.

The Transylvania women's team posted 369 points to finish in third behind first-place Bellarmine University and second-place Centre College while the Transylvania men's swim team registered 376 points to finish in third as the Centre men paced the field followed by second-place Bellarmine. Thomas More University finished in fourth place to round out the field of competitors.

Boasting a 38-athlete roster, double from what the Pioneers fielded last season, Transylvania swam with some of the best in-state programs in Louisville on Saturday in their first appearance of the 2019-20 campaign.

Saturday's meet marked a slew of collegiate debuts for new Transylvania swimmers while the core of Pioneer veterans led the way in the season opener.

Junior Drew Dodds was the ringleader for the Transylvania men as he claimed a pair of top-four finishes. Dodds took third in the men's 100 breaststroke, touching the wall in 1:04.32. Dodds added to his Saturday ledger with a fourth-place finish in the men's 100 individual medley (59.40) and a fifth-place showing in the men's 100 butterfly (58.08).

Sophomore Ben Smith took fourth place in the men's 200 freestyle race, posting the top time of any Division III athlete in the race with a 1:58.82 showing. Sophomore Devon Parker picked up a fifth-place finish in the men's 50 breaststroke, completing his sprint in 30.58.

Transylvania's perennial performers rose to the occasion on the women's side, led by senior Sarah Haerle, who claimed a fifth-place finish in the women's 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:14.54 and also added a sixth-place finish in the women's 50 breaststroke (34.05). Mattie Fogle, the Pioneers' other reigning individual event conference champion alongside Haerle, turned in a seventh-place finish out of 12 competitors in the women's 500 freestyle with a 5:48.06 time.

Notable debuts were made by freshmen Sophie Ritzenthaler and Sami Monarch of the Transy women's swimming and diving team on Saturday; Ritzenthaler claimed fourth in the women's 100 backstroke in a time of 1:04.75 while Monarch took fourth in the women's 50 butterfly (29.63).

Newcomers who made a splash for the Transylvania men were freshmen Connor Hood, who took fourth in a pair of races, and Vaughn Hall, who logged a fourth-place showing in the men's 50 backstroke (57.66). Hood finished the men's 100 backstroke in 56.93 for one of his two fourth-place showings and showed off his versatility with a fourth-place time of 5:10.24 in the men's 500 freestyle.

The Pioneers will now continue their preseason training before beginning their schedule in earnest on Saturday, October 6 to visit Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. The Pioneers will have four home meets over the fall semester, capped off by the two-day Transylvania Invitational at the Lancaster Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Kentucky on Saturday and Sunday, December 7-8.

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