Stevenson swimmers ready to dive into MAC championships

Sophomore Hailey Buenemann springs out of the water during butterfly.
Sophomore Hailey Buenemann springs out of the water during butterfly.
Instagram – @gomustangsports

The Mustang swim teams are gearing up for the MAC Championships from Feb. 15-18 at York College of Pennsylvania. The men’s and women’s teams have had historic regular seasons, each finishing with a 9-3 record.  

The regular season ended on Jan. 27 at the Mustangs’ home pool at McDonogh School with the Last Chance Qualifier meet. 

Between both teams, 19 athletes will be competing at the MAC Championships. 

Key contributors for the men’s team include:

  • Reigning MAC 100-yard butterfly champion Ian D’Angiolillo
  • MAC 50-yard freestyle runner-up Sean Sopko
  • Breaststroker Brandon Cogdill who holds the school record in the 50-yard breaststroke and four different relays
  • Zachory Hogg, who broke the school record in the 1,000-yard freestyle on Jan. 27 and
  • Butterflier Zachary Clark who also holds four relay records.
Ian D’Angiolillo is ready to defend his title in the 100-yard butterfly (Instagram – @su_swim)

For D’Angiolillo, a senior captain, he’s ready to give it his all in the 100-yard butterfly and defend his title.

“There are a lot of very talented, strong, and competitive swimmers that have swum the event this year. Regardless of who I’ll be facing, I’ll try my very best to keep Stevenson in close contention,” D’Angiolillo said. 

D’Angiolillo is also branching out for the championship meet, swimming the 1650-yard freestyle as a second event in place of the 200-yard butterfly, which he swam last year. Coach Clarke Nyman likes the move for D’Angiolillo.

“It’s a big step for him and it’s a big team play as well so I’m excited for him,” Nyman said.  

For Coach Nyman, a swimmer to watch out for is sophomore Zac Clark.

“He has been a workhorse all season, continually dropping times and training very well,” Nyman said. “No matter what happens next week, I’m certain he will make improvements across the board.”  

For the equally dominant women’s team, several athletes just missed out on the podium last year but are ready to give it another shot. Sophomore Alexa Darak is currently ranked fifth in the 200-yard butterfly but is confident in her ability to make it onto the podium.  

“My mentality going into championships is I have had all the practice I can up until these events. My goal is to go in, have fun, and try my best,” Darak said.  

Darak will certainly have her work cut out for her on championship weekend, swimming the 400-yard IM and 1650-yard freestyle alongside the 200-yard butterfly. Widely considered to be some of, if not the three hardest events in swimming, Darak is ready to face the daunting schedule.  

“My strategy is to go in and take it one event at a time. Since my events are longer, I plan on focusing on each one individually, therefore I can swim each event to the best ability,” Darak said. 

Jennie Hudson is ready to battle for a medal in the 100-yard breaststroke (Instagram – @su_swim)

Senior captain Jennie Hudson is also looking to get on the podium in the 100-yard breaststroke, an event in which she has reached as high as sixth place in the conference.

“Because it’s my last year my mindset going into champs is to give it my all,” Hudson said. “I know I’ve done all the work this season and all that’s left is to swim my heart out. No matter what happens I’ll be proud of my season this year.”

As a captain, Hudson places a big emphasis on the rest of the team as well.

“I’m so excited to watch everyone compete because half of the joy at a huge meet like this is seeing your teammates crush it,” Hudson said.

As the excitement builds, the Mustangs are ready to bring home some hardware. 

The MAC Championships’ starting gun will sound at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 15. The link to watch the MAC Championships can be found here.  

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About the Contributor
Kevin Kouchoukos, Sports Reporter
Kevin is a sophomore communication studies major with a minor in marketing from Nottingham, New Hampshire. He wants to pursue a career in sports media and PR. Outside of The Villager, Kevin also works with the athletic communications department. He is also a member of the Stevenson men's beach and indoor volleyball teams. Kevin also has a cockapoo named Wrigley and two cats named Pumpkin and Brian.
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