HOUSTON – East Carolina captured its fourth American Athletic Conference Men’s Swimming and Diving championship Saturday night, securing the title by winning the 400 free relay to close out the meet. It was their fourth title in six years as a member of the conference and first since 2017.
ECU finished with 845 points and edged second-place Cincinnati (838) by seven points. SMU came in third place with 763 points and was followed by UConn with 588 points.
The Pirates claimed three gold medals on the final day of competition along with three silver medals and a bronze. In total, ECU won eight events during the championship meet.
Pirate head coach Matthew Jabs was named The American Men’s Swimming Coach-of-the-Year.
The Pirates’ 400 freestyle relay foursome of James Ward, Eric Hinderup, Gustavo Santos and Blaz Demsar finished more than a full second ahead of Cincinnati’s squad and broke the school record by more than two seconds with a time of 2:54.04.
Sophomore Marek Osina claimed his first individual gold medal of the 2020 championships, winning the 200 backstroke with a time of 43.04, 0.45 seconds in front Cincinnati’s Blake Hanna (43.49). Osina was part of the Pirates’ gold medal winning 200 and 400 medley relay teams, swimming lead-off in both relays.
Freshman Adam Mahler, the Pirates’ lone entry into the finals of 200 fly, collected the squad’s second gold medal of the night with an ECU record time of 1:44.74, edging Cincinnati’s Parker Saladin by 0.23 seconds.
Santos claimed the silver medal in the men’s 100 freestyle, with an ECU record time of 43.45, finishing 0.81 seconds behind event champion William Kersey of UConn (42.64).
Jacek Arentewicz, who won the 200 breaststroke each of the previous two championship meets, finished second this season 0.19 seconds behind SMU’s Caleb Rhodenbaugh (1:54.74). Arentewicz touched in a time of 1:54.93 to earn the silver medal with ECU’s Lyubomir Epitropov winning the bronze with a mark of 1:55.40.
Freshman Rodrigo Romero earned his second silver medal of the championship meet, scoring 319.15 points on the platform. He also captured silver on the 3-meter springboard after winning gold on the 1-meter on the opening night of competition.
On the women’s side, freshman Kristen Stege competed in her first-ever 1650 freestyle race and captured the program’s second American Athletic Conference gold medal in the event, with a championship record time of 16:11.96.
Freshman Jodi Ogle claimed the bronze medal in the women’s 200 backstroke with an ECU record time of 1:56.54. Sophomore Shannon Stott finished third in the 200 fly to earn a spot on the podium as well.
ECU finished in fourth-place on the women’s side after finishing sixth last season. Houston took home the team title with 952.5 points, more than 300 more points than second-place SMU (640.5).