Swimming And Diving Teams Pounce Panthers

Sophomore Ari Bernstein earned two relay wins and an individual victory in the 100-yard butterfly on Friday.
Sophomore Ari Bernstein earned two relay wins and an individual victory in the 100-yard butterfly on Friday.

Oct. 24, 2003

Charleston, Ill.- If Friday's season-opening meet against Eastern Illinois was any indication, the UIC men's and women's swimming and diving teams are in for a strong 2003-2004 campaign.

The Flames defeated the Panthers' men's and women's teams handily at the Lantz Natatorium on Friday night. The men's team earned a 143-100 team victory, while the women's squad downed EIU with an outstanding 150-95 win.

The UIC men (1-0) earned first-place finishes in nine events, while the women's team (1-0) took first in ten races.

On the men's side, sophomore Ari Bernstein led the way for the men with three first-place wins and a second-place finish. Bernstein earned two wins in relay action, teaming with Adan Jimenez, Alexander Marinof, and newcomer Blake Booher to win the 200-yard medley relay in 1:37.54. Bernstein anchored another relay victory in the 200-yard freestyle with Jimenez, Bill Hare, and LeRoy Stevens at a time of 1:34.44.

Bernstein displayed his mastery in the butterfly, taking the 100-yard fly event in 51.70. The sophomore from River Forest, Ill.owns the UIC school record in the event at a time of 49.76 set in 2003.

Senior Enric Claret was in top form, taking first in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:57.87. Claret also took second in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:50.48.

The UIC men debuted nine freshmen in various events, with many of them making significant impacts at the start. Mark Pappalardo took first in the one-meter diving event and placed third on the three-meter board, while fellow diver Mike Horwitz took first in the three-meter event and followed Pappalardo on the one-meter board with a second-place finish.



Booher also contributed heavily in his first collegiate meet, helping the Flames take the 200-yard medlet relay while finishing third individually in the 50-yard freestyle (22.12). Freshman diver Ryan Fitzer looked excellent in his first two diving events, placing second in the three-meter dive and taking fourth on the one-meter board.

Other first-place finishers for the men included 2003 standout Stevens, who won the 100-yard freestyle in 48.00, as well as Hare and junior Stefan Staev, who took first the 100-yard backstroke and the 100-yard breaststroke events, repectively.

The Flames' women's team looked sharp against the Panthers throughout the meet. Even with eight freshmen debuting on Friday, UIC was overpowering from the get-go.

In relay action, team co-captains Stephanie Murphy and Stephanie Donovan anchored the Flames to victory in the 200-yard medley race. Murphy teamed with junior Alicia Perry and newcomers Jessica Darud and Kelly Hyatt to finish first in the event at 1:54.99, while Donovan led teammates Carlie Schoaf, Maria Ortiz, and freshman Jenny Gessford to third.

Sophomores Laura Martensen and Aisha Williams, coming off tremendous rookie years in 2003, turned in solid performances to open their second-year campaigns. Martensen won the 1000-yard freestyle in 10:52 and took second in the 200-yard IM and the 500-yard freestyle, while Williams scored a pair of wins in the 100-yard butterfly (1:01.26) and the 50-yard freestyle (25.36).

Two-time NCAA Zone C Diving Championship qualifier Caitlin Carey opened her junior season in usual outstanding form, taking the three-meter dive and finishing third in the one-meter event.

UIC's freshmen began their collegiate careers with immediate impact. Diver Sarah Economides won her first event by taking the one-meter board, while Gessford and Emily Biancalana finished one-two in the 100-yard freestyle.

The Panthers' men dropped to 1-2 on the season, while the women fall to 0-3.

The Flames are back in action on Sunday, Oct. 26th. The UIC swimming teams will travel to Evanston, Ill., to compete in the Northwestern Relays, while the Flames' diving squads will host the UIC Diving Invitational at the UIC Natatorium. Both events begin at noon.