The Collegian
Thursday, February 29, 2024

Swimming, diving triumph over James Madison University on senior night

The University of Richmond's swim and dive team competed against James Madison University on January 28th.
The University of Richmond's swim and dive team competed against James Madison University on January 28th.

The University of Richmond women’s swimming and diving team defeated the James Madison University Dukes 158-139 Thursday night at the Spider’s home pool of Robins Center Natatorium. 

The senior night ceremony began with the four seniors, diver Emma Yeakley and swimmers Maggie Purcell, Grace Palfreyman and Jenna Carastro, being recognized. The head coach Matt Barany spoke about each athlete with words of encouragement but left his entire team with words of wisdom, including the importance of working hard on maintaining friendships and staying connected with one another. 

“You know when you graduate, don’t forget this,” said Barany. “This is a place that can be a sanctuary.”

The diving event included the three-meter and one-meter competition, featuring Yeakley, who was the only Spider diver, outnumbered by the Dukes that had six.

“In past years, it’s never been [just one diver] so it’s definitely different,” Yeakley said. “But I saw my coach and the team is still here, so it’s good.”

In the three-meter, she scored high in rounds five and six with given scores between 6 and 7. She stayed consistent throughout the remaining four rounds scoring 4s and 5s. 

In the final two rounds of the one-meter, Yeakley scored between 6.5 and 8 each round. 

The Richmond swimmers came out strong and ready for vengeance against the Dukes since their last face-off in March, where the Spiders lost 117-182. 

Throughout the 16 events, the Spiders secured first place eight times, second place five times and third place eight times, keeping a steady lead throughout the events.

In the 400-yard medley relay, UR placed first and third with respective times of 3:49.13 and 3:55.77. The first place team included sophomore Katelyn Pennell, Purcell, and juniors  Lauren Medlin and Claire O’Shaughnessy. The third place team included first-years Abby Fuller and Carstyn Klosterman, junior Sara Greene and sophomore Lucy Yeomans. 

In the 1000-yard freestyle, first-year Laura Davis and sophomore Megan Carson placed second and third with respective times of 10:35.07 and 10:38.54.

Purcell and Palfreyman secured first and third place with respective times of 1:52.96 and 1:55.40 in the 200-yard freestyle. Pennell came in first in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 57.71. The sixth event was the 200-yard butterfly, where O’Shaughnessy placed first with a time of 2:06 flat and junior Rachel Pak placed fourth at 2:11.16. 

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In the eleventh event, the 200-yard breaststroke, Greene, Purcell and Carastro secured first, second and fourth place for UR. 

Before the meet, Carastro offered advice to her younger teammates which she quoted as her coach’s words of advice.

“You need to put everything on the line, everything’s not gonna be like a straight line,” Carastro said.  “You’re gonna have obstacles that you need to face, you’re not gonna feel good all the time. The whole point is just pushing through and bettering yourself.” 

(use this one for story) Swim & Dive Senior Rcognition 2

(Left to Right) Seniors Jenna Carastro, Grace Palfreyman, Maggie Purcell, and Emma Yeakley on the University of Richmond Swim & Dive team are recognized at their home meet against James Madison University.

The 500-yard freestyle was also successful for the Spiders with Palfreyman placing second followed by Carson in third and sophomore Petra Mijic in sixth with respective times of 5:12.34, 5:13.40 and 5:19.67.

In the final event of the regular swimming season, the 200-yard freestyle relay, Richmond relay teams placed first and fourth with times of 1:35.46 and 1:40.15. The first relay team included Fuller, Medlin, Yeomans and Purcell. The other relay team included Pennell, Palfreyman, first-year Christinia Levins and junior Mattie Williams. 

Purcell also left words of advice for her teammates saying: “Hang out with your friends as much [as possible], hang out with the team as much as possible and try to bring the younger girls up with you. Just have a lot of fun while doing it and don’t stress yourself out too much.”

The win against the JMU Dukes marked the end of the regular season for the women’s swimming and diving. With a few invitational meets and tournaments left, the senior class of 2022 legacy slowly comes to a close.

UR’s swimming and diving team will compete again at 11 a.m. on Feb. 4 in Charlottesville, Virginia, for the University of Virginia First Chance Meet. 

Contact sports co-editor Andrew Cardounel at

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