On a terrific Senior Day at Burr Gymnasium, the Howard Bison Swimming and Diving team hosted VMI and Catholic University while honoring their tremendous senior class. As the team continues to gain speed and confidence going forward into the winter months, Howard earned the most individual victories for their season on Saturday afternoon. The Lady Bison picked up their first team victory of the year as they beat the VMI Keydets, 129-30. Catholic University took both matches against Howard, a 110-98 decision against the Lady Bison and a 118-84 win against the men. The Howard men also dropped their contest to VMI, a 123-76 shortcoming.
The day, though, was marked by fantastic performances by so many members of the Bison. The women's victory was sparked by seven first place finishes. Senior Ashley Goins (Silver Spring, MD) in her final and only Howard home meet, turned in one of the more remarkable performances in school history. In leading off the meet, Goins scored an unprecedented 310.15 on the 1-meter routine, a mark that, unofficially, is the new Howard University school record.
Sophomore Chelsea Andrews (Glenside, PA) continued her winning ways with four more individual victories. Her strong, season-best time of 1:57.57 in the 200 freestyle was good for first place points. Andrews cruised to victory in the 100 butterfly with a 1:00.88, marking the 14th victory on the season for the dynamic sophomore.
Freshman Ashley Douglas (Missouri City, TX) had her finest individual performance as a Lady Bison. Douglas used a powerful final 25 in her 100 backstroke for her first individual collegiate victory, a 1:05.16 in the 100 backstroke. To follow that performance, Douglas fired off the blocks in the 50 freestyle and took charge immediately with winning time of 25.98. Both times were season-bests. Not to be outdone, sophomore E'lan Brewer (Lansing, MI) looked outstanding in her 100 freestyle. Setting the tone early, Brewer's winning time of 57.33 defeated Catholic and VMI by almost two full seconds.
Douglas, Brewer and Andrews joined with freshman Janai Ederaine (Corona, CA) to close the meet in impressive fashion. The Lady Bison 400 freestyle relay, behind Douglas' fastest 100 freestyle split of the season, flattened the Cardinals and Keydets with a first place time of 3:50.13.
Other notable swims came from Ederaine in the 50 freestyle. The rookie touched right behind Douglas in beating all VMI and Catholic swimmers with her 26.19 split. Fellow freshmen Camille Dykes (Maplewood, MN) took second place honors in the 200 IM with a season-best mark of 2:25.21.
The men were led by senior Damjan Strbac (Zagreb, Croatia,) sophomore Zadok Isaacs (Cantaro Village, Trinidad and Tobago) and freshman Darell Hungerford (Clinton, MD.) Strbac claimed the 100 freestyle with an exciting final lap to out-touch VMI's Matt Elliott by 0.01 seconds (49.88.) Strbac also beat Catholic in the 50 freestyle, winning his heat with a time of 22.78.
Isaacs continued his impressive sophomore season with two more victories. Showcasing his versatility, Isaacs turned-in the fastest 200 freestyle for the team this season, a 1:48.80 first place effort. Isaacs also took control of the 100 butterfly. Pulling away in the middle 50, Isaacs' time of 53.63 wore away the competition, marking the sophomore's first ever 4-victory meet of his career.
Hungerford was victorious for the first time in his young career. His powerful 1:01.85 in the 100 breaststroke was his best split as a member of the Bison, winning the race by almost three seconds. Hungerford, with Isaacs, Strbac and junior Steven Lott (Los Angeles, CA) to commence the meet with a win in the 400 medley relay, defeating the Keydets and Cardinals by over six seconds.
Besides Goins and Strbac, three other seniors enjoyed a terrific afternoon in the pool. Co-captain Monique Major (Philadelphia, PA) enjoyed a season-best time in the 100 freestyle in achieving seventh place. Co-captain Justin Morrison (Collier, TN) represented distance success by dropping over eight seconds in his 1000 freestyle. Co-captain Omar McKenzie (Nassau, Bahamas) shaved over two seconds from his previous career-best 200 freestyle. Morrison and McKenzie joined with sophomore Darien Washington (Detroit, MI) and freshman Aaron Sykes (Plant City, FL) to finish fourth in a dramatic 400 freestyle relay.
"We have a lot to be proud of here at Howard and it starts with these seniors," said head coach Matt Salerno. "These five individuals have already made a lasting impression on the program and will continue to do so throughout their careers and lives. I'm very pleased with our team's efforts today and look forward to our continued progress in the coming months."
The Bison will ring-in 2011 against the University of North Dakota when the teams face-off in Fort Myer, Florida on January 1.