“Pool Party at Gettysburg!”, Bears Accept Invitation

Adam Denn



After months of intense competition, Bullets Pool gleamed with excitement Thursday, February 22nd, as hundreds of swimmers from across the Centennial Conference made their way to the long-awaited championship meet. Hours upon hours of intense preparation would come down to minutes, seconds, and sometimes even milliseconds of hard racing, creating a feverous atmosphere on the pool deck. In spite of the magnitude of the moment, Coach Mark Feinberg had a different message for the Bears, imploring the team to “make this meet a four day party.” It would seem the team took his words to heart, as Ursinus’ men and women finished 4th and 3rd respectively, within the conference, with 65+ best times recorded and numerous records shattered. With their season at stake, the Bears rose to the challenge, in celebratory fashion. 


All great parties require a great start, needing a spark to inspire the attendees. For Ursinus, that spark came on Thursday night, with a fabulous showing for both teams in the 200 yard Medley and 800 Freestyle relays. Dropping significant time across both A and B relays all night, the team sent a message to the rest of the conference with great showings throughout. The Women’s 800 Freestyle relay represented a crucial highlight, as a team of Missy Leonard ’24, Sara Bozzomo ’26, Katie Barlow ’25, and Melanie Hahn ’27, were able to secure second place after a speedy finish by Hahn. The group was also able to secure an NCAA B Cut, qualifying them to participate in the championship meet for all of Division III at the end of March. The party began with a bang, solidifying a great weekend to come. 


Day 2 for the Bears represented an equally important challenge for the Bears, with three of the most competitive events in the conference up for grabs: the 500 Freestyle, 200 I.M, and 50 Freestyle. The night has become infamous throughout the conference, due to the daunting amount of great swimmers which choose to compete in these three events specifically.   But once again the challenge was met, with a remarkable amount of best times and three podium finishes. Leonard was able to repeat as champion in the 500, while David Mccauley ‘25 and Stephon Lyons ‘24 secured hard-fought third place finishes in the 500 and the 50 freestyle. Both Lyons and Mccauley came from outside lanes to shock the field, showing the team’s preparedness to defy the odds stacked against them. Through their toughness all night, the party raged on. 


As the team approached the bus on day 3, the message was clear from Coach Feinberg: “Get out to a fast start”. The 3rd day consisted of all of the meet’s sprint stroke events, leaving the team to prioritize going out as quick as possible, rather than endurance. The team showed their depth throughout the night; 17 different swimmers were able to final, the most of any night so far. Freshman Morgan Valeriano ’27, Jack Giuliana ’27, Danil Salimov ’27, Mia Tamburrino ’27, Mimi Norris ’27 were all able to get in on the action, showing a bright future for the Bears to come. All 5 swimmers, alongside myself and Sylvi Lynch ’27 were able to come away with best times throughout the meet, signaling major success for the program moving forward. Day 3 ensured the party will continue to arrive, for years to come. 


For swimmers across the conference, day 4 is the meet’s hardest challenge. After three days of difficult racing, teams must reconvene for a brutal day of swimming: all three 200s of stroke and the 1650 freestyle. “Don’t let up now” urged Coach Feinberg, encouraging the team to fight for a strong finish. Ursinus secured one, with multiple records shattered in a spectacular conclusion. Both the men’s and women’s 400 Freestyle relays were able to reach the podium on a crucial night, with a men’s team of Kevin Sonn ’25, Dylan Schreffler ’25, Guiliana ’27, and Lyons ’24 edging Gettysburg College for a bronze medal. Seniors Leonard and Lyons were also able to pick up respective first and thirds in the 200 backstroke and 100 Freestyle, finishing off their college careers with an exclamation point. The party finished on a high note, with the team’s hard work paying off. 


For Ursinus, the season was undoubtedly a success. With numerous best times and great finishes, the team’s senior class ended the year on a high note, with great help from a terrific group of underclassmen. The team will look different next year for sure, with the loss of many major contributors creating large roles to fill. But with grit, determination, and fun-loving spirit in their DNA, the best is yet to come for the Bears.