WASHINGTON, D.C. - There was a lot to celebrate Sunday afternoon for the Gallaudet University men's swim team as the Bison defeated Hood College, 108-89, before a great crowd at the Field House pool on Senior Day. The victory is the first for Gallaudet in nearly two seasons as the Bison finish the regular-season with a 1-8 record and 1-5 mark in the Capital Athletic Conference. This was the second and final home meet of the season for Gallaudet as the program celebrated its 50th anniversary the night before with alumni, supporters and current swimmers.
Sophomore Brian Bennett (Colorado Springs, Colo.) led the way as he won three individual events and set a new team record in the process. Bennett touched the wall first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:51.36 to better the program record that was previously set by Ray Clark (1:52) in 2005. The sophomore swimmer also took home first-place honors in the 200-yard IM (2:13.65) and the 100-yard freestyle (51.74 seconds). In total Bennett accumulated 27 team points for the Buff and Blue.
Gallaudet swept the two relays against Hood (1-6, 0-5 CAC) as the Bison won the 200-yard medley (2:00.97) and the 200-yard freestyle (1:44.00) relays. Freshman Dan Burton (Waukesha, Wis.) was the only Bison swimmer to compete in both relays. He also took home second-place in the 50-yard free (24.85 seconds). Sophomore Grady Gallagher (Las Vegas, Nev.) was the other Bison swimmer with two first-place finishes and one third-place finish. Gallagher was a member of the 200-yard free relay and won the 500-yard free (5:43.26) as he beat the field by over 27 seconds. He finished third in the 200-yard free (2:04.22).
Junior Daniel DiDonna (Parsippany, N.J.) was part of 17 team points for GU as he was a member of the 200-yard medley relay that brought in 11 points. DiDonna also finished second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:09.87) and third in the 50-yard free (25.06 seconds), just behind Burton. The final member of the 200-yard medley relay was Kris Lauderbaugh who had two third-place finishes in the 100-yard butterfly (1:14.31) and the 100-yard backstroke (1:10.95).
Two members of the first-place relay teams for GU included junior Sean Ryant (Cleveland, Ohio) in the 200-yard freestyle relay and freshman Daniel Katz-Hernandez (Montgomery Village, Md.) in the 200-yard medley relay, who also took third in the 1,000-yard freestyle (14:01.88).
Sophomore Kyle Sexton (Peoria, Ill.) had a strong day as he finished first, second and third in three different events. Sexton was the fourth and final member of the first-place 200-yard freestyle relay, second in the 1,000-yard freestyle (12:21.70) and third in the 100-yard freestyle (58.42).
The meet was a special day for Gallaudet senior Joseph Lopez (Riverside, Calif.) who swam in his last meet at home for the Bison. In the second to last event of the day, Lopez finished third in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:21.40) just behind DiDonna.
The last win for the Bison came on January 19, 2008, when Gallaudet won at home against Hood, 94-88. Last year, the Blazers beat the Bison, 93-63.
Gallaudet will now have three weeks to train and prepare for the 2010 CAC Championships that will be held at St. Mary's (Md.) College in St. Mary's City, Md., on February 12-14.