The men’s swimming and diving team thrilled the home crowd and made their fellow Rattlers proud, defeating Howard (115.5-86.5) while the women (80) defeated North Carolina A&T (30) falling to the Bison (96) in the second Annual HBCU Swimming and Diving Invitational Saturday.
In the 200 yard IM, Torrence Ford swam to victory in a time of 2:01.72, slashing the previous record set last year by Howard’s Doug Harris by more than 10 seconds. He also set a new record of 1:00.74 in the 100 yard Breaststroke
Arie Muhammad dominated the ladies’ 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke, easily lowering the previous meet records of 25.55 and 1:01.02 to 24.85 and 59.78. Muhammad, a freshman, who is 2 seconds off the U.S. Olympic Trials standard in the latter event, appreciated the vocal support from the FAMU crowd.
“As a freshman, I have really never experienced anything like this before,” Muhammad said. “I’m glad to represent FAMU to the best of my ability and help get rid of the low expectations of African Americans in swimming.”
Brandon Little cut off over 8 tenths of a second to establish a new meet record of 48.13 in the 100 yard freestyle, as well as setting a record of 1:49.36 in the men’s 200 yard freestyle. Ples Montgomery shaved six seconds off the old record by clocking a first place time of 5:23.44 in the 500 yard men’s freestyle
Head coach Jorge Olaves attributed FAMU’s success to practice and team spirit. The coach, hosting his last home meet, said he was very pleased with the team’s success. Olaves stressed that “it’s all for the kids.”
In the diving competition, FAMU also took the overall title. FAMU dominated in the men’s diving arena with a total of 115.5 points. Howard came in second with 86.5. The women’s team placed second with a score of 80 to Howard’s 96. North Carolina A & T came in third with 30 points.
FAMU’s Gary Banks qualified for the NCAA diving competition. Banks, a sophomore, was FAMU’s lone qualifier in 1 meter diving.
Howard coach Solomon Robinson praised his team’s performance in the 200 yard relay events. Overall, Howard won 3 of the 4 relay events.
Individually, Howard’s Olufolahan Oluwole maintained his first place in the men’s 100 yard backstroke reducing his record time from 56.71 to 55.38.
The Bison 200 yard medley relay team retained their first place from last year and established a new record of 1:40.39. Robinson said the competition will be fierce next year.
“We had high expectations of winning, but FAMU got the better of us this time…but when we host it next year it will be a different story.”