The VMI men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams finished the 2019 America East Championships by breaking 18 program records over the course of the four-day championship meet. The future is bright for the program, as a pair of freshmen had outstanding seasons. Richmond, Virginia, native Cadet Sophie Svoboda ’22 set seven individual top marks this winter and is now a part of two record-holding relay teams. Cadet Stephen Hopta ’22, from McMurray, Pennsylvania, already holds four school top individual times and was a member of three relay teams that set all-time records this season.
At the championships, he men finished seventh in a field of 21 teams, and the women were 15 out of 20.
Both squads were named Scholar All-America teams in late January, announced by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association. The VMI women’s team boasted a team GPA of 3.16 this fall under head coach Andrew Bretscher, and was one of just three Division I women’s squads debuting on the list. The Keydet men’s team had a GPA of 3.04.
“We had a lot of fun at this meet and throughout the entire season,” said head coach Andrew Bretscher. “We were able to set more records this weekend and see more improvements in many of our athletes, so I couldn’t be happier. Bringing such a large group to this meet brought out a great team atmosphere that certainly contributed to our success both individually and as a team. Our seniors finished off their careers in style, and I’m proud of what they were able to achieve during their time on the team, and how much they have contributed to successes we saw this year. Setting 25 new varsity records and 22 new rat (freshman) records in just one season is a major milestone for the program, so this will be a season to remember.”