EAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- It was a historic end to a historic week for the Seton Hall men's swimming & diving team on Saturday as sophomores Noah Yanchulis (Arnold, Md.) and Matt Zebrowski (Sayreville, N.J.) headlined a Saturday filled with awards for the Pirates on the final day of the 2016 BIG EAST Championships.
Zebrowski captured his second consecutive 200-fly gold medal (1:49.33), becoming the third different men's team member to climb to the top of the podium this week and joining an exclusive group of seven Pirates in program history to record multiple individual titles - one that includes Yanchulis as well as freshman Lior Grubert (Yehud-Monosson, Israel).
Yanchulis charged into the 200-breast final as the second seed and came up just .13 seconds short of becoming the first Pirate to record three gold medals at the same conference meet, claiming silver with a time of 2:02.02. Yanchulis wasn't finished however as in the final event of the meet, he joined Grubert and two more newcomers in Dakota Williams (Noank, Conn.) and Chris Tucker (Middletown, N.J.) in setting a new 400-free relay school record with a 3:03.07 mark.
The Arnold, Md. native scored 57 individual points during the week - capturing 200 and 500-free gold earlier in the competition - and for his efforts, he was tabbed as the Most Outstanding Men's Swimmer of the meet, becoming the second Pirate ever to win the award (Kevin Webster, 2011). Yanchulis and Webster are also the only three-time swimming champions in program history.
The standout efforts capped a weekend that saw a steady procession of Pirates climb onto the podium, resulting in a third-place finish for the SHU men (672.5 points). Xavier won the team title with 832 points.
In all, The Hall took home five individual golds behind the performances of Yanchulis, Zebrowski and Grubert who finished as the 200 and 400-IM champion earlier in the week. Zebrowski and Yanchulis also teamed with David Rowe (Cherry Hill, N.J.) and Sean Sali (Bridgewater, N.J.) to set a new 400-medley relay school record during the meet (3:19.55) as well.
Adding to that long list of accomplishments was the fact that the Seton Hall men had 16 different swimmers record a scoring time -- 14 of which were freshmen or sophomores -- and given that the roster is one that boasts only one senior, it was only fitting that head coach Ron Farina was selected as the Men's Swimming Coach of the Year for the first time.
The SHU men recorded eight individual top-five finishes in total on Saturday to power to the finish as other highlights included a tremendous effort from Cody Wimmer (Macungie, PA.) to grab silver in the 1,650-free (15:47.76) as well as two more top-four efforts in the 200-fly from newcomers Kyle Nash (Katy, Texas) and Ivan Michalovic (Glen Mills, Pa.) who placed second and fourth respectively.
Sophomore Zohar Suslovich (Holon, Israel) led the way with a bronze in the 200-back, clocking in at 1:50.03, just ahead of Grubert in fifth. Williams added a bronze of his own in the 100-free, touching in at 45.03 in the championship race.
From the diving board; senior Eric Davidson (Overland Park, Kan.) registered a third-place finish with a score of 520.15, completing his career with six BIG EAST medals.
The list of All-BIG EAST performers will be released in the coming days and is sure to include a host of Pirates who delivered season best performances on the conference stage, putting an exclamation mark on a highly successful campaign.