Baker and Lopata win individual events for CU men's swimming on Day Two of RIT Invitational
Sunday, December 3, 2017 - 8:23 am

Rochester, NY – Jacob Baker and Gavin Lopata each won individual events for the Clarkson University Swimming & Diving team on Saturday and then the duo combined with two others to help the Golden Knights win the 400 freestyle relay as the Green and Gold's men finished second at the Don Richards Invitational hosted by RIT.

Clarkson's men took second out of five teams at the meet with 743.50 points, ahead of Vassar (413.50), Skidmore (409) and St. Lawrence (359) but behind the host Tigers (1215). Clarkson's women came in sixth out six squads with 185 points, trailing RIT (909), Vassar (602), St. Lawrence (602), Skidmore (489) and William Smith (481).

Saturday was split between two sessions, but Clarkson's men were near the top of virtually every event. In the morning, Gavin Lopata took fourth in the 200 freestyle (1:49.61) and Angus McLean came in fifth in the 1650 freestyle (18:27.86). Jacob Baker then took third in the 100 backstroke (54.99) and was followed closely by teammate Benjamin Thibert, who took fifth with a time of 56.40. Benjamin Vondrak added another third-place finish in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.40) and John Magnuson placed third in the 100 butterfly (55.98). Baker earned first-place honors in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:23.61, more than seven seconds faster than any other competitor in the event. Clarkson also had Brent Reid (fourth, 405.70 points) and Joseph Kozlowski (fifth, 363.70 points) in the top five of the 1-meter dive.

The second session saw Clarkson maintain its excellence with another win and two second-place finishes. Lopata won the 100 freestyle in 48.47 seconds and teammate Benjamin Thibert took fourth in 49.30. Jacob Baker took second in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:00.57, and later in the afternoon John Magnuson came in second in the 200 butterfly in 2:07.62. Senior Chris Bankaitis also came in fifth in the 200 fly in 2:09.35. Clarkson's top finisher in the 200 breaststroke was senior Connor Maloney, who tied for sixth in 2:23.59.

The Golden Knights closed out the day on an exciting note, as the foursome of Lopata, Baker, Magnuson and Thibert narrowly beat out RIT's 400 freestyle relay contingent for first place. The Knights swam the event in 3:14.86, just edging the Tigers' time of 3:14.95.

The Clarkson women didn't fare as well as the men, but still had numerous bright spots. Lauren Grasberger had two top-10 finishes on Saturday, coming in seventh in the 100 backstroke in 1:02.69 and then taking fifth in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:17.62. Also earning points as individuals were Lauren Nandal, who picked up four points in 13th in the 1650 freestyle, Tiffany Catano, who came in 16th in the 100 backstroke, and Caitlin Newhard, who placed 16th in the 200 breaststroke. Clarkson's 'A' relay teams each gained 26 points for the Knights on Saturday as well, with the grouping of Catano, Newhard, Grasberger and Katherine Blanchard combining for a time of 2:02.99 in the 200 medley relay. That same foursome, in a different order, then finished the 400 freestyle relay in 4:10.07.