SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University men's swimming and diving enjoyed a historic season last winter and will begin work towards another record-breaking campaign when it welcomes Boston College on Friday night in the first dual meet of the season.
Last winter, the Black and Gold finished in second for the first time in program history, scoring a school-record 542 total points. And while the Bulldogs will have to replace all five individual gold medals from that meet, the cupboard is far from bare.
Leading the way will be junior Matthew Mays (St. Croix, Virgin Islands), Bryant's school record-holder in the 100 and 200 back. Mays won silver and bronze last year at the MAACs and was also part of three school record-setting relay teams. He's now a five-time medalist and has also represented the Virgin Islands at several international meets over the course of the last two years.
Bryant will also welcome back a strong group that includes senior Robert Davis (Glastonbury, Conn.), senior Zach DiGiaro (Middletown, N.J.), junior Matthew Mastroianni (Glastonbury, Conn.), sophomore Eric Bebel (Westfield, N.J.), sophomore William D'Angelo (Winchester, Mass.) and junior Colby Dixon (Summit, N.J.).
Davis is the most accomplished distance swimmer in program history, holding school records in the 500 free, 1000 free and 1650 free. He became the first swimmer in program history to swim a sub-15:50 1650 at last year's MAAC Championships, earning a silver medal in the process. DiGiaro finished 11th in the 100 fly, Mastroianni was 10th in the 100 free and part of the school-record 400 free relay team, Bebel was a finalist in the 100 fly, D'Angelo finaled in the 200 breast and Dixon was a finalist in the 100 and 200 back.
Bryant will also welcome a nine-member freshmen class and two additional transfers this winter. One of those transfers, Fu Kang (Johor Malaysia), comes to Smithfield after spending a season at Southern Illinois University. Kang was an All-MAC Second Team honoree, breaking the school record in the 100 breast with a time of 53.86. He also holds the Malaysian national record in the 100-meter breast with a time of 1:02.46.
Bryant's deepest unit to start the year will be its diving group. The Bulldogs will be led by the return of junior Trevor Hazlewood (Corpus Christi, Texas), senior Zach Vogel (South Easton, Mass.), sophomore Evan Clark (Doylestown, Pa.) and sophomore Benjamin Prouty (East Lyme, Conn.).
Hazlewood made Bryant diving history last winter, becoming the first diver to ever medal at the MAAC Championships and the first to ever compete in the NCAA Zone Championships. He set school records in both the 1-meter and 3-meter events and earned a bronze medal in the 1-meter at the MAACs.
Clark earned MAAC Rookie Diver of the Meet honors after finishing ninth in the 3-meter and 10th in the 1-meter last winter. Vogel finished eighth in the 3-meter and 12th in the 1-meter, while Prouty was ninth in the 1-meter and 10th in the 3-meter.