Cabrini swimmer, Tommy Ronayne, junior business management major, snapped the school’s record in the 500-yard freestyle last month, with a time of 4.43.94 seconds, a five-second drop from the previous record in the event.
Ronayne’s record-breaking performance came on Saturday, Nov. 19, day two of the three-day Diamond City Invitational, a swim meet hosted by King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The meet was held from Nov. 18-20 and featured schools such as Hood College, Lycoming College, and Marywood University.
Ronayne’s swimming career began almost immediately. A native of Springfield, PA, he was born into a family of swimmers. “My mom was my club swim coach when I was little,” he said. “I was tossed into the pool as soon as I was born and had to stick with it.” Ronayne’s older sister also swam in college, and his younger brother is currently looking to swim at the collegiate level.
Going into the second day of the meet, Ronayne wasn’t focused on the record. “I was just hoping for the best time,” he said. “The last record was 4.48 [seconds], so it was on my mind a little bit, but it wasn’t the goal. I finished [the race] and it just happened to have broken the record. It was a five-second drop, so I’ll definitely take it.”
According to Cabrini Athletics, Cabrini finished in fourth place out of the ten schools that competed in the event, with a final score of 829 points. Bridgewater College won, with a score of 1228.
A proper preparation routine is something Ronayne adheres to before each meet. “The day of the meet, I definitely like to make sure I get some yardage in and make sure I’m loose by stretching a little bit,” he said. “Then I like to put my suit on for the meet and get in some more warm-ups.”
Cabrini swimming’s coaching staff also plays a huge role in Ronayne’s success. “Both of the coaches here, Coach Josh [Pace] and Coach Cindy [Ikeler] are a huge help,” Ronayne said. “We changed the practice routine a little bit. We’re putting in more yardage each day and sometimes we’ll do two practices a day. I feel like they got me in the right place and the right time for that meet, so I definitely give them credit for that.”
The impact of being on the team extends beyond race times and winning meets. “It gives you a second family. I feel like everyone bonds together because we swim together every day,” Ronayne said. “You definitely want to go to battle with your brothers. A lot of people think swimming is an individual sport, but at the end of the day you tally up the team’s score, so it’s not about the individual person.”
Head swimming coach, Cindy Ikeler, expressed the importance of Ronayne’s leadership. “Tommy is a tremendous athlete and leader for the team,” she said. “He is incredibly driven, dedicated, and committed to not only his own success and goals, but the success of the program as well.”
What comes next?
Ronayne has goals in mind for the rest of the season, as well as for the rest of his time at Cabrini. “My first goal is to help the team in the best way, so we can score as high as possible at the Atlantic East Conference Championship,” he said. “I also want to try to lower the times of my current records and see what other records I can break in the future.”
Cabrini men’s swimming team’s next meet is at home and is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 13 against Ursinus College. The team will wrap its season on Jan. 28, and the AEC championship event begins on Feb. 10.