Meyer’s Victory Keeps Family Tradition Alive

by Eric Meany
Mark Meyer

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Mark Meyer finished the men’s 200-yard butterfly in second place behind his teammate and older brother Adam in each of his first two years competing in the Patriot League Swimming and Diving Championships.

Adam still holds the league’s record time in the event, but since his graduation in 2010 Mark has made the race his own, and on Saturday night in Lejeune Hall the Naval Academy senior won it for the second consecutive year.

“I’m a little sad I didn’t get any closer to his record here,” Meyer said. “But I have another chance next week.”

Meyer completed the race in 1:46.06 Saturday, the best time in the Patriot League this season but nearly three and a half seconds short of his brother’s record and just .15 ahead of Navy teammate Ben Bondurant. Bondurant, a junior, beat his preliminary time by more than three seconds. He was tied for the lead after 150 yards before Meyer pulled ahead to stay in the final lap.

Meyer competed in two other events during the championships, finishing fourth in the 200-yard individual medley on Thursday and fifth in the 100-yard butterfly on Friday.

Bondurant also entered two other events, winning the 200-yard individual medley and finishing second in the 100-yard butterfly.

Overall, the Navy men won their ninth consecutive Patriot League championship tournament since joining the conference for the 2003-2004 season. Their nine titles are tied with Army for the most in the tournament’s 22 year history.

Bill Roberts has had at least one Meyer brother on his team for six out of his nine years as head coach of the men’s swimming team at Navy. He said they both fit in perfectly with what he wanted from his athletes.

“The day Adam got here we just knew we had a great match,” Roberts said. “And fortunately two years into Adam’s experience Mark decided to come to Navy as well. Those were two really special years when we had both the Meyers here, it just felt like I was a spoiled coach.”

Geoff Schaefer, who coached both brothers at Walt Whitman High School, said he was not surprised by Mark’s success at Navy.

“Mark is such a tenacious swimmer,” Schaefer said. “If you need points you can put him in any basic event and he’ll give you 110 percent. He’s like that type of kid who would just say ‘What does the team need?’ He wasn’t like ‘I’m going to break this record, can you put me in this event?’ He was more like ‘Where does the team need the points?'”

In June, Meyer is scheduled to travel to Omaha, Neb., to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials. It will be his second trip to Omaha, as he finished 36th in the 200 meter butterfly at the trials in 2008. He has already qualified for the same event this year, and has one more chance to qualify for the 100 meter butterfly when Navy hosts the Eastern College Athletic Conference championships beginning Friday.

Roberts said the ECAC tournament will feature many Navy swimmers who didn’t get a chance to compete in the Patriot League championships.

“We’ve got a different group of guys that will be taking over for us,” Roberts said. “We’re excited because we’re hosting it. We can’t wait to take a long day off and then shift our focus to Friday and the next competition.”

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