Dores Split Season Debut

Mercedes Traba paces Vandy as program begins season in Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE, La. – Mercedes Traba won one race and finished second in another to lead the Vanderbilt swimming team to a split in its dual meet season debut Friday at the LSU Natatorium.

The Commodores began the campaign by defeating Tulane 148-114 while falling 201-61 to the host Tigers.

“I’m happy with what we saw from the team today,” Vandy head coach Jeremy Organ said. “I was really pleased for Mercedes and the day that she had competing, she has done a great job the last couple of weeks in practice. We could see the fruits of that labor in her results today.”

Traba claimed Vandy’s lone win in the 500 freestyle in the first individual race of the meet, adding a runner-up finish in the 1,000 freestyle. Faith Knelson placed second in the 100 breaststroke and Ellie Taliaferro was runner-up in the 200 individual medley, with fellow freshmen Ryen Bosuro and Taylor Carey adding top-five performances in their collegiate debuts.

“Some of the freshmen made an impact in their respective races like Ellie and Ryen, there are a lot of good things to come for this group,” said Organ. “Now we’ll get back to work in order to prepare for a really good Auburn team in two weeks.”

Meet Highlights
-In addition to her result in the individual medley, Taliaferro finished fourth in the 100 freestyle as well.
-Kailia Utley contributed top-five performances after placing third and fourth, respectively, in the 100 and 200 butterfly.
-Carey ended up third in the 200 breaststroke and was also fourth in the 100 breaststroke.
-Gabriela Pierobon Mays earned a fifth-place finish in the 100 backstroke.
-Maddie Smith was fifth in the 200 individual medley in her Vandy debut.

-This was the Dores’ first visit to Baton Rouge since November 1989.
-It’s the second straight season that Vanderbilt has defeated the Green Wave, as the Commdores have claimed four of the last five meetings in the series.
-Traba’s 10:13.34 time in the 1,000 freestyle shaved nearly 20 seconds off her previous best mark while moving her into third on the school’s all-time performer list in the event.
-Bosuro touched the wall in 1:52.65 in the 200 freestyle, less than a second from moving into the top 10 in the race in the Dores’ record book.
-Taliaferro and Knelson just missed entering the top 10 all-time at Vandy in the 200 individual medley after posting marks of 2:05.29 and 2:05.85, respectively.

The Commodores will return to action with a home meet against Auburn at the Centennial Sportsplex on Oct. 7 at 1 p.m. CT.