|University of New Hampshire | 2013 America East Women's Swimming & Diving Champions|
ORONO, Maine –The University of New Hampshire women's swimming and diving team set an all-time league championship record with 858 points to win the 2013 America East Women's Swimming & Diving Championship at the University of Maine's Stanley M. Wallace Pool on Sunday night.
The Wildcats win the America East Swimming & Diving Championship for the fifth time in the 20-year tenure of head coach Josh Willman, and the league crown returns to Durham for the first time since UNH won back-to-back championships in 2005 and 2006.
UNH's 858 points shattered its own previous AE championship mark of 832.5 points, which was set in 1998 when the University won its first title. University of Maryland, Baltimore County finished in second place with 818.5 points, followed by Vermont (548), Maine (454.5) and Binghamton (417).
"This team was so tough and kept focused throughout the entire weekend," Willman said. "We knew that UMBC would come back on us Saturday night, but we responded with people moving up places in the finals going 1-2 in both the 400 IM and 200 free. We came into tonight in a dead heat and with more people stepping up were able to put the meet out of UMBC's reach after the 200 fly. The women have worked so hard for this championship, and I am so proud of this effort."
Katie Mann (Maple Ridge, British Columbia) supplied the top highlight of the night by setting an America East conference record, AE championship record and Wallace Pool record with an NCAA-qualifying, 200-yard breaststroke time of 2 minutes, 14.18 seconds. Earlier in the day, the sophomore shattered the same trio of pool records in the 200 breast prelims after touching the wall in a time of 2:14.32 to earn the top seed in the finals.
Lauren McCandless (Macungie, Pa.), the America East record-holder in the 1650-yard free, set the tone in the opening race of the final session when she captured victory in a time of 16 minutes, 48.18 seconds for 20 points. UNH notched places 4 through 6 as Adria Morales (Santa Clarita, Calif.) registered a fourth-place time of 17:09.13 for 15 points, Sydney Tribou (Orlando, Fla.) took fifth place in 17:19.43 (14 points) and Katie Keefer (Waynesboro, Va.) slapped the wall in 17:22.93 for sixth place (13 points).
The Wildcats made it two straight wins by finishing 1-2 in the 200-yard backstroke; Jenna Bull (Woodstock, New Brunswick) clocked in at 2:01.33 (20 points) for the victory, and Oneida Cooper (Johannesburg, South Africa) took second place just 0.62 seconds later for 17 points.
Shelli Reed (Hollister, Calif.) swam the 100-yard freestyle in 51.41 seconds to finish in fourth place (15 points). Megan Suffel (Cornwall, Ontario) accrued 13 team points by virtue of a sixth-place time of 52.45, and Emily Magnavita (South Glastonbury, Conn.) earned seventh place (12 points) in 52.49. Talor Tadena of UMBC touched the wall in 50.83 for the 100 free win.
The Retrievers' 100 free win swung momentum in their direction; still, Mann had other ideas when she put the 'Cats on the cusp of the championship with her record-setting performance in the 200 breast for 20 points.
UNH claimed gold and silver in the 200-yard butterfly with Jenni Roberts (Springvale, Maine) touching the wall in a dazzling 1 minute, 58.60 seconds (20 points) for the victory and McCandless posting a runner-up time of 2:00.10 for 17 points. Allison Morales (Santa Clarita, Calif.) raced to sixth place in 2:04.82 (12 points), and her twin sister Adria Morales picked up 11 points in 2:08.17 for eighth place.
The Wildcats wrapped up the championship by virtue of a second-place showing in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Roberts, Reed, Suffel and Bull combined for a time of 3:25.45 (34 points), which was a mere 0.01 seconds off the pace of UMBC's victorious quartet.
In the preliminary segment of the day, Cooper earned the second seed in the 200 back, touching the wall at 2:02.17. Bull swam to a sixth place finish (2:03.81), while Allison Morales tied Maine swimmer Shannon Bender for seventh. The pair finished with a time of 2:04.47.
Reed recorded third place in the 100 free preliminary after touching the wall to a time of 51.69. Magnavita finished the event in fifth with a time of 52.15 while Suffel registered a time of 52.47.
The Wildcats dominated in the 200 fly preliminaries, earning the first, second, fifth and seventh seeds for the finals. Roberts took gold in the event with a time of 1:59.94, while McCandless touched the wall at 2:00.57. Allison Morales finished fifth in the event with a time of 2:04.38; Adria Morales finished seventh, touching the wall at 2:05.81.
Roberts was named the America East Outstanding Swimmer of the Year. Willman, associate head coach Jarrod Zwirko, diving coach Carol Stevenson and volunteer assistant coach Jared Felker were named the America East Coaches of the Year, which marked the fourth straight season UNH's staff garnered that honor.
For more information on the UNH swimming and diving team, visit www.unhwildcats.com.