ORONO, Maine, February 18. THE UMBC men's and women's swimming and diving teams became the first in the history of the conference to win back-to-back dual conference championships as the men's team set a new championship meet record with 929 points and became the first team to ever win five straight conference titles, in addition to winning their 11th straight league title, while the women amassed a total of 741 points.
The women's team entered the final day of competition 11 points behind meet leader Boston University and crowned three conference champions en route to their second straight conference championship as they outdistanced the Terriers (685) by 56 points, while the men broke their own championship meet record of 920 points set in 2005 by totaling 929 points, holding a 180 point advantage over the Boston University men (749).
UMBC becomes the second team in conference history to have both the men and women's teams win the conference titles on two different occasions, as Boston University accomplished the same feat in 1990 and 1994, but the first to achieve it in consecutive years.
After earning his third second individual title of the weekend in the 200 butterfly, freshman Brad Reitz (Ellicott City, Md./Howard) was named the Most Outstanding Male Rookie and senior Eric Skrabacz (Hollywood, Md./Leonardtown) earned the Coaches' Award for most points scored by a male senior over four years with a total of 142, while Boston University's Tess Waresmith and Andre Watson swept the Most Outstanding Diver awards, Eve Kinsella was named Most Outstanding Female Swimmer, the Terrier coaching staff earned Coaching Staff of the Year honors on both the men's and women's sides, Binghamton's Brenno Varanda was named Most Outstanding Male Swimmer, and New Hampshire's Amy Perrault was named Most Outstanding Female Rookie and teammate Kary Goodman earned the Coaches Award for the women with 212 points over four years.
Reitz swam a time of 1:51.25 to win the 200 butterfly, while junior teammate P.J. Sterba completed a one-two punch with a time of 1:52.96 for silver, and freshman Eric Jones (Gambrills, Md./Arundel) was fourth in 1:54.58. Reitz also claimed an individual title in the 100 fly earlier in the weekend, was part of the school and America East Championship record-setting 800 freestyle relay, took bronze in the 200 individual medley, and was part of the second-place 200 medley and third-place 400 medley relays.
Five other Retrievers and one Retriever relay also claimed gold medals in the last day of competition at the America East Championships in Orono, Maine.
Junior Tina Cantwell (Sinking Spring, Pa./The Hill School) led all Retrievers as she posted an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 2:15.92 in the 200 breaststroke for her second title for the weekend, while sophomore Tereza Kaplanova (Prague, Czech Republic/J.G. Jarkovskeho) completed a one-two punch in the event as she took silver with a time of 2:18.70.
Sophomore Rasmus Kutt (Tallinn, Estonia/Gustav Adolf Gymnazium) and junior Milos Djukic (Novi Sad, Serbia/Svetozar Markovic) were also a deadly combination as they finished first and second in the 200 backstroke with times of 1:49.77 and 1:51.84, respectively.
Skrabacz and freshman Keilan Freeman (Calgary, Alberta, Canada/Argyll Centre) also finaled in the backstroke as they were fifth in 1:53.85 and eighth in 1:54.60, respectively.
Junior Justin Bronson (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada/Msgr. Paul Dwyer) and senior Lindsey Engler (Salisbury, Md./James M. Bennett) each added their second gold medal of the weekend as Bronson turned in a time of 46.02 and Engler was first in 51.32 in the 100 freestyles, respectively.
Engler led a trio of Retrievers in the event as junior Daniele Surkovich (Ellicott City, Md./Wilde Lake) and freshman Erin Wohlers (Baldwinsville, N.Y./Charles W. Baker) finished fourth and seventh with times of 52.59 and 53.66, while senior Adam Eiben (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) finished eighth in 47.51 on the men's side.
Sophomore Lindsay Sherman (Bethany, Conn./Amity) tallied the final conference title for the women as she turned in a time of 2:06.06 to claim gold in the 200 butterfly, while freshman Sarah Ryan (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Oceanside) and sophomore Kate Chialastri (Flourtown, Pa./Plymouth Whitemarsh) were fourth and fifth, respectively with times of 2:07.38 and 2:07.72 and the 400 freestyle relay team of Surkovich, Wohlers, Fitzpatrick, and Engler earned silver in a time of 3:30.55.
In the last race of the evening and 2008 America East Championships, the UMBC men's 400 freestyle relay of sophomore Matt Mattingly (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill West), sophomore Zach Vonder Haar (Gahanna, Ohio/Columbus Academy), junior Sven Schneider (Tallinn, Estonia/Tallinn German Gymnazium) and Bronson claimed the final gold medal for the Retrievers with a time of 3:04.78 to outdistance second-place Boston University by almost two full seconds.
Other finalists on the last day of competition included freshmen Rebecca Godwin (Catonsville, Md./Notre Dame Prep) and Cassie Dobrzanski (Maugansville, Md./North Hagerstown) who went two-three in the 1650 freestyle with times of 17:00.37 and 17:17.95, while freshman Mat Carson (Toronto, Ontario, Canada/Silverthorn Collegiate Academy) and senior Joey Sementelli (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) were fourth and fifth in the men's event in 16:11.15 and 16:17.41.
The only other finalists for the Retrievers were senior Rachel Lesslie (Kingston, Ontario, Canada/Holy Cross) and freshman Julie Cantwell (Sinking Spring, Pa./Wilson) who were fourth and seventh in the 200 backstroke with times of 2:08.68 and 2:10.93, and senior Scott Auchter (Wernersville, Pa./Wilson) finished sixth in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:07.76.
Special thanks to UMBC for contributing this report.