BUFFALO, New York, February 20. AFTER sitting atop the leader board for the past two days, the Massachusetts men and Fordham women finished off championship performances to claim titles at the Atlantic 10 Men’s & Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships on Saturday evening at the Flickinger Center.
Fordham knocked off eight-time defending champion Richmond for their first ever swimming A-10 Championship and their first ever women’s championship in any sport. Massachusetts won its fourth straight championship and the ninth out of the last ten years. Massachusetts finished with a total of 814.5 points and Fordham garnered 676 points.
In the long distance 1650-yard freestyle, sophomore Emily Heath of La Salle won with a time of 16:48.62 while Minutemen sophomore Joey Sbordon claimed gold in the longest event, touching in at 15:49.59.
Next up in the 200-yard backstroke, junior Nicole LePere of Richmond broke her own conference record (1:58.00) that she set last year by swimming a 1:57.93. The Massachusetts men added to their lead by sweeping the podium. Senior Andrew Willbrant claimed gold with a time of 1:48.63 followed by Max Butler (1:49.47) and rounding out the sweep was Kyle Jennings touching in at 1:49.51.
The 100-yard freestyle saw Richmond sophomore Charlott Brackett win gold with a time of 50.82, shaving .13 seconds off of her preliminary time. On the men’s side, junior Edward LeBlanc of Duquesne broke the conference record this morning in the prelims by swimming a 44.48. In the finals, he tied his own record while grabbing another gold medal.
In the 200-yard breaststroke, La Salle senior Shannon Duval finished off her career by grabbing gold with a time of 2:17.35. St. Bonaventure junior Mariusz Michalik won the men’s event for the fourth straight year (2:01.91).
On the women’s three-meter boards, St. Louis senior Anna Larson won gold with a score of 268.95.
Richmond women and Duquesne men ended the night on a high note with gold medals in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The Spider team of Brackett, freshman Lauren Hines, Natalie Lewis, and senior Katie Sieben won in a time of 3:23.35 while the Dukes group of senior LeBlanc, senior Brandan Schilling, junior Jim O’Hara, and sophomore Roman Becick touched in 3:00.67, breaking the 16 year conference record by .15 seconds.
St. Bonaventure finished with 531.5 points for second with Duquesne, in their final A-10 Championship appearance, placed third with 496 points. Rounding out the rest of the field were Fordham (475.5), La Salle (382.5), Xavier (236), St. Louis (198) and George Washington (159.5).
On the women’s side, Richmond claimed second with 596 points followed by third place Massachuettes 428. The Minutemen were followed by the Dukes (413.), La Salle (382.5), St. Bonaventure (293), Rhode Island (255) Xavier (236), St. Louis (198) and George Washington (159.5).
Women’s Most Outstanding Performer: Lillian Faulkner, Rhode Island
Women’s Most Outstanding Rookie: Lauren Hines, Richmond
Women’s Most Outstanding Diver: Hannah Swift, UMass and Anna Larson, St. Louis
Women’s Coach of the Year: Steve Potsklan, Fordham
Women’s Diving Coach of the Year: Mandy Hixon, UMass
Men’s Most Outstanding Performer: Edward LaBlanc, Duquesne
Men’s Most Outstanding Rookie: Tom Laurie, La Salle
Men’s Most Outstanding Diver: Jason Cook, UMass
Men’s Coach of the Year: Russ Yarworth, UMass
Men’s Diving Coach of the Year: Mandy Hixon, UMass
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