The 2017 Big East men’s and women’s Swimming and Diving Championships take place February 22-25 at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow, New York.
Five men’s teams and six women’s teams compete in the Big East Swimming and Diving Conference. Last year, the Villanova women won the meet while the Xavier men took home the team title.
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Although the Big East is one of the smaller Division I conferences, fast times are posted in what’s described as an electric, fast, and intense championship meet.
“Even though our conference is on the smaller side, the atmosphere is still great,” said Caitlin Daday, a junior at Villanova. “Each year every team continues to step up even more and I think that is something special about the Big East.”
The meet has consistently gotten faster over the years and more fast swimming will certainly ensue this weekend.
“As a senior in the Big East, it has been amazing to see this conference transform over the past four years,” described Georgetown’s Evan Grey. “Today, we see a conference that’s very competitive and starting to push our top swimmers into NCAAs; a very exciting feat.”
The Big East conference has tremendous depth. The Wildcat women are the top seed—and heavy favorites to grab their fourth-consecutive Big East title—in all five relays and boast the majority of the fastest seed times in the women’s meet.
Villanova sophomores Alexa Fabbri and Darby Goodwin are each the top seed in three events and Georgetown junior Molly Fitzpatrick, who has dominated both breaststroke events this season, will aim to defend her title in the 200.
On the men’s side, look for competitive and fast relays from all five competing teams. Seton Hall’s Lior Grubert will look to repeat as champion in both individual medleys while his teammate Noah Yanchulis, last year’s Most Outstanding Male Swimmer, will look to solidify his spot as the conference’s best middle-distance swimmer.
Just as there’s some fast swimming in the pool, there are also great performances on the diving boards. The scores the divers are entered with are extremely close to each other which is sure to make for some exciting action.
Providence senior Sarah Burrous notes how she has become friends with divers from other Big East schools, speaking to the competitive yet inclusive atmosphere the Big East Conference creates.
“It’s exciting to get to know the other divers and cheer them on during the competition even when they aren’t on the same team as you,” Burrous said.
While this meet is exciting for spectators, coaches and athletes alike, it’s sentimental for the conference’s seniors.
“From a personal standpoint, I know it’s cliché to say, but it’s hard to believe this is my last meet and championship,” Grey said. “It’s the last one, a bittersweet but exciting realization to come to after spending 15 years in the sport.”
The Big East seniors have watched the conference grow and change over their four years as student-athletes. The conference has—and will continue to—break out onto the national stage and they’ll forever be part of its legacy.
“Since the conference is also well known, it is cool to say that I have been a part of it for four years,” said Katie Ainley, a senior swimmer for Providence. “College swimming has been such a great experience and knowing that it is coming to an end is sad but I am excited to compete and swim fast one last time.”