CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, February 17. THE Wingate University men's and women's swimming teams began the 2010 Blue Grass Mountain Conference Championships Wednesday night with solid swims in the distance events. For the fourth year in a row, the Bulldog swimming teams are hosting the BGMC championships at the Mecklenburg County Aquatics Center (MCAC) pool in downtown Charlotte.
Both teams find themselves on top of the leader board. The Wingate women have 78 points. Johns Hopkins University is second with 74 points. The two-time defending champion Bulldog men have 88 points. The JHU Blue Jays are second with 63 points. Thirteen teams scored points on both the men's side and the women's side Wednesday night.
Wingate touched first in the 1000 Freestyle for men and women. On the women's side, freshman Paige Schmidt (Clearwater, Fla.) started the evening in a big way with her victory in the 1000 Freestyle. She outdistanced the competition by more than eight seconds, grabbing the gold with a meet-record time of 10:20.46 (NCAA Division II "B" cut). Junior Kelsey Trabue (South Lyon, Mich.) also earned All-BGMC honors, placing sixth with a time of 10:37.21.
Bulldog freshman Cole Dutton (Surfside Beach, S.C.) matched Schmidt with his victory in the 1000 Freestyle for men. Dutton's triumphant time was 9:32.50. Senior teammate Gui Veiga (Vinton, Va.) was second with a time of 9:34.91. Senior All-American Kyle Corcoran (Kent, Wash.) was fourth with a time of 9:40.05. Dutton, Veiga and Corcoran recorded "B" cuts Wednesday.
Both Wingate 800 Freestyle Relay teams finished second Wednesday night. In the women's race, Schmidt joined junior Cheryl Vaccaro (Charlotte, N.C.), freshman Elly Speer (Sydney, Australia) and sophomore Malin Kersmark (Malin-Bjarred, Sweden) to place second at 7:45.39. The University of Tampa touched first at 7:42.17.
The Bulldog men entered Wednesday's 800 Freestyle Relay race already possessing an NCAA Division II "A" cut in the event. The Wingate quartet shaved almost four seconds off the earlier time with a 6:45.35 finish (also an "A" cut). Corcoran was joined in the event by senior classmates Mason Norman (Duluth, Ga.), Daniel De Francisco (Cali, Colombia) and Gus Chagas (Recife, Brazil). Johns Hopkins edged the Bulldogs with a winning time of 6:45.06.
Day two of the BGMC Championships is Thursday, with the preliminaries beginning at 10 a.m. The finals are slated to start at 6 p.m.
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