Empire 8 Championships

SYRACUSE, New York, February 20. THE Ithaca women's swimming & diving team won its 11th consecutive Empire 8 title and third straight Upper New York State Collegiate Swimming Association championship Saturday at Nottingham High School in Syracuse. Ithaca finished with 1,403 points, 97 more than the second-place team.

Junior Sheila Rhoades (Dryden/Dryden) highlighted Ithaca's third day of competition by winning the 100-yard freestyle in 50.91 seconds, which met the NCAA A Qualifying Standard and was just seven-hundredths slower than the school record she established in 2009.

Sophomore Missy Keesler (Union-Endicott/Endicott) set a school record and finished second in the finals of the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:04.68. That time met the NCAA B Qualifying Standard and was 59-hundredths faster than the school record she established at the same meet last year.

Ithaca's divers added valuable points in the finals of the 3-meter event and also met the NCAA qualifying score. Sophomore Jodi Costello (Framingham/Framingham, Mass.) was second with a total of 429.95 and senior Naomi Mark (Dansville/Dansville) was third with a score of 423.35. Both scores are career-highs in that event for each diver.

Two Bombers hit NCAA provisional qualifying times in the 200-yard breaststroke. Freshman Carly Jones (Liverpool/Liverpool) finished second in the finals of the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:23.55 and freshman Madi Sherry (Orchard Park/Orchard Park) swam 2:25.68 in the preliminary heats to meet the B cut. Sherry finished sixth in the event finals in 2:26.89, followed by junior Becca Blazak (Quaker Valley/Sewickley, Pa.) in seventh with a time of 2:28.33.

Ithaca closed the meet by placing second in the 400-yard freestyle relay and met the NCAA B standard with a time of 3:33.69. The relay team was comprised of junior Maddie Kennedy (Head Royce/Alameda, Calif.), Jones, junior Joanna Ferreri (Niskayuna/Niskayuna) and Rhoades.

Three Bombers placed among the top-10 during the championship heats of the 1,650-yard freestyle, led by sophomore Kelly Murphy (Blake/Silver Spring, Md.) in second in 17:48.18. Senior Shannon Archer (Niskayuna/Scotia) was fourth in 17:55.74 and sophomore Simone McCarron (Bridgewater-Raritan/Bridgewater, N.J.) was ninth in 18:27.60.

Sophomore Cali DeSanto (Mexico/Mexico) was fifth in the finals of the 200-yard butterfly in 2:10.77.

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