FAIRFAX, Va. Feb. 22. A LATE winter blizzard hit northern Virginia around mid-morning, but the action in the pool at the George Mason Aquatic and Fitness Center was smokin' as the 2001 CAA Swimming and Diving Championships got underway.
The James Madison men and women both took over first place at the end of the first day's competition with 231 points and 273 points, respectively. JMU's swimming program is under assault by the university's Athletic Director, who wants to kill it.
William & Mary is second on the men's side (195), and UNC Wilmington (171) sits in third. Old Dominion (155), George Mason (118) and Davidson (93) round out the field.
On the women's side, Old Dominion (188) is second, and William & Mary (123) occupies the third spot. George Mason (116), UNC Wilmington (108) and Davidson (92) are chasing the leaders.
John McLaren led the Madison men, taking home the title in the 50 freestyle (20.06). The junior set a CAA meet record and recorded the conference's all-time top time in the event with a 19.97 in the morning session. The time also met the NCAA *B* qualifying standard.
The Duke men took second in the 200 free relay (1:21.56) and the 400 medley relay (3:21.69).
The American men had an excellent day in the pool, taking first and second in the 500 free and 200 individual medley in addition to setting a CAA meet record and top performance with a 3:18.89 in the 400 medley relay.
Ethan Bassett won the 500 free (4:29.85), and Frank Byskov, last year's Men's Swimmer of the Year, placed second (4:29.98). Dominick Szabo won the 200 IM (1:49.91), and Mark Liscinsky, last year's Men's Rookie Swimmer of the Year, was second (1:50.21). Both swimmers met the NCAA *B* qualifying standard. Szabo, a freshman, also set a CAA meet record and top performance with a time of 1:49.80 in the 200 IM prelims.
The UNCW men took first and set a meet record and CAA top performance in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:21.50. Seahawk swimmers Dan Gallagher (20.42) and Brett Walker (20.56) took second and third in the 50 free. Junior Will Humphries won the one-meter diving (254.30), while Mason divers Tim Fisher (246.80) and Kyle Troop (228.05) finished second and third, respectively.
The James Madison women took second in both relays, and junior A.C. Cruickshanks placed second in the 500 free (5:01.13). Senior Meghan Fenn was fourth in the 200 IM (2:06.77), and senior Julie Lestyan finished second in the 50 free (24.19).
Old Dominion's Jamie D'Agostino, last year's Women's Rookie Swimmer of the Year, won the 500 free (4:56.72), and teammate Kara Fichthorn won the 200 IM (2:05.90). The Monarchs' Ashley Kirchner, last year's Rookie Diver of the Year, won one on the three-meter board (459.70), while Mason freshman Jamie Downing placed second (414.70).
Junior Kerrie Finneran, of William & Mary, won the 50 free (24.15). The Richmond women took first in the 200 free relay (1:36.90), and American won the 400 medley relay (3:52.32).