NEW HAVEN, Connecticut, February 16. CENTRAL Connecticut claimed its first Northeast Conference Swimming and Diving Championship since 2001, winning six of seven events on the final of three days in Kiphuth Pool at Yale University. The Blue Devils won 18 of 20 events, totaling 649.5 points, and swept all the major awards. Senior Lindsey Snyder, who won three individual titles, was named the NEC Outstanding Swimmer of the Year, while junior Kate Sohon and sophomore Liz Wahlberg, who split the three-meter and one-meter diving titles, were awarded NEC Co-Outstanding Diver of Year honors. Freshman Alex Huffman was tabbed NEC Rookie of the Year, and Blue Devil coaches Bill Ball and Dave Maliar claimed the NEC Coach of the Year and NEC Diving Coach of the Year awards.
"It was a total team performance," Ball said. "All of their hard work throughout the season certainly paid off. This was our main goal this season, and winning 18 makes it even sweeter."
The former NEC record for events won, held by UMBC, was 14 in 1999.
In addition to Snyder's three wins, seniors Kristen Jurzynski and junior Erin Crowley each won three events, while senior Rachel Brookman won twice.
Jurzynski began the day with a record-setting performance in the 1,650 free. She broke the league and CCSU marks with a 16:56.34 effort. Sophomore Alex Huffman and junior Heather Vendetta added third and fifth place showings in the event. Huffman touched in 17:37.20, while Vendetta finished in 17;52.43. Snyder followed with a NEC record breaking effort in the 200 back. The Winterport, ME native went 2:01.43 to break a five-year-old record held by UMBC's Astrid Sperling by .79 seconds. Senior Maya Drew, meanwhile, placed sixth in the event.
Erin Crowley made it three straight on the evening for the Blue Devils. The junior won the 100 free in 52.40. Freshmen Alyssa Carlucci and Alyssa Reinhard then went 3-4 in the 200 breast, finishing in 2:32.61 and 2:33.54. It was Carlucci's second top-three finish in a breaststroke event. She finished second in the 100 breast yesterday.
Brookman regained CCSU's spot on the first place podium. The Rocky Hill, CT product won the 200 fly in 2:02.90. Freshman Megan McGorry and Vendetta placed fourth and sixth, respectively. McGorry touched in at 2:09.55, and Vendetta finished in 2:21.13.
Central Connecticut made it a clean sweep in diving. Junior Kate Sohon, who finished second in one-meter board action on Thursday, won the three-meter crown with a personal-best 196.80 points. Sophomore Liz Wahlberg, the one-meter champion, finished second with 196.35 points. Freshman Theresa Degan, meanwhile, placed fourth with 149.25 points.
"This is the hardest working team I've coached," Maliar said. "All the credit goes to the team. I wouldn't expect anything less from them."
The Blue Devils closed out the championship with a victory in the 400 free relay. Crowley, Brookman, Snyder and Jurzynski teamed for a 3:31.17 effort. Crowley swam the opening leg in 51.76, bettering her time in the earlier 100 free victory.
St. Francis (PA) edged Wagner for second place. The Red Flash had 457 points to Wagner's 436.5. Sacred Heart took fourth with 222 points. Mount St. Mary's and St. Francis (NY) rounded out the field with 132 points and 126 points.
With their victories, the senior trio of Snyder, Jurzynski and Brookman finished their Blue Devil careers with a combined 18 individual titles. Snyder's eight crowns rank third in CCSU history. Jurzynski finished with six, while Brookman had four.
"It is hard to replace one senior, let alone a group with this kind of history," Ball said.
Special thanks to Central Connecticut for contributing this report.