PROVIDENCE, R.I., Feb. 19. THE University of Pittsburgh men and the University of Notre Dame women are set to defend their titles at the 2002 BIG EAST
Swimming and Diving Championships. The event will be held at Nassau County Aquatics Center in Uniondale, N.Y. on February 21-23. The Panther men and the Notre Dame women are each in the hunt for their sixth consecutive title.
Pittsburgh's men, currently ranked 17th in the CSCAA poll (Jan. 31), are led by 2001 BIG EAST champions Eric Limkemann (1,650 freestyle) and Randy Gertenbach (200 breaststroke). A Panther holds the top time in the BIG EAST in 11 of the 18 swimming events, including four of five relays. Returning BIG EAST Outstanding Swimmer Mike Grube missed the fall
with a knee injury, but returned to post the best time in the league in the 100 freestyle (44.64).
Boston College finished the regular season on a five-meet win streak. Junior captains Matthias Schildwacther and Matthew Baker lead a young squad which includes 14 freshmen.
Junior Marshal Livingstone has recorded 14 individual first-place finishes for Connecticut this year.
Sophomore diver Michael Kizer of Georgetown holds the top score in the league in the 1-meter, breaking Miami's stronghold on the diving events.
Three Hurricane divers – senior Imre Lengyel, 2001 BIG EAST Outstanding Diver Kyle Prandi and freshman Miguel Velazquez – hold the top three scores in the conference in both the 3-meter and the platform.
Notre Dame holds top-five times in each of the five relays, while Rutgers gave Pittsburgh its toughest test in dual meet competition, falling to the Panthers 152-148.
Returning for St. John's are senior Danilo Perunovic in the 100 breaststroke and sophomore Michal Szapiel in the 500 freestyle, both defending BIG EAST champions.
Seton Hall matched the school record for team victories in a season with seven.
Seven-time BIG EAST champion Djordje Filipovic of Syracuse has been held back by injuries this year, but does hold the Orangemen's fastest time in four events.
Juniors Pete Klimas and Adam Walchak lead a young Villanova squad, which features only two seniors on its roster.
Virginia Tech's Rob Duffy holds the league's best time in both the 200 butterfly (1:48.25) and the 200 individual medley (1:50.62).
West Virginia's Kleyton Franca is coming off a season in which he has tasted victory 18 times.
The Notre Dame women are ranked 13th nationally in the latest CSCAA poll (Jan. 31) and have a majority of last year's BIG EAST champion squad retuning. The Irish are led by seniors Carrie Nixon, the league's
leading performer in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly, and Kelly Hecking, who owns the top time in the 100 and 200 backstroke. Hecking won both events at last year's championship.
Boston College is led by seniors Brianne Sullivan, Lauren Schwartz and Alexis Kostopoulos, while Connecticut has benefited from nine first-place
finishes by junior Kate Larson in the 100 and 200 breaststroke.
Georgetown has compiled an 8-1 record this season, highlighted by two school records by Michelle Herd in the 100 and 200 backstroke.
Miami returns two All-American divers in senior Michelle Davison and junior Katie Beth Bryant, but teammates Christine Williams and Melanie Rinaldi hold the top marks in the league in the 1 and 3-meter events, respectively.
Pittsburgh holds the top times in the BIG EAST in both the 200 free and 200 medley relays.
Junior Erin McIntyre of Rutgers has won at least one event in each of the Scarlet Knights' meets this season and holds the league's top time in the 1,650 freestyle.
Seniors Kristy Beal and Carolyn Goeppel lead a young St. John's squad, while Seton Hall has missed the presence of senior co-captain Maran Lougheed, who has sat out much of the season due to illness.
Syracuse sophomore Elyse McDonough has set two school records this season in the 200 IM and the 400 IM and teammate Annie Tudryn holds the best time in the conference in the 200 breaststroke.
Villanova's Maddy Crippen, a two-time BIG EAST Outstanding Swimmer, has already qualified for the NCAA Championship in the 400 IM with the top time in the league (4:13.60).
In Virginia Tech's first year in the BIG EAST, the Hokies placed second at the 2001 championship. Heading into this year's BIG EAST Championship, VT
has won its last five dual meets.
West Virginia sophomore Devlyn Quinn has recorded 15 individual victories this year.
For the second year in a row, league swimmers and divers had to meet qualifying standards in order to compete in the BIG EAST Swimming & Diving Championships. Providence failed to qualify any swimmers or divers to the meet.