2016 Patriot League Championship Preview

Photo Courtesy: Navy Athletics

By Chandler Brandes, Swimming World College Intern

The 2016 Patriot League Championships will be held Feb. 17-20 at Navy in Maryland. The Navy women will look to win their fifth-consesecutive Patriot League title, while the Navy men will aim for their 13th-consecutive.

Women’s Meet

Bucknell’s Emma Levendoski holds the top spots in the league for both the 100 and 200 backstrokes. In 2015, Levendoski won both events, and will aim to rewrite both her League and Meet records.

Boston’s Lizzie Tillo won the 3m last year and was recognized as the Women’s Diver of the Meet, but will face tough competition once again from Navy’s Amanda Zerphy and Julie Jesse.

Navy won all five relay events last year, and their depth in each event will make them hard to beat. Navy currently holds five of the top six times in the conference in the 200 free, and their League and Meet record in the 800 free relay set in 2015 could be broken on the first night of competition.

Freshman Lauren Barber will add further depth for Navy, as she has seen success this season in both the 200 IM and 400 IM, and has already achieved an NCAA B cut in the 200 breast. Rookie Julimar Avila has also had a strong start to her freshman season, and will be crucial to Boston’s relays.

Men’s Meet

Navy’s depth in the distance events, led by Thomas Duvall and Noah Martin, is impressive, but Bucknell’s Louis Behnen and Army’s Thomas Ottman have also been looking strong this season.

Navy’s Nate Belch swept both the 1m and 3m diving events in 2015 as a freshman en route to being named the Men’s Diver of the Meet, and will aim for both titles again.

Bucknell’s Chris Devlin was the Men’s Rookie of the Meet in 2015, and has had success this season in both backstroke and IM events. Army’s Chris Szekely won both the 50 and 100 free last year and holds the top times in the league for those events so far this year.

Navy won all but one relay in 2015, and, like their women’s team, their depth in each event will be hard to match. Navy currently holds six of the top seven times in the league in the 200 free, setting themselves up well to break their own 800 free relay set last year.

Full psych sheet: 2016 Patriot League Psych Sheets – Results