By Caitlin Daday.
The Atlantic 10 swimming championships returns this year to the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Beginning Wednesday night, the Richmond women and George Washington men will seek to defend their titles from last year. The Richmond women have won the conference title every year since 2011, while last year the George Washington men upset the University of Massachusetts.
While this year’s championships will be exciting throughout, here are five specific races to watch:
1. Men’s 4×50 Medley Relay
The first night of competition looks to be an exciting one, highlighted by the men’s 4×50 medley relay. The top four seeds–St. Louis, Massachusetts, La Salle, and Fordham–are all seeded within less than a second of each other. Of these teams, last year only Massachusetts finished in the top three. They came in third place, while the George Washington men won, setting the conference and meet records with a time of 1:27.53. This year they are seeded fourth. So, this relay looks to be just about anyone’s race.
2. Women’s 500 Freestyle
With the graduation of Davidson standout Elise Lankiewicz, the women’s 500 freestyle is wide open. Duquesne sophomore Summer Svitavsky holds the top seed with her time of 4:57.14. Last year, she finished in eighth place. She’s followed closely by two freshman, Kelly Malyszka (Massachusetts) and Kate Magill (Fordham), who will both stand to challenge Svitavsky. The fourth, fifth, and sixth seeds–Mina Glenesk (St. Louis), Carson Gross (Duquesne), and Lauren Devorace (Duquesne)–all finished higher than Svitavsky at last year’s meet. Finally, Richmond senior Annie Lane is only seeded with a 5:04.02 for 17th, but she finished second last year with a 4:49.
3. Men’s 200 Freestyle
In the men’s 200 freestyle, St. Louis senior Ryan McCoy is currently seeded first by over three seconds. Though he opted not to swim the event last year, McCoy holds the conference and meet records from 2016 with a time of 1:35.99, about a second faster than his fastest time this year. Should McCoy choose to swim it (he is also seeded first in the 100 fly), it should be exciting. Regardless, the race behind him will be exciting as well. Moritz Fath, Clay Resweber, Maximilian Forstenhaeusler, and Aleksandar Nikolic are all entered with times between 1:40.03 and 1:40.72. All four men finished in the top six of last year’s final, with Fath winning in a time of 1:37.35.
4. Women’s 100 Breaststroke
The women’s 100 breaststroke is another event where last year’s champion graduated, leaving the field open. Last year’s second place finisher, Ansley Baker of Massachusetts, returns and is seeded fifth this year with a 1:04.39, well off her time from last year of 1:01.84. Rhode Island’s Nicole Petta, who was third last year, comes in seeded sixth just behind Baker in 1:04.53. Likewise, she is also off her time from last year of 1:02.16. Both Baker and Petta are definitely contenders to take the race this year. Additionally, Gerle Kerecsen, a freshman from St. Bonaventure, leads the season thus far with a time of 1:03.60. George Mason’s Amy Tansill and Duquesne’s Abby Stauffer have also been 1:03.61 and 1:03.67, respectively. As such, the race looks to be an exciting and close one.
5. Men’s 200 Backstroke
In the men’s 200 backstroke, La Salle senior Fabian Bergman appears to be the clear favorite. He is currently seeded first by three and a half seconds with a time of 1:44.01. Bergman finished second last year at these championships with a time of 1:43.25. But, last year’s champion and conference and meet record holder, Gustav Hokfelt of George Washington, returns to compete as well. He is only seeded 20th in 1:53.76, which is over 11 seconds slower than his winning time last year. Should Hokfelt return to his form from last year, the men’s 200 back will be a tight race between him and Bergman.
Live results and psych sheets can be found here.