Emory Claims 18th-Straight UAA Conference Championship

Photo Courtesy: Emory Athletics

By Michael Grenon, Swimming World Contributor

The fourth and final day of the UAA championships offered plenty of fireworks, with both the Emory women’s and men’s teams successfully defending their conference titles for the 18th consecutive year.

To start off the session, the men’s 1-meter diving event saw Gabe Bamforth (Fr) of CMU avenge Case Western’s Connor Farrell (Sr), after Farrell edged him for first in the 3 meter event earlier. This time, Bamforth finished just 3 points ahead, 496.60 to 493.50. Rounding out third was Dean Boures (So) from Chicago with 449.85 points.

The women’s 1650 freestyle saw 5 women finish in the top 8. Rebecca Upton (So) of Emory followed her 500 freestyle victory on Thursday to finish just ahead of Wash U’s Nicole Zanolli (So) for the third time this meet. Upton finished in 16:52.71 to Zanolli’s 16:59.73. Upton’s teammate Shelby Frugé (So) stuck with Upton for most of the race, but couldn’t hold on, claiming third with a 17:08.99.

Luke Dobben (Sr) of Wash U led the men’s mile by a wide margin from an outside lane, leaving Emory’s Christian Baker (Jr) and Tom Gordon (Fr) to pace off each other in the middle of the pool. Just as Baker started falling off pace, Gordon started picking it up and slowly crept up to Dobben for the final 50 yards. The Emory rookie then blasted a 24.70 final split to Dobben’s 27.06 to overtake him for the win, 15:36.56 to 15:38.35. Baker was the only swimmer in the field under 16 minutes, finishing in 15:54.16 for third place.

Cindy Cheng (So) became the first UAA woman under 2:00 in the 200 yard backstroke. The Emory Eagle once again claimed the first UAA record of the evening, finishing in 1:59.46. The previous record of 2:00.75 belonged to Emory’s Sadie Nennig from 2012. Chicago’s Alison Wall (Jr) and Cheng’s teammate Ellie Thompson (Sr) also finished under the old record with times of 2:00.37 and 2:00.67, respectively.

Emory’s Jared Scheuer (Sr) wasn’t able to improve on his UAA record in the men’s 200 backstroke, but he did hold off Wash U’s Kevin Van Cleave (Fr) for the win, 1:49.38 to 1:49.54. Oliver Hudgins (So) from Case Western claimed third in 1:50.00.

Fiona Muir (Fr) of Emory claimed yet another UAA record in the women’s 100 freestyle final. Going out under 24 seconds, Muir brought it home to finish in 50.14. That took down Emory’s Ruth Westby‘s 2010 record of 50.55. Completing an Emory 1-2-3 sweep were Marcela Sanchez-Aizcorbe (Jr) in 51.25 and Meg Taylor (Fr) in 51.61.

Chicago senior Thomas Meek also captured a new conference mark with his 44.69 in the men’s 100 freestyle. The old record of 44.78 was set in 2009 by NYU’s Andrew Lardiere. Meek’s Chicago teammate Alexander Farrell (Fr) claimed silver in 45.12, with Emory’s Trey Kolleck (Fr) also earning All-UAA honors with a 45.36.

Elizabeth Aronoff claimed the 5th UAA record of the night, following her 100 breaststroke win from yesterday with a third career UAA victory in the 200 breaststroke in 2:15.67. That broke her 2014 record of 2:16.58. Ashley Daniels (Fr) made it a 1-2 Emory finish with her 2:18.95, and Sophie Gan (Sr) from Wash U rounded out the top three in 2:19.61.

Wash U Junior Michael Lagieski also completed his domination of the breaststroke events with a 2:01.68 final time. After a scratch from this morning, Timothy Kou (So) from NYU managed to get reseeded into the championship final and claim silver from the outside lane in 2:02.38. Chicago senior Taylor James finished in 2:04.29 to win a tight battle for third.

In the final individual event of the meet, Amanda Stadermann (Sr) from Wash U had a huge swim to cap off her UAA career. Although just shy of the conference record, her 2:01.54 was over three seconds ahead of the rest of the field. 100 butterfly champion Megan Campbell (So) of Emory claimed second with a 2:05.00, ahead of CMU sophomore Mary St. John‘s third place time of 2:05.49.

Wash U rookie Brandon Lum also had a big swim to win in the men’s 200 butterfly. He was the only competitor under 1:50, finishing in 1:48.99. His swim broke the UAA record of 1:49.54 set by Emory’s Miller Douglas in 2012. A pair of NYU men finished after him: Daniel Tay (Jr) in 1:50.46 and Sean Haechler (So) in 1:51.11.

The Emory women brought the fireworks to the final relay of the meet. They had 4 of the 6 total 50-second splits in the 400 freestyle relay to claim first by a wide margin and crush the old UAA record of 3:24.87 set by Emory last year. Fiona Muir, Meg Taylor, Cindy Cheng, and Marcela Sanchez-Aizcorbe combined for a 3:22.71. Chicago’s quartet claimed second in 3:26.45, just ahead of Wash U’s 3:26.84 for third.

The true race in the men’s 400 freestyle relay was for second place, as Chicago’s team of Alexander Farrell, Thomas Meek, Keenan Novis (Fr), and Matthew Veldman (Sr) combined for a 45.32, including a 43-second split from newly-crowned 100 freestyle champion Meek. Wash U’s Ross Brown (So) had the second-fastest split in the field (44.74) to help his team win the battle for second, leading to a 3:02.06 final time. Emory, having already clinched the men’s team title, was just behind, earning the bronze in 3:02.35.

Final Team Standings

1Emory University1595.51Emory University2015
2Washington University14442Washington University1329.5
3New York University1305.53University of Chicago1319
4University of Chicago12974New York University1298
5Carnegie Mellon University9695Carnegie Mellon University1041
6Case Western Reserve University8636University of Rochester673.5
7University of Rochester6897Case Western Reserve University630
8Brandeis University3108Brandeis University331

The women’s race, behind runaway champions Emory, was extremely close between second and fourth places among Wash U, Chicago, and NYU. With the big victory, the Emory women claimed their 18th consecutive UAA title, and will look to take their 7th consecutive NCAA title next month in March.

The Emory men also captured their 18th-straight conference crown, and will look to improve their 4th place NCAA finish from last year. After nearly edging out Emory for the previous two years, Chicago placed fourth, letting NYU get the best of them in a close point total. NYU had their best UAA finish since 2008 when they also claimed third place. Wash U had their best team showing since 2003, when they previously captured second place.

Award Winners

Swimmer of the YearThomas Meek (Sr - Chicago)Cindy Cheng (So - Emory)
Rookie of the YearBrandon Lum (Wash U)Fiona Muir (Emory)
Diver of the YearConnor Farrell (Case Western Reserve)Anna Girlich (Chicago)
Coaching Staff of the YearWashing University in St. LouisEmory University
Diving Coaching Staff of the YearCarnegie Mellon UniversityUniversity of Chicago
Team ChampionsEmory University - 1595.5 pointsEmory University - 2015 points

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