Villanova Diving Dominates At Big East Championships

Bridie Dunn Dives at Big East
Photo Courtesy: Erim Keaveny

By Erin Keaveny, Swimming World Contributor

The Big East Conference Championships took place at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow, New York from February 20 to 23, 2019. Villanova’s divers won all the diving events, contributing to the Villanova women’s sweep of every single individual event, and their sixth straight conference championship.

Junior Michael Perra won on one-meter and three-meter for the second year in a row. He was also named Most Outstanding Diver for a second straight year.

“Although I went into the meet knowing I did well last year, I always know that diving competition is tough and anything can happen so I needed to stay focus and work really hard,” said Perra. “Winning again was still so exciting and it felt great to know that another year of hard work payed off!”

On men’s one-meter, the first diving event of the meet, the Wildcat’s swept the podium. Headed into finals, Perra was in first, followed by teammate Michael Ackert in second, and Joe Swindal in fifth. In a thrilling final event, Swindal jumped from fifth place into third after his last dive.

“It was even more fun to be able to share my success with my teammates and having them right there on the podium next to me,” said Perra.

The men would continue to rack up points for their team on high board. Perra finished in first place, followed by Ackert in second, and Swindal in fourth.

“It just proved how continuous hard work and maintaining a positive team dynamic is what allows us to succeed, and have fun while we’re doing it,” said Ackert.

On the women’s side, Junior Bridie Dunn won gold on one-meter and three-meter, earning her the title of Most Outstanding Diver.

“For me persoanlly, it was such a great feeling after a terrible sophomore year,” said Dunn, reflecting on the broken foot that forced her out of the pool last year.

“I made a point to work my butt off this year, and its such a good feeling to see your goals through.”

Teammates Andrea Holz and Shannon Daine scored for their teams as well, taking seventh place on one-meter, and eighth place on three-meter, respectively.

“Training alongside out squad is the perfect balance of pushing each other to improve, but also not taking ourselves too seriously,” said Dunn.

That seems to be a top down attitude, stemming from their coach Todd Michael.

Michael was honored as the Men’s Diving Coach of the year at the meet.

Perra and Dunn will be moving on to the NCAA Zones meet in two weeks. For the rest of the divers, they will be enjoying some time off, and patiently awaiting the 2019-2020 season.

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