By Chandler Brandes.
The 2018 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) men’s and women’s Swimming and Diving Championships will be held Feb. 14-17 at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center in Christiansburg, Va.
The William and Mary women will be aiming for their third-consecutive CAA title while the Tribe men are vying to be crowned champion for the fourth straight year.
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William and Mary’s Megan Bull is looking to make a big splash at her first CAA Championships. Although currently entered above the maximum number events, the rookie is seeded in the top three in five different races, including the No. 1 seed in the women’s 500 free.
Devin McNulty, the top seed in the men’s 100 breast, enters his first college conference meet one full second faster than his lifetime best before joining the William and Mary program. Already achieving the NCAA B standard, he’ll be shooting for the CAA record in the event set back in 2012.
Sprinting to the Top
Northeastern sophomore Megan Clark is the top seed in the women’s 50, 100 and 200 free, already achieving the NCAA B standard in the two shorter distances. Her times swum so far this season are significantly faster than where she was last year at this meet and she will be instrumental to the Huskies’ relays.
The men of William and Mary are the top seed in four of the five relays. In the men’s 4×50 free relay, they are over one second faster than the second seed—no surprise considering three of the top four individual 50 freestyle times belong to members of the Tribe. Expect some fast relay times, and fast splits, from all of their relays.
Keep on eye on Towson’s Jack Saunderson. The junior is back—and faster—after a breakout 2017 season where he set new CAA records in both the men’s 100 and 200 butterfly. Last year’s CAA Swimmer of the Year, Saunderson went on to finish 16th in the 200 fly at the NCAA Championships, earning All-American honors. As the top seed in his signature events, Saunderson has already inched closer to his records—and the NCAA A standard—this season.
Abby Mack will look to sweep both butterfly events in her last college conference meet. As a junior, she dominated the women’s 200 fly and took a close second in the 100 fly. This season, the William and Mary senior will aim to repeat as champion and add another gold in the shorter distance, but will be challenged by fellow senior Sara Touchette-McGowan of Northeastern.
Sophomore Alexa Kutch is the clear favorite to sweep both backstroke titles for the second-consecutive year. Kutch broke the conference record in the women’s 100 back in her rookie campaign back in 2017 and has already broken the CAA all-time record this past November as the leadoff of the Dragons’ relay at the Patriot Invitational. At AT&T Winter Nationals two months ago, Kutch set a new CAA mark in the longer backstroke distance as well.
As a freshman in 2017, Drexel’s Jason Arthur won the men’s 200 back and the 200 IM, setting a new CAA record in the latter. Now returning as a sophomore, Arthur is the top seed in both the 100 and 200 back as well as the 200 IM. While Arthur will be eyeing back-to-back titles, he’ll face tough competition in William and Mary’s Bradley, who’s seeded second in both backstroke events.