Eagles Swim Hard, Aim For Nationals
By Nick Jacobs
The University of Mary Washington’s swimming program was right where they wanted to be this weekend – in the pool and swimming fast.
On Friday both the men and women’s teams took on Marymount University in their final home meet of the season. The women swam consistently to come out on top, 110-70, while the men, making some mid-meet adjustments, also won, 110-76.
Head coach Matt Sellman was pleased with the effort.
“Marymount was tough and they gave us a good meet, especially with our guys,” Sellman said. “When the guys saw that we maybe needed to get a little more focused they were able to do that. They had some great swims.”
Sophomore Brian Donahue was especially important to that victory, swimming the 50 breast in 28.83.
“Brian came through big for us,” Sellman added. “He swam fast and defeated a really good guy. He pretty much sealed the deal for us.”
The Eagles were also in the pool on Saturday, swimming against Gettysburg College at Gettysburg. The men emerged victorious, 113-92, while the women fell, 110-95. Both teams are now 9-2 for the season and 5-0 in the Capital Athletic Conference.
While Friday’s match-up featured an array of shorter races, the meet at Gettysburg allowed the swimmers to work on their times right before the season comes to a close.
The women came out on top in the 400 yard medley relay (4:08.71), while senior Lorena de la Garza won the 200 butterfly (2:13.92) and junior Mikey Pride won the 200 breaststroke (2:31.43).
The men’s victories included those by senior Kennard Smith in the 50 freestyle (22.52) and the 400 yard freestyle relay team (3:22.65).
The Eagles continued to show off their raw talent on Saturday with several winners coming from the class of 2011. Freshman Michael Dickerson won in the 100 freestyle (50.64), freshman Ian McCormick in the 200 butterfly (2:02.98) and freshman Sarah Crockett continued her record-breaking season winning the 200 freestyle (1:57.94) and the 200 backstroke (2:12.98).
After winning all six of her races over the weekend, Crocket was named the CAC swimmer of the week.
Speaking after the match over Marymount, Sellman was looking forward to the match with Gettysburg and the rest of the season.
“Gettysburg is tough competition,” he said. “That will be a very good battle on both sides, men and women. After that, we will be really focused on conference…Hopefully we will be getting a couple more nationals cuts.”
Several swimmers have already been invited to compete in the NCAA National Tournament held in Ohio from March 14 through the 16 for women and March 21 through the 23 for men.
Senior Kennard Smith made the cut for the 50 freestyle (21.78) and freshman Stephen Clendenin also made the grade after setting a new CAC record in the 400 IM. Pride will represent UMW in the 200 breaststroke and Crockett will swim in the both the 500 and 200 freestyle events.
The women’s 800 free relay is also set to compete in Ohio. Seniors Abby Koch and Lorena de laGarza will pair up with sophomore Michelle Sawyer and Crockett to compete in what Sellman describes as one of the best relay teams he has ever seen.
The Eagles will finish their regular season on Saturday at Hood College and then head off to compete in the CAC Championships at St. Mary’s College. The women will be looking for their 18th consecutive CAC championship while the men will be competing for their 8th consecutive CAC victory. “I am very confident,” Sellman said. “The team is training really well and we are finishing up our hardest training and getting ready for taper. In the conference championships we will be ready to swim super fast.”