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The Blue & Gray Press | February 20, 2018

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Swim Teams Take CAC Crowns

This past weekend, both the men’s and women’s swims team crushed the competition and solidified their spots as Capital Athletic Conference champions.

The women won their 20th consecutive championship in the 20-year history of the conference, wearing t-shirts displaying an “XX ‘We’re Dirty’” on the back. They earned 926.5 points; beating second place St. Mary’s College by 298 points.

The men won their 16th conference championship, out swimming York College by 320 points, and making it their 10th consecutive win since the beginning of the conference back in 1990.

In addition to two team trophies, Coach Matt Sellman won both the Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year award and is the first coach to win both awards in the same season by a peer vote.

Since the conference has been established, the women have won 163 dual meets against CAC competitors, not including their 20 CAC championships. The men have won 140 dual meets, not including their 16 CAC championships.

The roughly three feet of snow that blanketed UMW’s campus had an almost positive effect on the team leading up to their conference meet.

“The school cancellations gave flexibility,” Coach Sellman said. “[It allowed the swimmers to] sleep in, [and] helped the taper take effect quicker.”

Even though the morning preliminary swims for Friday were cancelled and the team had their first swims at the timed final that night, it seems to have had no impact on the outcome.

Juniors Sarah Crockett and Stephen Clendenin both won the Swimmer of the Year award. Both had previously won the CAC Rookie of the Year award in 2008, and it was Clendenin’s second time as Swimmer of the Year.

This year’s Rookie of the Year award went to freshman Nick Eckoff, who is the eighth swimmer from UMW to win the award.

Crockett won a NCAA “A” cut time for her 1650 freestyle with a time of 17:38.99. According to Coach Sellman, an “A” cut is an automatic invitation to Nationals, which only five or six swimmers get per event annually. All other swimmers who received “provisional cuts” received “B” times, meaning they have an invitation but won’t know if it is solidified until after all of the conference meets are completed, which can take up to two weeks.

Coach Sellman hopes to bring two men, Clendenin and Eckoff, as well as up to nine women including Crockett, junior Adriana Lesiuk, sophomore Megan DeSmit, freshman Cameron Figures, and junior Nina Sawyer to Nationals in Minnesota in March.

According to Sellman, Eckoff’s meet was “one of the most impressive” he has seen, with three NCAA qualifying times in addition to breaking six freshman records. Lesiuk was a “major catalyst” to the team’s success, Sellman said.

Until the results are available, all potential National swimmers continue to train, waiting in anticipation, while the rest of the team continue to be “studious student athletes,” Coach Sellman said.

“It has been a long-time goal of ours to get some relays to Nationals,” Lesiuk said, who has a provisional time for the 100 freestyle. Clendenin, he is “pretty confident that my qualifying times are good enough,” and is hoping that teammate Eckoff, as well as the men’s 800 freestyle relays, get invited as well.