By CARTER WALLER
Since joining the Capital Athletic Championship a quarter century ago, the University of Mary Washington women’s swimming team has won every CAC swimming title. Under the leadership of CAC Coach of the Year Abby Brethauer, the women’s team finished yet another championship season after dominating the competition on Feb. 22 in St. Mary’s City, Maryland.
The team received a first-place finish in every event but two, the 100 and 200 breaststroke, where junior Alex Parrish finished second in both events.
A sweep of the individual awards highlighted the women’s team’s successful season, with junior Stephanie Hallock garnering CAC Swimmer of the Year honors and freshman Megan Murphy receiving Rookie of the Year, as well as Brethauer’s Coach of the Year award.
“It’s a big honor,” said Murphy. “I worked hard all year, and it felt great to see it pay off. I’m very lucky to have a great coach and team.”
The women’s swimming team started off strong with a first-place finish by senior Maddie Carinci and third-place finish by sophomore Kris Currie in the mile, finishing in 17:57.74 and 18:14.46, respectively.
“It was really exciting [to win], especially because I came in second last year. I felt like all of the hard work we put into the season really paid off last weekend,” said Carinci.
Sophomore Anna Corley won two individual events over the weekend in the 200 individual medley and 200 backstroke after placing second in both events last year as a freshman.
The 800 freestyle relay team, consisting of Murphy, Corley, senior Robin Brazier and junior Abby Cox all finished first in the event and nearly qualified for the NCAA Division III Swimming Championship, but fell just short. To qualify for Nationals, individual swimmers and relay teams must place in the top-16 nationally, but the team finished 17th and barely missed the cut.
“Our relay was 0.3 seconds from placing for Nationals this year and it’s something we really want to do next season,” said Murphy.
No individual swimmers or relay teams on the women’s team earned an invitation to Nationals, but there were a few swimmers that earned an NCAA B Cut, which is similar to a waiting list, according to Brazier.
“We really wanted to make it to Nationals,” said Brazier. “As a relay team, we are all close to each other and Nationals was a clear goal for us this year. We constantly emphasized going to Nationals throughout the season. If we wanted to get somewhere, we needed higher aspirations. It made us closer as a team, and I am so proud of the work we accomplished.”
Junior Katie Fago earned five different first-place finishes over the weekend, as she won the 100 backstroke individually and the 200 freestyle, 400 freestyle, 200 medley and 400 medley as part of the relay.
According to Fago, three of her relay teams missed the cut for Nationals by only a few position places.
“We performed really well so it’s unfortunate that we missed out. We finished 18th 20th and 22th so it really makes us to want to go out and make it next year,” said Fago.
Earning 25 consecutive championship titles is no small feat, and according to Corley, Brethauer announced after the CAC Swimming Championships concluded that the women’s swimming team is the first sports team in conference history to win this many titles in a row.
“It’s cool that the 25th anniversary was this year. It makes it a very special thing to be a part of,” said Brazier.
According to Brethauer, it was not just the swimming results that defined another successful season. Academically, the women’s team had the highest GPA in the department.
“When I look at the season as a whole I would say that the team exceeded the expectations that I had for them both academically and athletically and that is something of which I am incredibly proud,” said Brethauer.