By ELIZA MAY
Over the weekend, the University of Mary Washington swim teams, coached by Abby Brethauer, captured the titles of Capital Athletic Conference champions. The undefeated women’s team, going 9-0 during the regular season, clinched the title for the 26th year in a row.
They are the only program in any sport in the CAC to win every conference title since the formation of the Capital Athletic Conference in 1990-91. After going 7-1 during the regular season, the men’s team also came out on top, continuing their 16-year winning streak. This was their 22nd overall conference title.
Head coach Abby Brethauer was named as the CAC Women’s and Men’s Coach of the Year, while junior Anna Corley was named as CAC Swimmer of the Year and freshman Ricardo Bonilla-Vazquez was named the league Rookie of the Year.
The 2016 Capital Athletic Conference swimming championship took place at Saint Mary’s College of Maryland. In addition to UMW, the schools competing for the conference titles were, Saint Mary’s College of Maryland, Salisbury University, Frostburg State University, Marymount University and York College of Pennsylvania.
The women’s team came out on top after the first day, winning every race while breaking countless records and qualifying for the NCAA Championship in four events. Katie Fago, Shannon Coryell, Hannah Hagy and Steph Hallock started the day on a high note in the 200 free relay, crushing the existing school, conference and meet records by more than 4 seconds, swimming to a time of 1:34.71. Corley broke a few records of her own while qualifying for the NCAA Championship in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:04.00, more than a second faster than the conference and meet record. Hallock won the 50-yard freestyle at 23.92 in the finals after breaking the meet record in the prelims at 23.68. The day ended with the 400 medley relay of Fago, Corley, Hagy and Hallock breaking the conference and meet record with a time of 3:50.42.
On Saturday, Fago, Corley, Hagy and Hallock continued to break conference and meet records, winning the 200-yard medley relay in 1:45.37. Hallock and Corley closed the night, alongside Michaela Miller and Ashley Walnut, in the 800-yard free relay, winning with a time of 7:41.59, while breaking the meet and conference record.
The UMW women’s team finished out the successful weekend on Sunday, coming in first in the mile, 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke, 200- yard butterfly and the 400 free relay. The women finished with 916 points, followed by York with 457 points and Salisbury coming in third with 439 points.
The men’s team ended the first day on top, winning four of five races. Dallas Tarkenton, Matthew Garstka, Ricardo Bonilla-Vazquez and Vance Solseth won the 200 free relay while breaking the conference and meet records, with a time of 1:24.74. Tyler Gimple won the 500-yard freestyle, swimming in 4:34.81, a new meet record and provisional qualifying time for NCAA Championship.
Tarkenton won the 200-yard IM, with a time of 1:51.88, tying the meet record and qualifying provisionally for NCAA Championship. The evening ended with the 400 medley relay where Sean Mayer, Huber-Wilker, Tarkenton and Bonilla-Vazquez crushed the conference record by more than six seconds, with a time of 3:23.49, one of the best times in the nation this year.
On Saturday, the men started the day off right with a win in the 200-yard medley relay. They also won the 400 IM, where Matt Martinez won with a time of 4:08.92, almost 12 seconds better than his preliminary time. Tarkenton won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 48.68, a conference and meet record.
The close out the weekend on the Sunday and clinch the conference title, the men won the mile, 100-yard butterfly and the 400-yard freestyle. The men finished with 949 points, followed by Salisbury with 491 points and Saint Mary’s College coming in third with 469 points.
Next up for the qualifying swimmers will be the NCAA Division III Championships on Wednesday, March 16.