Feb. 16, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy swimming and diving teams combined to win all 11 events contested Thursday on the opening day of the 2012 Patriot League Championship that is being held this weekend in Lejeune Hall. Both programs enter day two of the three-day meet in first place. The Navy women's team accrued 259 points to lead defending champion Colgate by 47 points, with the Navy men's squad tallying 275 points to lead second-place Bucknell by 107.5 points.
"I think what pleased me the most was the way our team came out today," said Navy men's swimming head coach Bill Roberts. "The first heats of the 500 freestyle this morning really made a statement. We had a lot of enthusiasm over here with both Navy teams supporting each other. That's the energy we need to create a great meet."
"Coming into the meet I thought we would be competing for the victories in all of the events, but to come away with all of the wins was more than we could have asked for," said Navy women's swimming head coach John Morrison. "The team swam inspired tonight. It was due to a lot of guts by our swimmers."
200 Freestyle Relay
After Toni Paruso staked Navy to an early lead of 13-hundredths of a second following her one round trip of the pool, Cat Cortesio nearly doubled the advantage for the Mids at the midpoint of the race. Kellie Darmody then provided a nice cushion for the Mids s the lead grew to one full second after 150 yards. Navy's anchor swimmer, Hollis Capuano, would then cruise through her 50 yards to touch the wall in an overall time of 1:33.60 -- the No. 3 time in Navy history -- for the foursome. That time bettered the second-place clocking of Colgate by nearly three-tenths of a second (1:33.89).
started things off for the Mids strongly by tying a career-best time of 20.32 for the opening 50 yards of the race, which gave ensuing swimmer Dain Bomberger
a lead of just under four-tenths of a second. Bomberger lost about a tenth of a second to the field over the course of his 50 yards, but Sean Bagent
posted a blistering time of 19.72 to take the Navy advantage out to 1.16 seconds. As fast as Bagent was, Zach Ingold
was even faster. His clocking of 19.56 over the final 50 yards allowed Navy to post an overall time of 19:91 and win the race by nearly two seconds over Lehigh's second-place time of 1:21.05.
Navy's time was not only an NCAA `B' cut clocking, it also is the third-fastest time in school history.
Eight swimmers stepped up to the blocks for the championship final of the 500 freestyle; all but one of those eight athletes represented either Navy (three) or Colgate (four). Navy's Ange Sawick posted the fastest time in the morning trial heats, 4:50.84, with teammates Haley Nowak (5:00.54) and Rheanna Vaughn (5:01.35) placing seventh and eighth, respectively.
Sawick never trailed in the final and her overall time of 4:49.48 gave the freshman a three-second margin of victory. But the race within the race was for second place between Vaughn and Colgate's Erica Derlath, who was the defending champion in the event. Vaughn held a miniscule lead at every time check up until the 450-yard mark when Derlath turned a 12-hundredths of a second deficit at 400 yards into a 0.52-second advantage 50 yards later. Vaughn regrouped and posted a time of 28.70 over the final 50 yards to edge Derlath for the silver medal by four-hundredths of a second (4:52.69-4:52.73). Not to be lost in the battle for second was the effort of Nowak. After posting a time of 5:01.35 to edge just Vaughn in the trial heats, Nowak recorded a time of 4:56.41 to place third in the final.
"Rheanna has been sick for the last few weeks and has been marginal in practice," said Morrison. "We had faith in her, but her morning swim could have been a little faster. But she just dug down deep, and dropped so much time from the morning. That's the inspiration we needed."
There also was a great race in the final of the men's 500 free, but it was a battle between a pair of Mids. Justin Vagts recorded a time of 4:21.12 to win the morning trial heats by well over eight seconds. He would square off against teammate and defending league champion Mac Anthony in the evening's championship final. Vagts took a lead of nearly four-tenths of a second after 50 yards and methodically built up an advantage of over one second after 200 yards. Anthony closed strong, but in the end Vagts would win the race by pretty much the same advantage he had attained after the opening 50 yards of the race. The winning time of 4:21.83 for Vagts was an NCAA `B' cut time and ranks fifth in Navy history. Meanwhile, Anthony placed second in a time of 4:22.28, which also was a `B' cut time.
The duo was joined by three other Mids in the final. Will Norton placed third in a time of 4:26.24, Luke Hoffer finished in fifth place with a time of 3:35.33 and Hugh Davison placed eighth with a posting of 4:32.45.
"Justin and Mac knew it was going to be a race," said Roberts. "Justin knows about Mac's ability to close. It was fun to watch. You knew Mac was going to get back into it. It was great to see."
200 Individual Medley
Navy's Laura Gorinski broke her own Navy, Patriot League and Lejeune Hall record of 2:00.33, as well as the league meet record of 2:00.67 set by Colgate's Emily Murphy three years ago, with her time of 1:59.95 in the trial heats of the 200 IM.
Gorinski may have been the favorite tonight, but Darmody, Darmody, who had tied Colgate's Emma Santoro for the second seed in the trial heats, held a slight lead after both the butterfly and backstroke portions of the final. Gorinski was in fourth place after the backstroke, 1.72 seconds behind Darmody, but then it was time for Gorinski's speciality, the breaststroke. Gorinski immediately found a comfort zone and went from fourth place into first place by 2.2 seconds over Darmody. She opened up her lead even more in the freestyle leg and won the race with a clocking of 2:00.45. Equally key to the Navy team effort was Darmody, who maintain a lead over the rest of the field and saw her time of 2:02.53 better the other swimmers by at least 1.22 seconds.
"Kellie also has been sick for the last month and has only been in the water the last few days," said Morrison. "But she stepped up and swam for her teammates tonight."
Jenn Abbott also appeared in the championship final for the Mids. She went from being seeded seventh into finishing in sixth place with her time of 2:06.42.
Navy's Ben Bondurant also jumped several places from where he stood early in the race to win the men's 200 IM final. Bondurant was in third place after the butterfly leg of the race, but recorded a time of 26.61 in the backstroke -- the fastest backstroke by nearly one second -- to take a lead of 1.06 seconds after 100 yards. He still was in front of the field by 0.83 seconds after the breaststroke before touching the wall in an overall time of 1:47.60, which gave him a 2.51-second margin of victory over Bucknell's Mike Nicholson (1:50.11).
Placing third in the event was Navy team captain Steve Dukleth (1:50.17), while Mark Meyer (1:50.79) placed fourth for the Mids.
"I'm not surprised of the success Ben is having," said Roberts. "He has done everything we have asked. He just shows up seeking hard work. It all came out tonight. He had a better swim this evening than he did this morning, and both were better than last year. The credit for that goes to Ben and his approach."
Paruso started the evening off well for the Mids with her opening 50 yards (23.50) of the 200 freestyle relay. She would find herself in a battle with Colgate's Samantha Wary, who recorded a time of 23.70 in the relay, in the 50 free final. Paruso the No. 1 seed in the morning trial heats with her time of 23.33, would go even faster than she did in either the trial heats or the relay, with her time of 23.44 edging Wary's clocking of 23.55 for the victory.
Placing eighth for the Mids in the 50 free final was Cortesio with her time of 24.13.
Ingold was tabbed as the 2011 Patriot League Rookie of the Meet after he won three events, one of which was the 50 free, during last year's championship. However, he entered tonight's final as the No. 5 seed after he posted a time of 20.64 in the trial heats. Ingold would successfully defend his title with a winning time of 20.29. His effort bettered the second-place time of 20.38 recorded by Lehigh's Chris Hoke, as well as the third and fourth-place times posted by Navy teammates Parker (20.48) and Bagent (20.51), respectively.
Courtney Vandament began her career by placing fourth on the three meter at the 2009 Patriot League Championship. She would then place second on the board in both 2010 and 2011. Competing for the final time in the event at the championship, Vandament posted a score of 282.15 to win the first league crown in her career. That tally gave her the victory by just under 14 points over Bucknell's Kati Hetherington.
400 Medley Relay
Colgate's Lia Kunnapas gave the Raiders a lead of 0.93 seconds after the opening backstroke portion of the 400 medley relay, but then Gorinski entered the water for Navy for the 100 yards of the breaststroke. Just 50 yards after entry, Gorinski had not only erased the deficit she had built up a lead of 0.95 second and then expanded it to 2.45 by the time she exited the pool. Back came Paruso for her third event of the night, and the Navy lead only grew during her butterfly leg. She gave Bryn Moriarty a 3.46-second lead to work with for the final 100 yards of the race. The lead kept growing during Moriarty's freestyle effort and she touched the wall 3.87 seconds ahead of the second-place Colgate team. Navy's posted an overall time of 3:43.63, which was the second-best time clocked by a foursome of Mids in school history.
"We rolled the dice a little in the relay," said Morrison. "We asked people to do some different things. Kellie is one of the top backstroke swimmers in the league, but we asked a freshman, Alex Lundgren, to step into her place tonight. For her to step up and put us in the position we were in after that leg of the race was great. And you can add Bryn Moriarty to the list of people who stepped up for us. It was great to see people accept the challenge we gave them and swim for their teammates."
History was on the minds of the Navy men's team as it prepared for the 400 medley relay. The times the Mids chased were the Navy, meet and league record of 3:15.01, the NCAA `B' cut time of 3:17.63 and the pool standard of 3:18.80.
Gage Trotter opened the race with a time of 48.61 in the backstroke leg, which was just seven-hundredths of a second behind his own Navy and league 100 back record of 48.54 and gave Navy a 1.7-second lead over the rest of the field. Sean Murphy followed for the breaststroke leg, and he took Navy's lead out to 3.49 seconds and kept the Mids within striking distance of the records. Dukleth entered the water for the butterfly stroke and gave anchor swimmer Anthony a great shot at history with his time. Anthony powered through the last 100 yards and touched the wall 43.66 seconds after entering the water. That gave the Mids an overall time of 3:13.59 to easily break all of the marks they were chasing.
"That was a great way to end," said Roberts of the relay. "I don't think we have had great medley relays in the past. We just haven't been able to get all four guys to click at once in recent years. Our trouble has been getting all four guys to fire at once, but tonight they felt it and it was a blur to watch. They were all on. When we saw three-thirteen we were ecstatic."
Action continues at the Patriot League Championship Friday and Sunday in Lejeune Hall. Live results from the meet are available at NavySports.com, with Navy All-Access subscribers able to obtain a live video feed of the proceedings. Visit NavySports.com to become a Navy All-Access subscriber.
"I'd like to make sure our guys are swimming smart races Friday, and doing all of the technical aspects of a race that go into that," said Roberts. "The next thing for us tomorrow is get up and race each other even more. We want to attack the races more, and if we can we can find some more improvement."
"We have a narrow lead," said Morrison. "We did a fantastic job today to put us in the position we are in. But it is a three-day meet. I told the team we have to look at Friday as us being tied at 0-0 on the scoreboard. That is the mindset we need to have, and that starts right now."
Women's Team Scores
1. 259, Navy
2. 212, Colgate
3. 185, Bucknell
4. 154, Army
5. 86, American
6. 85, Lehigh
7. 66, Lafayette
8. 45, Holy Cross
Men's Team Scores
1. 275, Navy
2. 167.5, Bucknell
3. 130, Lehigh
4. 100.5, Army
5. 80, Colgate
6. 61, American
7. 55, Lafayette
8. 46, Holy Cross