Feb. 18, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- One day after combining to win all 11 events at the Patriot League Championship, the Navy swimming and diving teams won 12 of the 15 events contested Friday at the meet being held in Lejeune Hall in Annapolis to allow both programs to open sizeable cushions over the rest of the respective fields. The Navy men's team, which has won all 12 of the meet's swimming events, has scored 677.5 points, while the Navy women's team has tallied 610 points. The men lead second-place Bucknell by 249 points, with the women leading Colgate by 136 points.
"We had a decent morning," said Navy men's swimming head coach Bill Roberts. "For the most part, the guys did what they needed to do. I felt we were moving in our fourth gear this morning, and we needed to find a fifth gear tonight to meet the goals we had set for ourselves. They raced well this morning, and then we had a lot of guys able to drop time tonight. I was real happy with that.
"I said to someone at one point in another race where there were two guys from another team battling it out that this was exactly what we want to have happen. We want our guys to challenge each other. That is why we were able to come up with some of the times we did."
"The morning is where you score the points," said Navy women's swimming head coach John Morrison. "You can't score points at night if you do not have a great effort in the morning. The morning session started off with a bang for us in the 400 individual medley. That set the tone for the meet and we just kept going. We were real pleased with our morning, and then we did even better than we thought we would at night. There was a bigger separation for us than we thought we would have in the middle of the day.
"Our depth has really come through for us. In a three-day meet, you have to win with depth. You have your frontline swimmers and your relays, but you need your second, third and fourth swimmers to come up big for you. I think just about everyone has been where we had hoped they would be at prior to the meet."
200 Medley Relay
The start of the 200 medley relay was a close one as five teams finished the opening backstroke leg within one-half of a second of each other. Olivia Kosaka
gave the Mids the slim lead, but Laura Gorinski
followed with a punishing breaststroke leg that expanded the advantage out to 1.5 seconds over the second-place Colgate squad. Toni Paruso
then entered the water and built upon the cushion she was given. By the time she climbed out of the pool after the butterfly leg, she had given Kellie Darmody
a lead of just under three seconds. Darmody had a strong last 50 yards that gave the Mids the victory -- and an NCAA `B' cut time -- with a clocking of 1:42.18.
Just as in the women's race, Navy continually stretched an early lead throughout the men's 200 medley relay. Gage Trotter set the tone with a 22.47 in the backstroke that staked the Mids to a lead of over six-tenths of a second. Sean Murphy built the margin out to one full second after the breaststroke, then Steve Dukleth gave anchor swimmer Zach Ingold a lead of 2.3 seconds after the butterfly portion of the race. Ingold completed his 50 yards of freestyle swimming in less than 20 seconds to give Navy a historic victory in the race. In addition to its time of 1:28.60 to win the race, the foursome also shattered the school, league and league meet records of 1:29.11, set a new pool record by well over two seconds (1:31.14) and bettered the NCAA `B' cut qualifying time of 1:29.94.
"We figured this would be fun to watch," said Roberts of the medley relay. "We have a real weapon at the top. Gage really sets the tone. He builds a lead and accelerates in the water so much, it is fun to watch. We had wanted to go under 1:29, so we did that and felt good about where we are at with both of our medley relays."
400 Individual Medley
Navy entered the 400 IM having won gold medals in all 13 events held at the championship. The Mids would see that run come to an end as Colgate's Erica Derlath won the event in an NCAA `B' cut time of 4:17.42. The top Navy finisher in the race was Colleen Randolph, who placed fourth with her time of 4:28.45. Joining her in the final was her teammate Katherine Jones, who placed eighth in a time of 4:33.56.
Bucknell's Mike Nicholson had posted the fastest time of the morning trial heats (3:53.96) to enter the final as the top-seeded swimmer. However, he would swim with a Mid on either side of him as Justin Vagts posted the second-best time of 3:54.59 and Joseph Stark came out of the preliminary heats third with a time of 3:57.61.
Nicholson led Vagts by nearly four-tenths of a second after the opening butterfly leg, and still was in front of Vagts by three-tenths of a second after both the backstroke and the breaststroke portions of the race. Vagts attacked Nicholson on the turn into the freestyle portion of the event. What was a deficit of 0.33 seconds leading into the freestyle turned into an advantage of 1.53 seconds after just 50 yards. Vagts blistered the final 50 yards of the race in a time of 25.99 to cruise to an overall time of 3:51.27, which won him the race by 4.7 seconds, was an NCAA `B' cut time by 3.6 seconds and just missed the Navy and league record by three-hundredths of a second.
Stark would place third in the race (3:57.50), with teammate Conor Campbell finishing in fourth place (3:57.59).
Navy placed four swimmers into the championship final of the 100 fly, with Paruso leading all competitors with her school and league record -- and NCAA `B' cut -- time of 53.58 in the trial heats. In the final, Paruso jumped out to an early lead of one full second after just 50 yards of the race before expanding her advantage to 1.6 seconds at the finish line. It was Paruso's second individual event title in as many days (50 free). Finishing immediately behind Paruso's clocking of 53.92 was Rheanna Vaughn with her posting of 55.53. Cat Cortesio recorded a time of 56.18 to place fifth, while Kosaka tallied a time of 56.60 to place sixth.
Four Navy swimmers also advanced into the final of the men's 100 fly, but there was far more drama as to which Mid would win this race than the women's contest had. Steve Dukleth and Ben Bondurant were stride for stride next to each other the entire 100 yards of the race. In the end, Dukleth edged Bondurant by just one one-hundredth of a second. Dukleth finished the race in a time of 48.01, while Bondurant, who won the 200 IM Thursday, was clocked in a time of 48.02. The duo needed to go as fast as it did due to Army's Ayman Andrews closing fast on both of them at the finish. The Black Knight would finish in third place in a time of 48.08.
Rounding out the Navy entries in the race were Trotter in fourth place (48.90) and Mark Meyer in fifth (48.99).
The women's 200 free was very similar to the opening 200 medley relay. In this event, less than six-tenths of a second separated the first-place swimmer after 50 yards from the eighth-place entry. Leading everyone at that first time check was Navy's Hollis Capuano, and she still held a negligible lead after 100 yards of the race. Colgate's Lia Kunnapas overtook Capuano by less than one-tenth of a second after 150 yards, then expanded her advantage over the closing 50 yards of the race. Kunnapas would win the race in a time of 1:49.60, with Army's Paige Brink placing second in a time of 1:50.08. Ange Sawick narrowly edged her teammate Capuano for third place, 1:50.45-1:50.53, with Bryn Moriarty placing fifth for the Mids in a clocking of 1:51.57. Additionally, Haley Nowak recorded a time of 1:52.73 to place eighth.
The men's 200 free also was a tight one. There was a difference of no more than six-tenths of a second between the first and third-place swimmers until the very end of the race. Navy's Hugh Davison held a slim lead of two-tenths of a second over teammate Mac Anthony and a three-tenths of a second-advantage over Bucknell's Matt Segar after 50 yards. Davison's lead grew slightly after 100 yards before Anthony took the lead by over one-half of a second at the 150-yard mark of the race. Anthony would touch the wall in a time of 1:37.10 to defeat Davison by nine-tenths of a second and Segar by 1.1 seconds.
With the win, Anthony becomes the first men's swimmer in league history to win four consecutive titles in the 200 freestyle event.
"You don't set out to win four titles," said Roberts. "It has to be an approach of one meet at a time. It certainly is impressive what he has done. He has worked really, really hard and has been a consistent performer since the day he arrived. He deserves a lot of credit and accolades. This is more than just one more gold medal; this is a representation of just how great of an athlete Mac has been."
Finishing in fourth place in the race was Navy's Will Norton.
Last year's championship saw Gorinski become just the third swimmer in league history to win back-to-back 100 breaststroke titles. A win in this race would allow Gorinski to become the first to win three consecutive crowns.
Any thoughts of Gorinski not making history evaporated almost as soon as she popped up out of the water to take her first stroke of the race. Her lead was over one second after 50 yards and grew to 2.5 seconds at the end of the race. Gorinski's time of 1:01.47 bettered her own pool record of 1:01.89 and was just off of her school and league record clocking of 1:00.72.
"Teams have a workhorse and a stallion," said Morrison. "Laura is both for us. She loves to workout, train hard and on race days she is ready to go. Her performance at this meet showed to herself and her teammates that she is one of the most special swimmers we have had here at Navy."
Placing second in the race was Colgate's Becca Martin in a time of 1:03.97, with Randolph (1:05.36) and Jenn Abbott (1:05.53) accruing valuable points for Navy with their third and fourth-place showings, respectively.
After Gorinski, Randolph and Abbott placed first, third and fourth in the women's 100 breast, Murphy, Luke Hoffer and Ben Grove matched that performance for the Mids in the men's 100 breast.
Murphy quickly built a lead of nearly four-tenths of a second after 50 yards, and maintained all but one-tenth of a second of that margin at the finish line. He would win the race in a time of 55.70 to defeat Bucknell's Christian Treat's time of 56.00. Hoffer touched the wall seven-hundredths of a second later, with Grove following in a time of 56.69.
Darmody has proven herself to be considered one of the fastest backstroke swimmers in Navy and Patriot League history. She has recorded the four fastest times in the 100 back in Navy history, which included a new school standard of 55.43 that was the fastest time posted during the morning trial heats. However, she entered tonight without an individual event title at the league meet to her credit. That quickly changed as she led from start to finish in winning the 100 backstroke in a new Navy record time of 55.27. That clocking gave her the victory by a little more than three-tenths of a second over Kunnapas.
"Kelli is excited where she is at," said Morrison. "This shows all of the hard work she has put into swimming over the last year. She had the opportunity to train over the summer at Georgia, and she brought back and shared with everyone on the team just what it takes to be a champion."
Kosaka would place fifth for Navy in the race, with Alex Lundgren adding an eighth-place showing.
Trotter holds the Navy and Patriot League record in the 100 backstroke with his time of 48.54 that he set one year ago. Ingold is the defending league champion in the event and set the standard in the morning trial heats by over one-half of a second. The two would square off against each other in tonight's final.
After starting out fairly even, Trotter built a lead of over one-half of a second after just 50 yards, and was able to increase his advantage by one-tenth of a second by the end of the race. His time of 48.34 broke the school, league and league meet (48.68) standards and was an NCAA `B' cut time (48.59). Ingold comfortably finished in second place with his time of 48.97, while Stark placed sixth in a time of 50.62.
Army dominated the first men's diving event of the weekend. Four members of the team placed among the top-eight finishers, with Chris Nguyen's score of 371.05 giving him the victory by 40 points. Navy's Ben Freedman placed third with a score of 325.70, a tally that was just six points in back of the second-place score of 331.75 set by Army's Zachary Woods. Navy's Wil Mayo also placed seventh in the contest.
800 Freestyle Relay
The women's 800 free relay quickly turned into a dual between Navy and Colgate. The opening swimmers, Capuano for Navy, Emma Santoro for Colgate, exchanged the lead multiple times over the opening 200 yards of the race, with Capuano giving Moriarty a one-half second advantage to work with. She built up the cushion by an additional second before turning it over to Sawick for the start of the second half of the race. Placed against Kunnapas, Sawick managed to hold on to a nine-tenths of a second lead after 600 yards. As Sawick climbed out of the pool, Gorinski was working her way down the lane. There was almost no change in the gap between Gorinski and her counterpart from Colgate, Hannah Fitton, after 50 yards, but then Gorinski found another gear. Her advantage grew to 1.2 seconds after 700 yards, two full seconds after 750 yards and, at the wall, 3.8 seconds.
Combined, Navy's time of 7:22.88 broke the school record by one full second and was an NCAA `B' cut time.
The start of the men's 800 free relay was similar to the start of the women's race. In this contest, Norton and Bucknell's Tom Brown were neck and neck for the first 150 yards of the race. But then Norton closed out his final 50 yards one second faster than Brown did to give Bondurant a slight cushion to work with. Bondurant gained another six-tenths of a second before Davison entered the water. Davison increased the margin at every 50 yards of the race and left with a 4.34-second lead for Anthony. Navy's anchor swimmer promptly gained more ground and touched the wall in an overall time of 6:33.61 that gave Navy a six-second margin of victory.
"We thought we could go faster," said Roberts. "It is a tough event for us. For most of the guys, it is their third 200 yards of the day, and that is difficult."
The Patriot League Championship will conclude Saturday in Lejeune Hall. The morning trial heats will begin at 10:30 a.m., with the finals slated to begin at 6 p.m. 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.
"We train for this meet all year," said Roberts. "We train for three days of competition. We don't want the guys to celebrate too early. We do want them to get greedy at the opportunity in front of them. The reality is you have to wait an entire year to get back in this position, so we have to make the most of every opportunity we have."
"We want to continue to do more Saturday," said Morrison. "Day three has been our focus from the start of the season. That's where you actually win the championship. I don't think we will let our guard down. Everyone is swimming fast and they want to swim fast again tomorrow. We are excited about tomorrow, but we will not be resting on our laurels tonight."
1. 610, Navy
2. 474, Colgate
3. 363, Bucknell
4. 284, Army
5. 207, Lehigh
6. 169, Lafayette
7. 141, American
8. 91 Holy Cross
1. 677.5, Navy
2. 438.5, Bucknell
3. 341.5, Army
4. 291, Lehigh
5. 179.5, American
6. 164, Colgate
7. 129, Lafayette
8. 96, Holy Cross