Navy Climbs Closer to League Swimming & Diving Titles
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy swimming and diving teams combined to win eight of the 13 events contested Friday at the Patriot League Swimming and Diving Championship at Lejeune Hall in Annapolis. Both squads are solidly in first place with just one day of competition remaining.
The Navy women's team has totaled 602.5 points and leads the field by 215.5 points, while the Navy men's team has accrued 720.5 points and holds a 180-point cushion.
Army stands second in both tabulations.
"I am very pleased with the night," said Navy women's swimming head coach John Morrison. "We scored more points tonight than we were seeded to, so it was real pleasing with how we came out and raced hard. There are some things we have to correct -- finishing a little better with a little more speed -- but overall, many good swims and personal-best times."
"Very, very happy with the way they came back from yesterday," said Navy men's swimming head coach Bill Roberts. "Obviously, a lot of highlights yesterday. They very easily could have had good efforts today but not the performances we were looking for. As a whole, I think we walk out of here feeling pretty proud of today."
Navy got off to the start it was hoping for with great success in the 400 individual medley finals. Kailtlyn O'Reilly (Sr., Farmington, Minn.) won the women's edition of the race (4:15.34), with teammates Jenny Smith (Sr., Columbus, Ohio) finishing in fourth place (4:19.11) and McKenna Resconich (So., Brighton, Mich.) in sixth (4:24.49).
"Kaitlyn didn't feel real good this morning," said Morrison, "but she came out tonight with a personal-best swim. Jenny, she had a little letdown from last night in the 500, but came back and did one of her best times tonight."
It was then a 1-2-3 Navy finish in the men's version of the event. Billy Cadigan (Fr., Lutherville, Md.) posted a time of 3:47.95 to win the race over second-place Brayden Lauffer's (Jr., Apex, N.C.) time of 3:50.10, with Nicholas Lara (So., Boulder City, Nev.) finishing third with a clocking of 3:50.14.
"That (the 1-2-3 finish) was very important," said Roberts. "I thought the field got out pretty quick. There were some people really pushing. I thought those guys have trained really well together and that was a lot of what we have seen in practice, especially with the way they finished."
The women's 100 fly saw Delaney Walz (So., May Landing, N.J.) place second by one-half of a second (54.11), Lauren Greenberg (Jr., Waxhaw, N.C.) place fifth (54.83) and Kelly Harrington (So., Boca Raton, Fla.) finish in seventh place (55.69).
"We had two personal-best times in the 100 fly," said Morrison.
James Wilson (So., Ephrata, Pa.) gave Navy its third win of the night as he placed first in the men's 100 fly final ahead of teammate Zach Piedt (Jr., Fort Mill, S.C.), who placed second. Wilson recorded a winning time of 47.45 and Piedt touched the wall with a clocking of 47.71. Also scoring in the championship final was Navy team captain William Rittenhouse (Sr., London, England), who placed eighth with an effort of 49.08.
Another second-place finish followed for the Navy women in the 200 free as Casey Lawson (Jr., Spring Lake Heights, N.J.) was edged by eight-hundredths of a second in the 200 free. She was joined in the final by teammate Erin Scudder (So., Western Springs, Ill.), who placed fourth (1:48.04).
"Again, we put great personal-best times up top," said Morrison of the 200 free.
The Navy men picked up another victory in the next event as Ethan Whitaker (Sr., Chesterton, Ind.) won the 200 free with a posting of 1:36.65. It was a great scoring event for the Mids as Joseph Jaime (Sr., San Antonio, Texas) also placed third (1:36.89), Daniel Cook (Fr., Virginia Beach, Va.) placed fifth (1:37.38) and Dominick Wallace (Fr., La Jolla, Calif.) finished in sixth place (1:37.44).
Lauren Barber (Jr., New Wilmington, Pa.) continued her dominance in the 100 breast as she posted a time of 1:00.86 to win the final for the third year in a row. She touched the wall almost 1.34 seconds ahead of the second-place swimmer, which was teammate Elyse MacIsaac (So., Stafford, Va.).
"Lauren had a really nice 100 breaststroke and we are looking forward to the 200 breast tomorrow," said Morrison.
The Navy men would score a pair of swimmers in the 100 breast. Chris Bondarowicz (Fr., Scotch Plains, N.J.) finished in third place (54.79) and Michael Velazquez (Jr., Henderson, Nev.) placed fifth (54.95).
The closest final of the entire night was the next event, the women's 100 backstroke. Navy's Jamie Miller (So., Rochester Hills, Mich.) would be out-touched for the win by one one-hundredth of a second with her effort of 54.30. She would be followed by teammates Ally Warnimont (Jr., Winston-Salem, N.C.) in third place (54.94) and Ashley Boddiford (Fr., Oviedo, Fla.) in sixth (55.95).
"The 100 backstrokers really did a great job," said Morrison. "We've been working on getting out with some speed, but they all closed extremely well. Jamie wouldn't have even reached the consolation final with the time she had a year ago, so it was great for her to finish second in the event."
As good of an effort as Wilson had in the 100 fly, he had an even better showing in the 100 backstroke final. He posted a time of 47.05 to not only win the race by nine-tenths of a second over teammate Vince Everman (Jr., Philadelphia, Pa.), but also break his own school record of 47.46 and netter the league and meet record of 47.16. Navy's Wallace would also finish in fifth place in the final (48.95).
"Within each event tonight there were good performances," said Roberts. "People either dropping time from the morning or posting career-best times. But without a doubt, James had a very, very big day. All records in the 100 backstroke, and to be able to do that just a little time after his first race was really spectacular."
"I think it is having a good plan before you go into it," said Wilson on being able to successfully compete in a pair of events in one session. "How you are going to warm-up before, how you are going to warm-down after, how you are going to get ready for the next one are all important.
"That (the 100 fly) was more excitement than anything. Then I knew I wanted to come back tonight and put down a good time. Vince had a really good swim, so that was exciting to see as well. It (the records) was a goal I had at the beginning of the year. I was looking for that. It was a nice little topping."
The lone diving event of the night gave the Navy men's team its second 1-2-3 sweep of the podium positions of the night. Bradley Buchter (So., Hickory, N.C.) scored 417.35 points to win the one-meter event -- and miss how own league record by 1.30 points -- with Nate Belch (Sr., Tucson, Ariz.) in second place (340.85) and Jake Hedrick (Fr., Hummelstown, Pa.) in third (319.05).
"Our goal all year was to sweep the awards stands," said Navy diving coach Rich MacDonald. "Unfortunately, we came up a little short of that Wednesday, but we finally did it tonight. We are really excited about that. The way they performed tonight was awesome. I think it will only help us moving forward as we begin training for the zone meet. I can't tell you how proud I am of how they performed today."
The last racing of the night saw the Navy women place second in the 200 freestyle relay (1:32.34) and the Navy men win the event (1:19.57). Jaime, Maclean Crossley (Fr., Watertown, N.Y.), Piedt and Everman combined to give the Mids a nearly one-half second victory.
"The relay was exciting," said Roberts. "Joseph did his part in putting us in a good spot on the leadoff. Fast forward to the third leg and Zach was electric. He went 19.58, so that is tough to beat on the third leg. Then Vince held off the field on the anchor."
The meet closes Saturday in Lejeune Hall. The Navy women are on the verge of winning their seventh-straight league title and the program's 16th league title in all, which would tie the league record for the most by a team in any sport. Meanwhile, the Navy men are closing in on what would be their 15th title in as many years of competing at the meet.
"Our message for tomorrow is that it is our best day," said Morrison. "Traditionally we always shoot for the last day of the championship. Saturday is when we come in to race. We are going to come in ready to go. Hopefully we can finish our races a little better. We should be confident after the first three days of the meet."
"Let's try to find ways to be better than we think we can be right now," said Roberts on the goals for the last day of the meet. "We are going to have to wait a full year to get back at this meet. Let's not give away any opportunities, let's do everything we can between now and our swim tomorrow morning and then tomorrow night to carve out ways to create that edge that will hopefully lead to something we can be really proud of."
1. 602.5 - Navy
2. 387 - Army
3. 354 - Lehigh
4. 260 - Bucknell
5. 255 - Boston
6. 188.5 - Loyola
7. 130 - Colgate
8. 101 - American
9. 86 - Holy Cross
10. 75 - Lafayette
1. 720.5 - Navy
2. 540.5 - Army
3. 283 - Bucknell
4. 281.5 - Army
5. 213.5 - Loyola
6. 182.5 - Lehigh
7. 129.5 - Colgate
8. 100 - American
9. 88 - Lafayette
10. 83 - Holy Cross