Big splash: men's and women's swimmers are CAA champs
William & Mary men's and women’s swim teams won Colonial Athletic Association championships over the weekend, though in distinctively different styles.
The men captured 12 events and set the league record for points scored and winning margin. W&M piled up 969.5 points over the course of the four days, easily outdistancing second-place Drexel (572) and the field. Their point total not only beat last year's school record 784.5 points by nearly 200, surpassed the conference record of 832 points set by James Madison in 1997 and broke the CAA record for biggest winning margin by finishing 397.5 points clear of the field. W&M's 12 event titles matched the school record for a single championship.
In winning the league title for the second time, the women’s team captured three events on the final night of competition. W&M totaled 731.5 points to win by 50 over JMU. The Tribe won 10 events, half of the total available, including three relays. W&M also shattered the program record for points scored, which dated back to the 1986 championships.
Director of swimming Matt Crispino '02 and his staff were named the men's swimming coaches of the year for the third straight season. Crispino and staff were also voted the women's swimming coaches of the year for the first time.
In time trials to qualify for the Olympic trials the following day in Richmond, women's junior Jaimie Miller qualified for the first time with a 26.13 performance in the 50m free. Miller will join her younger sister Annie Miller in the 50m free. Men’s seniors Will Manion and Jeremiah O'Donnell qualified in the 100m back (Manion) and the 100m and 200m breaststrokes. Breaking down the races:
Men – Sophomore Conrad Zamparello easily won his first career championship, passing the 1,000-yard mark in 9:25.17, the fourth-fastest performance ever at W&M and a collegiate-best that now ranks him third in school history, before coming into the final wall in 15:31.99.
Women – Freshman Morgan Smith took over the lead at 600 yards and never looked back. Passing the 1,000-yard split in a freshman-record time of 10:03.61, Smith finished with a winning time of 16:36.86, breaking the school record by .03 seconds and the freshman record by almost 16 seconds.
Men – Manion won his third-straight CAA title with a time of 1:45.19, fifth-fastest in school history. Junior Alex Henderson took the bronze medal in 1:4674, the 13th-fastest time in school history, and senior Justin Barden (Gordonsville, Va.) was fourth in 1:47.59.
Women – Junior Sophie Rittenhouse turned at the midway point in fifth place then caught up to the pack. She turned on the jets over the back half of the race to come into the finish in a school-record and NCAA-qualifying time of 1:56.95.
Men – Senior Billy Russell finished his career with a silver medal, touching in 44.73 seconds for the sixth-fastest time ever at W&M. Junior Joe Eiden was fourth in 44.84 seconds, the eighth-fastest time ever, and sophomore Kyle Neri was fifth in 45.19 seconds.
Women – Junior Jaimie Miller won her second title of the week with a lifetime-best of 49.55 seconds. That tied for the 12th-fastest performance in school history.
Men – Senior Jeremiah O'Donnell ended his Tribe career in record-setting fashion winning his sixth-straight CAA title in a school-record time of 1:57.36. That broke the record he set last year by .03.
Women – Leading JMU by just 18 points, the Tribe headed into the 200 breast needing big points and it got them, scoring five athletes. Junior Allie Christy led the way with her season-fast 2:16.11, the third-fastest race in school history, and freshman Claire Williams was just 1/100th off the freshman record she set on Saturday morning to take sixth in 2:17.58.
Men – Sophomore Tommy Kealy earned the silver medal with a lifetime-best time of 1:46.59, the third-fastest race ever at W&M. Junior Sean Higgins was fourth in 1:47.87, another lifetime-best and the ninth-fastest time in school history, and sophomore Evan Baker (Chantilly, Va.) was sixth in 1:49.22.
Women –- Senior Jessie Ustjanauskas, named the most outstanding swimmer of the meet, broke her own school, timing 1:58.74 while leading wire-to-wire. She became the first woman in school history to unite the fly titles at the same championship meet, and the second to achieve the career event sweep. Sophomore Abby Mack (Wayne, Pa.) swam 2:01.94, the 12th-fastest time in school history to take third and All-CAA honor.
400 Free Relay
Men – The Tribe closed the meet with a win. Joe Eiden led-off with a lifetime-best 44.38, the second-fastest race ever at W&M, and handed off to Kyle Neri in a narrow second. Neri turned that into a lead after the first 25 before splitting 44.2, and W&M would never look back through exchanges with Will Manion (44.6) and anchor Billy Russell, who split 43.9 to bring the Tribe home in 2:57.23, the second-fastest time in school history.
Women – Ustjanauskas blazed to a 50.38 leadoff, her lifetime-best and a time that now ranks fourth all-time among Tribe athletes. Crompton was next up, then Annie Miller, before Jaimie Miller brought W&M home with a third-place time of 3:23.56. That was also the fifth-fastest time ever.
1. William & Mary 969.5
2. Drexel 572
3. Towson 533
4. Delaware 502
5. UNCW 429.5
1. William & Mary 731.5
2. James Madison 681.5
3. Towson 515.5
4. Delaware 458
5. Northeastern 422.5
6. UNCW 278
7. Drexel 258