2021 Big East Day 2: Xavier Men Lead Villanova By 11 Points With 3 Event Wins


The 2021 Big East Championships continue at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio, where the Villanova women are looking for an 8th-consecutive team title and the Xavier men are shooting for a three-peat. Thursday night’s finals session featured the men’s and women’s 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free, women’s 1-meter diving, and the 200 free relay. Heading into the session, both Villanova men and women were leading the team standings.

Women’s 500 Free Finals

  • Big East Record: 4:39.63, Rachel Burnett (West Virginia) — 2012

Top 3:

  1. Niamh Hofland (UConn)- 4:48.34
  2. Nicole Welch (Villanova)- 4:50.06
  3. Emily Provenzo (Villanova)- 4:54.61

Swimming the only sub-4:50 swim to nab the first individual 2021 Big East title was UConn’s Niamh Hofland, touching in at 4:48.34. Hofland, an English native, admitted during her post-race interview that this swim was her third 500-yard free ever.

Finishing 2-3-4 for Villanova were Nicole Welch (4:50.06), Emily Provenzo (4:54.61), and Brenna McLaughlin (4:55.39), all swimming under 5 minutes and collectively earning 48 points.

Seton Hall’s Amanda Zajdzinski won the consolation final with a 4:58.66, improving from her 5:02.35 morning effort. Her time would have placed 6th in the championship final, yet will have to settle for the 9-point consolation win.

Men’s 500 Free Finals

  • Big East Record: 4:18.50, Frank Dyer (Notre Dame) — 2012

Top 3:

  1. Andrew Martin (Xavier)- 4:24.56
  2. Ben Laclair (Seton Hall)- 4:27.79
  3. Justin Viotto (Providence)- 4:28.54

Dominating the men’s 500 free championship final and earning Xavier its first individual title of the meet was Andrew Martin, touching the wall at 4:24.56. Seton Hall’s Ben Laclair (4:27.79) held off Providence’s Justin Viotto (4:28.54) for second place by 0.75s.

Winning the consolation final was Xavier’s Brett Wilson, touching in at 4:32.50, just one second ahead of Seton Hall’s Caleb Smith (4:33.31).

Women’s 200 IM Finals

  • Big East Record: 1:56.37, Emma Reaney (Notre Dame) — 2013

Top 3:

  1. Kelly Montesi (Villanova)- 2:00.90
  2. Rayann Jaryszak (Villanova)- 2:02.39
  3. Kali Fischer (Xavier)- 2:02.84

Nailing a 1-2 finish for Villanova were Kelly Montesi (2:00.90) and Rayann Jaryszak (2:02.39), who held off Xavier’s Kali Fischer (2:02.84) by 0.45s. Montesi, a junior this season, is now a 12-time Big East champion with her 200 IM from this past evening.

Going 1-2 in the consolation final were Seton Hall teammates Marianne Molloy (2:06.33) and Amelia Wootton (2:06.74)

Men’s 200 IM Finals

  • Big East Record: 1:44.81, William Bass (Notre Dame) — 2012

Top 3:

  1. Richard Nolan (Villanova)- 1:49.51
  2. Jonathan Bernard (Xavier)- 1:49.81
  3. Nolan Danus (Villanova)- 1:50.22

Going a 1-3 finish for Villanova were Richard Nolan (1:49.51) and Nolan Danus (1:50.22), sandwiching runner-up Jonathan Bernard (1:49.81) of Xavier.

Winning the consolation final for Providence was Andrew Ferrell, stopping the clock at 1:51.63, which would have placed 7th in the championship final.

After this event, Seton Hall has now moved up from 4th to 3rd in the team standings, passing Providence by 9 points.

Women’s 50 Free Finals

  • Big East Record: 22.29, Whitney Campbell (Louisville) — 2009

Top 3:

  1. Cornelia Jerresand (Seton Hall)- 23.34
  2. Abbey Berloco (Villanova)- 23.38
  3. Millicent Routledge (Villanova)- 23.39

Winning the women’s 50 free by 0.04s was Cornelia Jerresand, breaking the Seton Hall school record at 23.34. Behind her was yet another Villanova 2-3-4, led by Abbey Berloco (23.38), Millicent Routledge (23.39) and Perri Stahl (23.40).

Picking up another 9 points for Villanova after winning the consolation final was Alexis Elkovitch at 23.79.

Men’s 50 Free Finals

  • Big East Record: 19.08, Josh Schneider (Cincinnati) — 2010

Top 3:

  1. Christian Thomas (Xavier)- 20.43
  2. Thomas Minar (Seton Hall)- 20.54
  3. Roark Lunda (Xavier)- 20.57

Winning the men’s 50 free was Xavier’s Christian Thomas (20.43), touching out Seton Hall’s Thomas Minar (20.54) by 0.11s for the title. Giving Xavier a 1-3 finish was third-place finisher Roark Lunda at 20.57, touching three one-hundredths behind Minar.

Beating out a trio of Villanova swimmers for the consolation final win was Providence’s Brian Cantin, breaking 21 seconds at 20.99.

Women’s 1-Meter Diving Finals

Top 3:

  1. Danielle Scarano (Villanova)- 497.50
  2. Elizabeth Drab (UConn)- 480.05
  3. Ana Laura Faoro (UConn)- 476.35

Giving Villanova yet another win was sophomore Danielle Scarano on the 1-meter diving boards, scoring 497.50 points. Behind her, UConn teammates Elizabeth Drab (480.05), Ana Laura Faoro (476.35), Alyssa Annenberg (461.80), and Elisabeth Katz (430.10) finished 2-3-4-6, which is worth 61 points. Finishing in fifth place was Villanova’s Andrea Holtz (443.50), combining with Scarano to score 34 points. Seton Hall teammates Ashley Diekemper (393.45) and Laura Stavila (365.20) finished 7-8 in the diving final, a 23-point pick-up.

Women’s 200 Free Relay Timed Finals

  • Big East Record: 1:29.46, Louisville — 2009

Top 3:

  1. Villanova- 1:32.49
  2. UConn- 1:34.34
  3. Seton Hall- 1:34.62

Millicent Routledge led Villanova off in a 23.62 to give Perri Stahl a tenth advantage over UConn and Seton. Stahl’s 22.93 leg gave Villanova an indestructible lead, with Alexis Elkovitch (23.35) and Abbey Berloco (22.61) finishing the relay to a win at 1:32.49. Finishing just 0.28s ahead of Seton Hall to place second was UConn at 1:34.34. Seton Hall settled for third at 1:34.62, featuring Cornelia Jerresand‘s 22.96 anchor leg.

The Xavier women touched out the Providence women for fourth place 1:35.02 to 1:35.42.

Men’s 200 Free Relay Timed Finals

  • Big East Record: 1:17.74, Louisville — 2010

Top 3:

  1. Xavier- 1:20.27
  2. Seton Hall- 1:22.20
  3. Villanova- 1:22.73

Xavier’s Alexander Sironen and Seton Hall’s Thomas Minar both led off their respective relays in a 20.52 to open the men’s 200 free relay. After than, Xavier’s Roark Lundal split a 20.19 to give his relay a three-tenths advantage. From there, Andrew Martin and Christian Thomas swam sub-20 splits of 19.80 and 19.76 respectively to distance Xavier from the field and secure the 200 free relay title at 1:20.27.

Seton Hall anchor Ben Laclair split 20.36 to pull away from Villanova after touching in one one-hundredth apart at the 150-mark. Seton Hall finished in second place at 1:22.20 to Villanova’s 1:22.73. Providence finished in fourth at 1:23.88, featuring Will Layden‘s 20.38 anchor leg.


Following their 200 free relay win, the Villanova women continue to lead the team standings by 71 points over UConn, who moved up to second place. Seton Hall currently sits in third while Xavier dropped from second to fourth. Providence and Butler remain in 5th and 6th place, separated by 9 points. On the men’s side, Xavier boosted from third to first in the team standings, leading Villanova by 11 points. Seton Hall also leads Providence for third place by 2.5 points.


  1. Villanova 347
  2. UConn 276
  3. Seton Hall 187
  4. Xavier 158
  5. Providence 97
  6. Butler 88


  1. Xavier- 273
  2. Villanova- 262
  3. Seton Hall- 174
  4. Providence- 171.5
  5. UConn- 30.5

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About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick has had the passion for swimming since his first dive in the water in middle school, immediately falling for breaststroke. Nick had expanded to IM events in his late teens, helping foster a short, but memorable NCAA Div III swim experience at Calvin University. While working on his B.A. …

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