2021 CAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
- POSTPONED TO: Monday, March 29 – Friday, April 2, 2021
- Diving Friday, March 26 – Saturday, March 27, 2021
- Swimming: Christiansburg Aquatic Center, Christiansburg, VA (Eastern Time Zone)
- Diving: Rawstrom Natatorium, – Newark, DE (Eastern Time Zone)
- Defending Champion: William & Mary men (6x) & James Madison women (3x) (results)
- Live results
- Live Video
- Championship Central
Several mid-major conferences have moved their championships post-NCAAs due to the pandemic, and they’ll start off with the Colonial Athletic Association Championships this week. The season has also been marked by a program cut, shortly followed by a program reinstatement for the William & Mary men and women.
The women’s meet starts tomorrow, running three days from Monday to Wednesday, while the men’s meet picks up Thursday and goes through Saturday.
The William & Mary women lead the conference this season in the majority of events, with sprinters Missy Cundiff and Katie Stevenson looking sharp in the 50 and 100 free, respectively. Cundiff dropped a lifetime best 22.54 in the 50 in February, while Stevenson leads the way in the 100 free (51.01).
This meet will be the conference debut for new UNC-Wilmington head coach Bobby Guntoro, who has been on a recruiting tear for both his men’s and women’s programs. Evan Arsenault is the name to watch for them; she’s the defending champion in the 50 free.
James Madison’s women are the defending champs, and while they’ve lost sprint star Bonnie Zhang to graduation, they return distance star Julianna Jones. Last year at this meet, Jones won the 500 free and 1650 free.
This year will be a very different look for the CAA men, as 2020 individual champions in every event except for the 100 breast and 200 fly have all graduated. William & Mary won by almost 100 points in 2020, but they have graduated a huge class, including 18-point sprinter Colin Wright and several other reigning champions.
William & Mary will try to make it #7 in a row, but Towson and a UNC-Wilmington team led by new head coach Bobby Guntoro are primed to potentially shake things up.
The two returning individual champions from last year are Drexel’s Paris Raptis in the 200 fly (1:45.53) and UNC-Wilmington’s Gianmichel D’Alessandro in the 100 breast (53.86). Raptis could pull a triple win, as he’s the top returner as well in the 100 fly and 200 IM.
D’Alessandro will meet his match in the breaststrokes in Towson freshman Brian Benzing. Benzing dropped a 53.62 in the 100 breast at a dual meet recently, while he also leads the program in the 200 this season (2:02.26). Benzing (who went to high school in Norway) hadn’t broken 1:00 in yards until 2021, going 54.81 at a dual with Navy in February, before he went his new best 53.62 against Mount St. Mary’s at the end of February.
Benzing’s 54.81, which was done at his first college meet, set a new Towson record. That mark is now his 53.62, but no Towson swimmer had ever been under 55 before this season.