2022 NEC Fan Guide: Bryant, Long Island Battle For Title On Both Sides

2022 Northeast Conference Championships

The 2022 NEC Championships begin on February 22 at the SPIRE Institute. After last year’s championships were postponed until March due to COVID-19, the meet is now back to its normal timeslot.

Schedule

Tuesday, February 22

  • 800 free relay

Wednesday, February 23

  • 500 free
  • 200 IM
  • 50 free
  • Men’s 3-meter diving
  • 200 medley relay

Thursday, February 24

  • 400 IM
  • 100 fly
  • 200 free
  • Women’s 1-meter diving
  • 200 free relay

Friday, February 25

  • 200 fly
  • 100 back
  • 100 breast
  • Men’s 1-meter diving
  • 400 medley relay

Saturday, February 26

  • 1650 free
  • 100 free
  • 200 back
  • 200 breast
  • Women’s 3-meter diving
  • 400 free relay

Womens’ Stars And Showdown Races

Jeanette King of Central Connecticut, last years’ most outstanding swimmer, is the two-year reigning champion in the 50 free, and won titles in the 100 free and 100 back as well. She does not hold any of the top times in the sprint freestyles this year though, as they belong to Long Island’s Venna Andersen- who set new personal bests at the ECAC winter championships after tying for fourth with Bryant’s Laurel Carey in the 50 free and taking fifth in the 100 free last year. Along with Carey, Bryant has Alyvia Beaudon and Erin Doruska, who both placed on the podium in the sprint freestyles last year and could challenge King for the title.

Long Island’s Katie Czulewicz, who dominated the 200/500 free last year, looks to be the favorite in the events this year. So far this season, no woman has broken five minutes in the 500, but freshman Paige Edwards of Bryant holds the top time of the season with a 5:01.93. In the 200, Czulewicz’s teammate Ella Johnson has the top seed, but will likely opt to swim the 100 and 200 fly instead- events where she placed fourth and first in respectively last year.

Mariajose Lopez Lizarrangaof St. Francis (New York) is expected to take the 1650 again, being the defending champion and having the top time in the conference by seven seconds this year.

The 200 fly will likely be dominated by Ella Johnson again, as she won the event by over three seconds last year and has the best time of the season by two seconds coming into this meet. Johnson also has the top time in the 100 fly by a second this season and swam a best time that of 55.42 that was fast enough to take the title last year, but she will have to face the Bryant duo of Julia Stenhard and Sarah Gendron that placed ahead of her to get on the podium last year.

Stenhard, who was last years’ rookie of the meet, finished second in the backstroke events along with her runner-up finish in the 100 fly and is hungry for a conference title this year. However, her teammate and freshman Regan Lord comes in with times of 53.96 and 1:59.81 in the 100 and 200 back respectively, which are times that are fast enough to have swept the backstroke events at last years’ meet. Jeanette King and her teammate Millie Laudenbach, the defending champions in the 100 and 200 back, are back this year and could also be title contenders.

Last year, Wagner’s Ellie Eastwood out-touched Venna Andersen by three-tenths of a second to take the 100 breast title. Andersen has the best time in the conference this year, but Eastwood’s consistent success of finaling at conferences in the breaststroke events make her a tough swimmer to beat. In the 200 breast, Eastwood will have to face Central Conneticuts’ Alex Lindgren, who beat her for the title last year and is the top seed in the event this season.

Wagner’s Mallie Mora swept the IM races last year, winning both the 200 and 400 IM by over a second. She is favored to win the 400 IM, coming into the meet as the top seed by two seconds, but will have the newcomer Reagan Lord chasing her in the 200. Regan already has an in-season time of 2:05.27 that is close to Mora’s winning time of 2:05.17 from last year, and could potentially dethrone her in the event.

Mens’ Stars And Showdown Races

Bryant’s Matthew Mays, last years’ most outstanding swimmer, and Long Island’s Daniel Chocano Fernandez both won three titles apiece last year, and return this year vying for more. Since this season is only the second time that NEC Conference Championships have been held on the men’s side, there is a potential for many events to be significantly faster than last year, especially with the addition of new teams like Howard and Wagner.

Mays swept the backstrokes last year, winning the 100 back by a second and the 200 back by five. He is favored to win the 200 back by a mile, but might have Miles Simon of Howard (who didn’t swim in last years’ meet) challenge him in the 100. Simon has the fastest time in the conference with a 49.06, compared to Mays’ 49.56, so Mays may have a harder time defending his title in the shorter distance.

In addition, Mays also won the 200 IM last year and has the top time in the conference this year. A trio of Long Island swimmers consisting of Bruno Ferrari, Marcell Matiyiko, and Stephen Taylor who finished 2-3-4 behind Mays could score many points for the team in this event. This year, Jacob Wallace of Mount St. Mary’s also comes into the meet with a time of 1:53.80 that is a little slower than Mays’ season-best of 1:53.46. Fernandez is the heavy favorite in the 400 IM, as he is the defending champion in the event and leads the conference this year by a whole seven seconds.

The 500 and 1650 free, which Fernandez both won last year, might be harder events for him to defend. He barely won the 500 by just 0.01 seconds, and second-placer finisher Chase Konstankanos will be returning this year to fight for the title. In addition, Luke-Kennedy Thompson of Howard (4:31.66) and Benedek Levai of St. Francis (4:34.06) have times this season that are faster than Fernandez’s 4:34.21 that won last year. Fernandez won the 1650 last year also by a very close margin of nearly 0.2 seconds, and although he has not swam the event this season yet, Levai and his teammate Jedi Morland Jones hold the top two times in the season this year, which are both significantly faster than the times they swam to finish third and fourth in the event last year.

Last year, the 50/100/200 free were a battle between Long Island’s Alejandro Pascual del Cid and St. Francis’s Djole Spasic, with Pascual del Cid winning the 100/200 and Spasic winning the 50. However, Spasic’s graduation does not mean that Pascual del Cid has the titles guaranteed to his name this year. This year, there could be a different battle brewing in the sprints.St. Francis’s Daniel Matheus Santos has swam times in the 50/100/200 free that have all been faster than what it took to win the titles last year and holds the top times in the conference for the latter two events. Miles Simon has the second-fastest 100 free time (also faster than what it took to win the event last year), and became the first-ever man in the NEC to break 20 seconds in the 50 free with his 19.95 conference-leading time.

Long Island’s Lovro Dodik has made major improvements in a season in the 100 fly. After finishing in sixth in the event last year, he now holds a best time of 49.42 that is faster than St. Francis swimmer Kamil Golenic’s 49.6 that won the title last year. Bryant duo Dominic Scifo and Eric Bebel were also sub-50 last year and could be vying for the win as well. Dodik also has the top time in the conference in the 200 fly, but will have to compete against defending champion and teammate Marcel Matyiko for the title.

The quartet of Bryant’s FuKang Wong, Long Island’s Giannis Venetos, and Mount St. Mary’s Jacob Wallace and Aidan Grady will be contending for the breaststroke titles in this year’s meet, as they hold the top four times in the conference across both events in varying orders. Wallace took the 100 breast last year while Wong took the 200, but the races this year could very well be a toss-up.

Swimulator Results- Women

  1. Long Island – 622.05
  2. Bryant – 608.5
  3. St. Francis (Pennsylvania) – 353
  4. Wagner – 334
  5. St. Francis (New York) – 330
  6. Central Connecticut State- 307.5
  7. Mount St. Mary’s- 273
  8. Sacred Heart- 230
  9. Howard- 221.5
  10. Merrimack- 75

SwimSwam Picks- Women

  1. Bryant
  2. Long Island
  3. Central Connecticut State
  4. Wagner
  5. St. Francis (Pennsylvania)
  6. St. Francis (New York)
  7. Mount St. Mary’s
  8. Howard
  9. Merrimack

The Bryant women, led by head coach Katie Cameron, look to win their fifth consecutive title. Last year when Bryant won the title, they scored 739.5 points, which was the lowest amount of points they have scored in their five years of winning. It was still enough to beat runner-up Central Connecticut by over 100 points. This year, teams like Long Island will be there to keep things close as they have many stars from last year and hold multiple top seeds in events this year. In addition, Central Connecticut is ranked lower than the should be on the Swimulator, as they only lose one A-finalist from last year and have stars like Jeanette King who have not performed up to their full potential yet this season and could potentially do so at championships.

However, Bryant’s team has incredible depth, and considering that they gain freshman star Reagan Dykes and also lose only one A-finalist from last year, it is hard to not predict the five-peat for them.

Swimulator Results- Men

  1. Long Island – 637.5
  2. Bryant – 572.5
  3. St. Francis (New York) – 519.5
  4. Mount St. Mary’s – 512.5
  5. Howard – 499.5
  6. Wagner – 208.5

SwimSwam Picks- Men

  1. Bryant
  2. Long Island
  3. Howard
  4. St. Francis (New York)
  5. Mount St. Mary’s
  6. Wagner

Bryant and Long Island, just like last year, should be the top two teams competing for the second-ever NEC Conference Championship title. Much like the women, the biggest strength of the Bryant men is the depth of their team, which was shown last year in events like the 400 IM where the team had 5 swimmers in the A-Final. In addition, stars like Matthew Mays will likely propel the team to victory once more. However, considering that the competition on the men’s side is relatively new, it is likely to get faster over time-especially with the new additions of teams like Howard that have many swimmers who are possible title contenders.

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Barbotus
7 months ago

FYI…. Live results at https://swimmeetresults.tech/NEC-2022/

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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