A big thanks to Pat McDevitt and Roger Narwocki for leading coverage on the Centennial Conference which runs through Sunday, February 24th
The Centennial Conference swimming championships returned to the Kunkel Aquatic Center on the campus of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Gettysburg College looks to capitalize on two straight conference titles, sweeping both the men’s and women’s meets in 2011 and 2012. While the defending champions men’s team looks like a lock, the women, who didn’t win a single gold medal at last year’s meet, will rely on their depth to fend off challenges from Franklin and Marshall and Ursinus College. The first day of the always-electric conference meet saw a wild night of fast swimming complete with conference records, a huge relay DQ and a handful NCAA D-III national cuts.
Leading off the meet, Gettysburg’s 200 Free relay looked to continue its dominance after finishing 6th at NCAAs last March. After a tight start previewing the championship heat of the 50 free, Dickinson’s Jason Adams and Gettysburg’s Jason Potter separated their relays from the pack from the get go. Gettysburg then took firm control of the lead, winning in a decisive fashion. However, a heartbreaking call by meet officials DQed Gettysburg, giving the title to Dickinson’s team of Adams, Barnard, Chibbaro, and Yocum.
The 500 free showcased the first final for freshman wunderkind, Bradley Brooks. Separating himself early from perennial distance studs, Reingold and Staerk, Brooks ran away with the race, cementing himself the Centennial Conference record books with a blazing 4:31.09, also an NCAA B cut. Reingold and Staerk joined him atop the podium, finishing second and third, respectively.
The 200 IM final showcased the Renaissance men of the Centennial Conference. After a conference record and NCAA B cut 1:51.20 in the morning, Gettysburg sophomore Mike Harmon looked to finish the deal in the night. Away from his home school and home pool, Harmon lead the whole race finishing in 1:53.01, followed in second by Dickinson’s Theo Hubbard and Swarthmore’s John Flaherty in third.
In the strong man event of swimming, Dickinson’s Jason Adams looked to defend his back-to-back championship wins against prelims top seed, Gettysburg’s Jason Potter. Right from the start, the Jasons established it was a two-horse race. In the end, Adams defended his crown with a 20.16, a Conference record and NCAA A cut. Gettysburg’s Potter and Stu Cubbison finished second and third, respectively.
Closing out the day, Dickinson’s team of Adams, Barnard, Hubbard and Yocum won their team’s second relay gold of the night with a 3:27.24. Gettysburg came in second, nearly catching Dickinson, as Jason Potter put the team on his back finishing with a 44.30 in the final leg of the relay
The women of Ursinus College came out swinging, sending the message that they may be the team to beat on the women’s side. The Bears are building off a historic dual meet season (9-2, with a first-ever victory over F&M), and showcased their speed winning gold in the opening 200 free relay in a time of 1:38.41. The team of Michela Lyons, Corrine Capodanno, Amanda Lucock, and Sarah Kolosky handily defeated teams from Swarthmore and Gettysburg who were second and third, respectively.
Freshman Lea Candelmo started off her first college championship by winning the first Centennial gold for Lady Bullets since the 400 Free relay took the gold on day three of the 2011 Championship. It was no easy task as she was up against seasoned distance specialists, Katie Grant of F&M and Caroline Brennan of Gettysburg. Candelmo led the race, tape-to-tape, and finished in an impressive 5:04.17. Grant picked up the silver a second behind at 5:05.13 and the bronze went to Brennan at 5:07.76.
The 200 IM featured some of the big names on the women’s side of the meet and pitted defending gold medalist, Swarthmore’s Supriya Davis against Caroline Coolidge of Gettysburg, Malena Lair Farrari of Ursinus, and Caitlin Klockner of Dickinson. Lair Ferrari set the pace getting out in front by nearly 2 seconds, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Caitlin Klockner who turned in the fastest freestyle split and finished with the gold in 2:09.84. She was followed by Coolidge in second and Davis in third.
Kate Wiseman picked up Swarthmore’s first gold medal of the weekend winning in brisk 24.28. Corrine Capodanno, a freshman fom Ursinus captured the silver touching out McDaniel’s Emma Duesterhaus.
Feeding off of the momentum of the 50 free, Swarthmore put together the fastest 400 medley of the night, capturing gold in 4:00.76. Ursinus was out front thanks to Melena Lair Ferarri’s 58.07 backstroke leg but NCAA qualifier Supriya Davis lifted the Garnet into the lead with a blazing 56.01 butterfly split. With the slight lead, Kate Wiseman was able to hold off Ursinus’ Chelsea Kozior to win the conference title. Ursinus was second in 4:01.58 followed by Gettysurg in 4:03.49.
Men’s Standings-Day 1
1.) Gettysburg – 212
2.) Dickinson – 166
3.) Ursinus – 158
4.) F&M – 151
5.) Wash. Coll. – 127
6.) Swarthmore – 106
7.) McDaniel – 85
Women’s Standings – Day 1
1.) Ursinus – 195
2.) Gettysburg – 183
3.) Dickinson – 157
4.) F&M – 156
5.) Swarthmore – 138
6.) McDaniel – 105
7.) Bryn Mawr – 65
8.) Wash. Coll. – 61