Lady Wildcats Make It Seven Straight, Xavier Men Take Home Big East Title

by Gerry Dunn 1

March 01st, 2020 College, Previews & Recaps

2020 BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIPS

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. – The Villanova women never looked back on Saturday, winning their seventh consecutive BIG EAST title. The Xavier men won the team trophy after a very competitive week of strong swimming.

Drew Carbone wins Men’s Swimmer of the Meet. Photo: Gerry Dunn.

Villanova sophomore Millicent Routledge was honored as the Most Outstanding Women’s Swimmer of the meet after winning the 50 free, 100 free and 200 free. Georgetown’s Drew Carbone is a three-time winner of Most Outstanding Male Swimmer after earning three individual gold medals and a new BIG EAST record in the 200 backstroke.

Villanova’s Rick Simpson and his coaching staff were voted BIG EAST Women’s Coaching Staff of the year and Brent McDonald and company from Xavier were voted as the Men’s Coaching Staff of the Year.

In diving, Villanova senior Michael Perra dominated the events and was awarded the Most Outstanding Men’s Diver for the third consecutive championship. On the women’s side, junior Riley Fujioka of Georgetown was honored as the Most Outstanding Women’s Diver.

Rounding out individual awards, Georgetown’s Marc VanDyken was awarded Women’s Diving Coach of the Year and Villanova’s Todd Michael earned the award for the men’s side for the third year in a row.

Day 4 Results / Final Results

1,650 Yard Freestyle:

Villanova Freshman Brenna McLaughlin made her mark in the mile swim in some very fast company. Her time of 16:47.23 was nine seconds faster than Georgetown freshman Corey Moon (16:56.49). The balance of the podium was taken up with Villanova swimmers. Anna Turner took third (17:00.48) followed by Emily Provenzo, Nicole Welsh and Andrea Fong.

For the men, Andrew Martin of Xavier breezed to a victory with a time of 15:20.03. In second, Justin Viotto from Providence College had a time of 15:34.07. Musketeer Will Serad took the bronze with a time of 15:38.78.

200 Yard Backstroke:

Villanova Sophomore Kelly Montesi led the race from start to finish. She took gold with a time of 1:58.00. Georgetown’s Pheobe Slaughter and Villanova’s Gracie Wielar fought for the second spot with Slaughter (2:01.22) out-touching Wieler (2:01.37) for second.

Georgetown’s Carbone defended his 200 backstroke title for the third time in 1:42.11, which was both an NCAA ‘B’ cut as well as a new BIG EAST record. The original record was set in 2012 by Pedro Oliveira. Villanova’s Justin Cucchi was second in 1:44.61 also with an NCAA B qualifying time, and in third was Ross Pantano of Seton Hall in at 1:46.91.

100 Yard Freestyle:

Routledge sprinted to a first-place finish with a time of 49.78. Emily Connors of Xavier was just behind in 50.40, followed by Georgetown’s Belinda Donohoe (50.78).

In the men’s competition, sophomore Sean Devlin sprinted to a win with a time of 44.93. Following in second was Thomas Minar of Seton Hall with a time of 45.21. In third was fellow Pirate Ben LaClair with a time of 45.32.

200 Yard Breaststroke:

Villanova freshman Kaitlin Gravell led from start to finish. Her time of 2:18.53 was good as gold – and her fellow Wildcat Margaret Kleinsmith followed with a time of 2:20.03 for second. Georgetown’s Alexandra Rieker rounded out the top three for bronze with a time of 2:20.

Josh Tosoni of Seton Hall won a close-fought race with an NCAA ‘B’ qualifying time of 1:57.90. Freshman Connor Morikawa of Georgetown also finished with an NCAA ‘B’ time and took the silver in 1:58.20. Freshman Jonathan Bernard from Xavier posted a 2:00.30 for the bronze.

200 Yard Butterfly:

Taylor Hogan of Xavier took the gold medal in the closely contested race. She touched the wall at 2:02.13 ahead of Villanova senior Taryn Els (2:02.63). Seton Hall freshman Sierra Cripps took third place with a time of 2:02.67.

For the men, Xavier senior Charles Clark reached the wall in a time of 1:48.30 for the gold. Closely following was fellow Muskateer Brandon Abboud. Rounding out the top three was Joseph Gibson of Seton Hall with a time of 1:49.27.

Men’s One-Meter Springboard:

Senior Michael Perra of Villanova swept the men’s diving events with a victory on the 1-meter springboard. Perra scored 579.00 points to secure the win and his fourth Big East title on 1-meter.  Villanova sophomore Michael Ackert came from behind on the last dive to take second with a score of 511.40. Joseph Hoffman of Georgetown was less than a point behind to take third (511.25)

400 Yard Freestyle Relay:

The Xavier and Villanova women tied atop the podium in the 400 free relay. Photo: Gerry Dunn.

The most exciting event of the day was the women’s 400 free relay. Villanova and Xavier exchanged the lead and on the last 25 yards touched the wall together for a tie. For the Wildcats, Montesi, Abbey Berloco, Wielar and Routledge touched the wall together with Xavier in 3:21.62. The Xavier team was led by Emily Saugstad, Abigail Gardner, Erin Merke and anchored by the senior Connors. It was a wonderful finish to a very competitive championship. Georgetown rounded out the top three for the bronze in 3:26.13. Seton Hall (3:28.06), Providence College (3:28.20) and Butler (3:29.36) took fourth, fifth and sixth respectfully.

For the men, Devlin, Michael Baldini, Sean Percin and Carbone brought Georgetown the gold medal with a time of 2:59.05. Xavier was only .55 seconds off the mark with a 2:59.60, and Seton Hall immediately followed with a 3:00.25. Villanova (3:03.45) and Providence(3:04.22) took fourth and fifth to finish the night.

Major Awards:

Most Outstanding Women’s Swimmer: Millicent Routledge, Villanova
Most Outstanding Men’s Swimmer: Drew Carbone, Georgetown
Women’s Coach Staff of the Year:  Rick Simpson and Villanova
Men’s Coach Staff of the Year: Brent McDonald and Xavier
Most Outstanding Women’s Diver: Riley Fujioka, Georgetown
Most Outstanding Men’s Diver: Michael Perra, Villanova
Women’s Diving Coach of the Year: Marc VanDyken, Georgetown
Men’s Diving Coach of the Year: Todd Michael, Villanova

Final Team Standings – Women
1. Villanova (882 points)
2. Georgetown (749)
3. Xavier (654)
4. Seton Hall (439)
5. Butler (287)
6. Providence (232)

Final Team Standings – Men
1. Xavier (780.5 points)
2. Georgetown (707)
3. Seton Hall (685)
4. Villanova (621)
5. Providence (280.5)

Gerry Dunn is a contributing writer for SwimSwam. He is a “Diving Dad” and resides in Washington, D.C. Gerry continues to dive competitively and currently serves on the USA DIVING Board of Directors. He is also the Chairman of US Masters Diving. Would you like to share your thoughts? E-mail Gerry at [email protected].

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Swimmer

Watch out for UConn next year