Milligan Sweeps AAC Championships For Third Straight Season

by SwimSwam 1

February 19th, 2024 College, NAIA, News, Previews & Recaps

2024 AAC Championships

  • February 8-10, 2024
  • Kingsport, Tenn.
  • SCY (25 yards)
  • Results

Courtesy: Milligan Athletics

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (February 10, 2024) – The Milligan University men’s and women’s swim teams made Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) history as the Buffs swept the AAC Championships in men’s and women’s swimming for the third consecutive season.

Milligan won 11 of 12 AAC titles on Saturday and 32 of the 36 total individual and relay championships over the three-day meet. Milligan set 13 AAC championship meet records.

Milligan’s men set AAC championship meet records with 1,036 points and 16 men’s championships (11 individual, five relay). The Buffs are the first team to win four-straight AAC titles and now have the most men’s swimming AAC titles in conference history.

The Buffs’ women’s swim team matched a conference record with 16 women’s titles (11 individual, five relay). Milligan is the first team to win three-straight women’s conference championships.

Sophomore Riley Renaud repeated as the AAC Women’s Swimmer of the Year. She won three individual titles in the freestyle events and set a championship meet record in the women’s mile on Saturday morning. Freshman Paxton Smith was honored as the AAC Men’s Swimmer of the Year with three individual conference titles and was on four conference championship relays. Smith was also tabbed as the AAC Men’s Freshman of the Year.

Scarth swept AAC Coach of the Year honors for the second-straight season. He is a four-time AAC Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year and a two-time AAC Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year honoree.

Renaud claimed an AAC title for the third-straight day as she defended her title and reset an AAC championship meet record in the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 17:25.09 on Saturday morning. Kaelin Forscutt made her event debut in the mile and finished third in 19:07.35, narrowly missing a national provisional time.

Smith won his third title in as many days as he narrowly triumphed in a competitive 100-yard freestyle. He edged defending AAC champion Guillermo Usechi by 0.15 seconds with a time of 46.20. Cole Brusher finished fourth in 47.02.

Peter Gilbert led a quartet of Buffs in the 1650 free final. Gilbert captured his second-straight title in the mile in 16:11.12. Jacob Miller was the runner-up in 16:31.41, Michael Celucci finished fourth in 16:46.75 and Adam Bengtson placed fifth in 16:48.89.

Hanne te Velthuis took home the meet title in the 100 free and matched the AAC championship meet record with a time of 51.76. Liz Mahan finished third (54.13) and Suzy Aguirre placed fifth (55.71).

Tyler Cates won the 200-yard backstroke for the third time in her career in 2:05.98. Samantha van Vuure finished second in 2:07.99. Sammy MacPherson was fourth (2:16.65) and Grace Feeney touched fifth (2:19.51).

Kaylee Williams won the 200-yard breaststroke for the fourth consecutive year as she posted a time of 2:23.83. Williams swept the breaststroke events at the AAC Championships for four-straight seasons and owns both championship meet records in the 100 and 200 breast. Mirella Rutigliano finished third in the 200 breast (2:37.09) and Virginia Rainer placed fifth (2:46.86).

Ben Hawkins repeated as the AAC champion in the 200 breast in 2:04.86. Jack Allen finished third in 2:09.91.

Stephen Gilbert won his 10th individual AAC title as he led seven Buffs in the championship final of the 200-yard butterfly. Gilbert won in 1:51.96. Andre Bazzana (second, 1:52.89), Sergio Tudor (third, 1:55.43) and Ethan McCosh (fourth, 1:55.60) joined Gilbert in the top five. Nate Halloran (1:57.51), RJ Brumit (1:57.73) and Hudson Trammell (1:57.93) finished sixth-through-eighth.

The Buffs swept the top four spots in the women’s 200 fly. Mary Grace Bitting took the meet title in 2:07.67. Gabby MacPherson was second (2:09.88), Mikayla Best touched third (2:23.34) and Alex Hayashi finished fourth (2:26.39).

Jayden Bearden led a trio of top-five finishers in the 200 back. Bearden was second in 1:54.70. Simon Popelka placed third in 1:55.14 and Bengtson was fifth in 1:59.39.

The Buffs closed the meet with a pair of AAC titles in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Mahan, Gabby MacPherson, van Vuure and te Velthuis set the conference championship meet record in 3:33.85. Smith, Brusher, Bazzana, Stephen Gilbert won in 3:05.63.

The NAIA announces its national qualifiers on Feb. 23. The NIAA National Championships are scheduled for March 6-9 at the Columbus Aquatics Center in Georgia.

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3 months ago

Go Buffs!