Nihipali Named NEC Swimmer of the Week

Anu Nihipali, Wagner
Jr., Honolulu, HI/Hawaii Preparatory Academy

Nihipali’s most-recent efforts earned her a third NEC Swimmer of the Week award, and, more importantly, a ticket to the US Olympic Trials. Nihipali continued her string of impressive efforts while contesting the AT&T US Winter Nationals this past weekend. Making her second career appearance at the Winter Nationals, the junior made history during preliminary by completing the 100 backstroke (Long Course Meters) in 1:02.77.  That blazing time made her the first-ever Wagner Seahawk to qualify for the US Olympic Trials. Nihipali, who entered the finals as the No. 24 seed, eventually took 23rd overall in the event.

Kelci Abernethy, Bryant
Fr., Chandler, AZ/Perry

Abernethy continues to hold the NEC Diver of the Week award hostage, winning the honor for the fifth time this season. The Arizona product dove to multiple individual victories at the WPI Invitational while setting Bryant records in  the process. She scored 433.05 for 11 dives to win the 1-meter title and produce the new program standard. Her 259.70 score for six dives also stands as the top performance in Bulldogs’ annals. On her way to a first-place finish in the 3-meter dive competition, Abernethy obliterated the previous program record by scoring 276.40 points during the preliminary round. She earned 253.95 points in the final to capture the 3-meter crown.

Jillian Rice, Bryant
Fr., Trumbull, CT/Saint Joseph

Rice’s busy weekend at the WPI Invitational resulted in an individual win and shares of four relay victories. She flew  through the 100 freestyle, clocking in at 52.37 to claim first place at the 11-team meet. Rice’s first two relay victories came on Saturday as she swam legs on the 200 free and the 400 medley relays. Rice returned to help claim two more victories the following day, contributing to first-place finishes in the 200 medley (1:46.47) and 400 free (3:33.21). The Connecticut product also competed in the 50, 200 and 500 freestyles races, posting top-10 finishes in all three.

This past weekend, three members of the Wagner swimming and diving team competed at the 2015 AT&T U. S. Winter Nationals. This marks the second year in a row that Wagner has had swimmers compete in the prestigious meet.

Representing the Seahawks out in Washington were senior Amanda Lucia (Easthampton, MA/Easthampton) and juniors Anu Nihipali (Honolulu, HI/Hawaii Preparatory Academy) and Katja Claesson (Fullerton, CA/Troy). This was the second year for Lucia and Nihipali as they became the first Seahawks in program history to qualify for Winter Nationals.

Nihipali, who was named NEC Swimmer of the Week for the third time this season, created quite the splash as she took first place in the 100 backstroke in a historic time of 1:02.77. The junior’s time qualifies her for the U.S. Olympic Trials, making her the first Seahawk in Wagner history to make an Olympic Trial cut.

Claesson swam in the 100 breaststroke and produced a 1:12.17 (long course meters), placing her second overall in her heat. The junior missed the Olympic Trial cut by less than a second. Claesson also time trialed the 100 LC breaststroke and took sixth overall with a time of 1:12.84. Lucia competed in the 200 LC butterfly and recorded a time of 2:19.22, placing her 42nd overall.

NEC Swimming & Diving Wrapup:

• Bryant competed at the WPI Invitational this past weekend and finished second in a field of 11 competing teams. The Bulldogs ended the three-day event with 2,783.5 points. The black and gold claimed four relay victories over the course of the meet. The combination of NEC Rookie of the Week Jillian Rice (Trumbull, CT/Saint Joseph), Kristie Chan (San Francisco, CA/Abraham Lincoln), Taylor Poliseno (Stevenson Ranch, CA/West Ranch) and Dana Yu (Bridgewater, NJ/Bridgewater Raritan) took first in the 200 free with a time of 1:37.24. Salzano, Messina, Rice and Jamie Schaefer (Durham, NC/CE Jordan) went on to win the 400 medley relay. The Bulldogs also clinched first in the 200 medley (1:46.47) and 400 free (3:33.21). NEC Diver of the Week Kelci Abernethy (Chandler, AZ/Perry) continued her dominance in the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events. She posted a first place score of 433.05 (11 dives) in the 1-meter and a 253.95 score in the 3-meter event while setting school records in both events. She has won four straight NEC Diver of the Week accolades and five on the year.

• The LIU Brooklyn swim team competed at the MIT Winter Invitational for their final meet of December. The Blackbirds had four swimmers turn in top-10 finishes along with new personal-best times in the 100 free. Oleksandra Kashyrina (Odessa, Ukraine) was the top finisher as she came in fourth (51.89) and Katelyn Coleman (Lac La Biche, Alberta) took sixth (52.25), while Briana Vega (Brooklyn, NY) and Aleksandra Dziewa (Lublin, Poland/Liceo Maria Ausiliatrice) finished ninth (53.44) and tenth  (54.86), respectively. Dziewa and Milly Furneaux (Dover, England) turned in more top-10 performances in the 200 IM final. The duo finished with times of 2:13.74 and 2:12.54, respectively. The Blackbirds also had success in the 100 fly as Kashyrina and Coleman set season-best times of 58.23 and 59.16, respectively. Danielle Jefferies (Kihei, HI) and Taylor Snelson (Peoria, IL/Richwoods) also competed in the 100 fly event and recorded season-best times.

• Saint Francis U dropped a dual meet against Duquesne 154-116 over the weekend. The Red Flash started the meet strong after taking first place in the 200 medley relay with the help of Katie Lafferty (Bremen, IN/Bremen), Paige McLean (Bolton, Ontario/St. Michael Catholic Secondary), Jessie Reilly (Pittsburg, PA/Upper St. Clair) and Catherine Rogers (Nokesville, VA/Seton School), who posted a time of 1:47.62. SFU had another first place finish in the 400 freestyle relay after Emma Karell (Norrtalje, Sweden/Taby Swim Club), Lafferty, Reilly and Alicia Tiberino (Potomac, MD/Winston Churchill) turned in a time of 3:37.24. Freshman Jessica Crumm (New Hamton, NY/Minisink Valley) nabbed an individual victory for the Red Flash in the 100 breaststroke after clocking in at 1:07.99. Lafferty earned a pair of second place finishes in the 100 (52.78) and 200 (1:57.12) freestyle along with Mary Kish (Glendale, AZ/Bourgade Catholic), who placed second in the 200 breaststroke along with a second place finish in the 100 breaststroke.

• Junior Kristina Hernandez (Washingtonville, NY/Washingtonville) was the top swimmer for St. Francis Brooklyn in the three-day ECAC Winter Championships. Hernandez posted three top-10 finishes in her individual events. She placed fourth in both the 1,650 freestyle (18:01.54) and the 500 free (5:14.90). The junior rounded out her top-10 performances with an eighth place finish in the 200 free as she recorded a time of 1:58.29. Hernandez along with Tia Quirk (Woodbury, MN/Hill Murray), Laura Toth (Sarasota, FL/Riverview) and Anne Kuczynski (Coral Springs, FL/Marjorie Stoneman Douglas) also claimed a fourth place finish in the 800 free relay with their combined time of 8:08.00.


Wagner Seahawks @WagnerAthletics
Lucia, Claesson and Nihipali Compete in Day Three Of The 2015 AT&T US Winter Nationals

@SFUSwimming did not miss their chance to take some pics by the tree at the Christmas Party…

LIU Athletics @LIUAthletics
[email protected] Heads Into Final Day of MIT Invite With Multiple Season-Best Times

Swimming news courtesy of NEC.

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About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She is now coaching for Loggerhead Aquatics in her hometown …

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