Villanova Women and Xavier Men Crowned 2021 Big East Champions


It was an explosive night at the SPIRE Institute as the 2021 Big East Championships came to a close in Geneva, Ohio after four days of action. The evening featured the fastest-seeded heats of the women’s and men’s 1650 free, followed by the finals of the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 back, women’s 3-meter diving, and the 400 free relay timed finals. Entering the session, the Villanova women and the Xavier men still held substantial leads in the team standings.



  1. Villanova 584
  2. UConn 543
  3. Xavier 369
  4. Seton Hall 319
  5. Providence 155
  6. Butler 148


  1. Xavier 573
  2. Villanova 496
  3. Seton Hall 415
  4. Providence 335.5
  5. UConn 67.5

Women’s 1650 Free Timed Finals

  • Big East Record: 16:13.94, Rachel Burnett (West Virginia) — 2012

Top 3:

  1. Niamh Hofland (UConn)- 16:27.97
  2. Nicole Welch (Villanova)- 16:53.38
  3. Brenna McLaughlin (Villanova)- 17:07.57

Starting off the session with a win for UConn was Niamh Hofland, winning the 1650 free timed final by 25.41s at 16:27.97. Villanova’s deep roster allowed them another powerful finish, going 2-3-4 in this event, led by Nicole Welch (16:53.38), Brenna McLaughlin (17:07.57), and Emily Provenzo (17:10.59).

Picking up nine points for 9th place was Villanova’s Andrea Fong (17:26.28), the same number of points equivalent to winning the consolation final if this event was prelims/finals.

Men’s 1650 Free Timed Finals

  • Big East Record: 15:05.45, Bryan Draganosky — 2013

Top 3:

  1. Andrew Martin (Xavier)- 15:26.91
  2. Jake McIntyre (Villanova)- 15:31.58
  3. Brett Wilson (Xavier)- 16:03.02

Starting off the men’s meet with a win in the 1650 free was Andrew Martin (15:26.91), who led an Xavier 1-3-5 finish in this event. Teammates Brett Wilson (16:03.02) and Daniel Stroh (16:11.36) finished 3rd and 5th respectively, totaling 50 points from the event alone.

Placing second for Villanova was Jake McIntyre, finishing 4.67s behind winner Martin. Meanwhile, Seton Hall out-scored Providence in this event 26-25.

Women’s 200 Back Finals

  • Big East Record: 1:53.86, Kelly Ryan (Notre Dame) — 2013

Top 3:

  1. Audrey Pastorek (Villanova)- 1:59.24
  2. Kayla Mendonca (UConn)- 1:59.92
  3. Kali Fischer (Xavier)- 2:00.39

Heading into the final 50, UConn’s Kayla Mendonca was leading Villanova’s Audrey Pastorek by three-tenths. As Mendonca faded off the finishing pace, Pastorek pulled away with a closing 30.55 split to win the race at 1:59.24. Mendonca settled for second at 1:59.92, staying under two minutes.

Xavier’s Kali Fischer took third place at 2:00.39 while Villanova’s Hannah Wasmuth touched out UConn’s Caitlin Spencer by 0.01s for fourth 2:00.76 to 2:00.77.

Winning the consolation final was Xavier’s Emma Swabb at 2:01.79, which would have been seventh in the championship final.

Men’s 200 Back Finals

  • Big East Record: 1:42.11, Andrew Carbone (Georgetown) — 2020

Top 3:

  1. Alexander Sironen (Xavier)- 1:47.17
  2. Ross Patano (Seton Hall)- 1:48.32
  3. Benjamin Quon (Xavier)- 1:48.42

Xavier nailed another big point pick-up in the championship final, finishing 1-2-4 led by champion Alexander Sironen (1:47.17), who won by 1.15s over Seton Hall’s Ross Patano (1:48.32). Placing third by a tenth of a second was Xavier’s Benjamin Quon at 1:48.42.

Tying for fourth place and both earning 14.5 points for their teams were Xavier’s Nicholas Mahoney and Villanova’s Ethan Brown, both swimming 1:49.08 to touch out UConn’s Thomas Schurer (1:49.09) by one one-hundredth.

Women’s 100 Free Finals

  • Big East Record: 48.33, Kayla Andrews (West Virginia) — 2008

Top 3:

  1. Millicent Routledge (Villanova)- 50.25
  2. Abbey Berloco (Villanova)- 50.94
  3. Natalie Heim (Seton Hall)/Alexis Elkovitch (Villanova)- 51.20

Picking up a 1-2-3 finish in the 100 free was Villanova, led by top two finishers Millicent Routledge (50.25) and Abbey Berloco (50.94). Tying for third place were Villanova’s Alexis Elkovitch and Seton Hall’s Natalie Heim, touching simultaneously at 51.20.

Xavier’s Clara Keiser won the consolation final at 52.00, two-tenths ahead of Seton Hall’s Julie Stankiewicz (52.20).

Men’s 100 Free Finals

  • Big East Record: 42.43, Joao de Lucca (Louisville) — 2013

Top 3:

  1. Christian Thomas (Xavier)- 44.38
  2. Ben Laclair (Seton Hall)- 44.59
  3. Thomas Minar (Seton Hall)- 44.60

Touching first by a two-tenths margin was Xavier’s Christian Thomas, who held off Seton’s Hall’s Ben Laclair 44.38 to 44.59. Placing third to give Seton Hall a 2-3 finish was Thomas Minar, who stopped the clock 0.01s behind his teammate at 44.60. Teammates Ethan Wing (45.41) and Jared Ritz (46.02) finished fourth and fifth for Xavier.

Winning the consolation final was Villanova’s Reid Hutcherson, swimming a sub-46 effort of 45.97. That time would have placed 5th in the championship final, yet had to settle for nine points.

Women’s 200 Breast Finals

  • Big East Record: 2:07.69, Gisselle Kohoyda (Louisville) — 2012

Top 3:

  1. Angela Gambardella (UConn)- 2:14.49
  2. Katelyn Walsh (UConn)- 2:15.03
  3. Margaret Kleinsmith (Villanova)- 2:17.28

After Niamh Hofland‘s win in the 1650 free, teammates Angela Gambardella (2:14.49) and Katelyn Walsh (2:15.03) finished 1-2 for UConn. Behind them was a 3-4-5-7 finish from Villanova, led by second runner-up Margaret Kleinsmith (2:17.28).

Xavier’s Julianne Libler won the consolation final at 2:21.55, dropping 1.65s from her prelims effort.

Men’s 200 Breast Finals

  • Big East Record: 1:54.85, Carlos Almeida (Louisville) — 2010

Top 3:

  1. Richard Nolan (Villanova)- 2:00.26
  2. Francis Prikasky (Villanova)- 2:01.36
  3. Cameron Weese (Xavier)- 2:01.65

After sweeping the IM events in Geneva, Villanova’s Richard Nolan picked up another Big East title, this time in the 200 breast with his winning time of 2:00.26. His teammate Francis Prikasky swam 2:01.36, holding off Xavier’s Cameron Weese (2:01.65), to give the Villanova men a 1-2 finish.

Xavier’s Davis Klein picked up nine additional points for his team with his consolation final winning time of 2:04.34.

Women’s 200 Fly Finals

  • Big East Record: 1:54.53, Amanda Nugent (West Virginia) — 2012

Top 3:

  1. Kelly Montesi (Villanova)-1:58.94
  2. Grace Ali (UConn)- 2:01.33
  3. Taylor Hogan (Xavier)- 2:02.55

The only swimmer to break two minutes in the 200 fly was Villanova’s Kelly Montesi, improving from her 2:01.05 morning effort with a 1:58.94, powered by her strong 29.95 split on the third 50. Hitting second place was UConn’s Grace Ali while Xavier’s Taylor Hogan hit 2:02.55 to place third.

Giving Butler a consolation final win was Annah van Gheem, swimming 2:05.56 to hold off Xavier’s Anna Baker (2:05.79)

Men’s 200 Fly Finals

  • Big East Record: 1:43.51, Pedro Oliveira (Louisville) — 2009

Top 3:

  1. Justin Viotto (Providence)- 1:48.23
  2. Justin Oosterwyk (Seton Hall)- 1:48.24
  3. Nolan Danus (Villanova)- 1:49.00

Providence’s Justin Viotto and Seton Hall’s Justin Oosterwyk touched just one one-hundredth of a second apart to close out the individual events for the meet in the 200 fly. It was Viotto who took the win over Oosterwyk 1:48.23 to 1:48.24 with his powerful 28.74 attack on the closing 50. Villanova’s Nolan Danus was the third swimmer to go sub-1:50 with his time of 1:49.00.

Xavier’s Joseph Mullen won the consolation final at 1:50.25, shaving time off his morning swim of 1:52.63.

Women’s 3-Meter Diving Finals

Top 3:

  1. Elizabeth Drab (UConn)- 522.25
  2. Ana Laura Faoro (UConn)- 510.25
  3. Andrea Holtz (Villanova)- 476.70

Four of the eight women’s 3-meter diving finals were from UConn. Their 1-2-5-6 finish contributed 64 diving points alone to UConn’s total team score before the final relay. Winning the event by 12 points was Elizabeth Drab (522.25) over teammate Ana Laura Faoro (510.25).

Villanova’s Andrea Holtz placed third at 476.70, ahead of fourth-place teammate Danielle Scarano (471.94), combining for 31 diving points.

Women’s 400 Free Relay Timed Final

  • Big East Record: 3:16.89, Louisville — 2013

Top 3:

  1. Villanova- 3:22.21
  2. Seton Hall- 3:25.29
  3. Xavier- 3:25.73

The Villanova women capped off a dominant meet by winning the final event by three full seconds at 3:22.21. The quartet of Kelly Montesi (50.42), Abbey Berloco (50.42), Alexis Elkovitch (50.87), Millicent Routledge (50.50) all split sub-51 to win the 400 free relay. Montesi, who won the 200 fly earlier in the event, would have placed second in the individual final with her 50.42 lead-off.

Heading into the anchor legs, Seton Hall had a 1.33s lead on Xavier, that is until Kali Fischer hit the water for Xavier. Fischer opened her anchor leg in a 23.37, diminishing Seton Hall’s lead to 0.55s. Fischer nearly down Seton Hall anchor Cornelia Jerresand (51.02), yet was able to hold off Fischer 3:25.29 to 3:25.73. Fischer had the fastest 100 split of the event with her blistering 50.13 leg.

Men’s 400 Free Relay Timed Final

  • Big East Record: 2:52.38, Louisville — 2013

Top 3:

  1. Xavier- 2:57.96
  2. Seton Hall- 2:59.49
  3. Villanova- 3:04.65

Consistency became the major weapon in the 400 free relay, as Xavier’s winning relay all swam 44s to win at 2:57.96 with the efforts of Christian Thomas (44.70), Ethan Wing (44.23), Alexander Sironen (44.56), Andrew Martin (44.47). Also breaking three minutes to place second was Seton Hall at 2:59.49, featuring Ben Laclair‘s 43.96 anchor leg.

Rounding out the men’s 400 free relays were Villanova (3:04.65) and Providence (3:05.99), featuring Will Layden‘s 45.24 anchor leg.

Final Team Scores

Both the Villanova women and Xavier men have extended their winning streaks in 2021, with Villanova earning title No. 8 while Xavier earned title No. 3. The Xavier men have now won their sixth Big East title in the last eight years.


  • CHAMPION: Villanova, 906.5 points
  • RUNNER-UP: UConn, 838 points
  • BRONZE: Xavier, 535 points
  • FOURTH: Seton Hall, 505.5 points
  • FIFTH: Providence, 214 points
  • SIXTH: Butler, 202 points


  • CHAMPION: Xavier, 862.5 points
  • RUNNER-UP: Villanova, 685.5 points
  • BRONZE: Seton Hall, 645 points
  • FOURTH: Providence, 461.5 points
  • FIFTH: UConn, 93.5 points {Diving Only}

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About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick has had the passion for swimming since his first dive in the water in middle school, immediately falling for breaststroke. Nick had expanded to IM events in his late teens, helping foster a short, but memorable NCAA Div III swim experience at Calvin University. While working on his B.A. …

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