Wagner To Compete At NEC Championships This Weekend (Hype Video)
The Wagner College swimming and diving team will compete in the 2018 Northeast Conference (NEC) Championships February 21-24 at the Nassau Aquatic Center. Current photo via Mike Lewis/Ola Vista Photography
The Wagner College swimming and diving team will compete in the 2018 Northeast Conference (NEC) Championships February 21-24 at the Nassau Aquatic Center.
The Seahawks, who won the ECAC Winter Championships in December, in addition to all 10 dual meets leading up to the four-day event, will be gunning for their first NEC title since 2014.
After being to finish third in the NEC Preseason Poll by the conference’s head coaches, the Green & White were but put together an undefeated regular season, both at home as well as against conference opponents, beating six out of the seven NEC teams, including defending champion Central Connecticut and second-seeded Bryant.
Last season, Wagner placed third behind the Blue Devils and Bulldogs after record-setting performances by former Seahawk standout Anu Nihipali, who broke her own NEC record in the 200 Backstroke (1:58.32) in her final collegiate race.
Head coach Colin Shannahan, who was named the 2014 NEC Coach of the Year after the Seahawks’ last championship run, will rely on a mix of veteran leadership and young talent on his roster, as the Green and White picked up multiple weekly awards throughout the season and are favored to score points in multiple events.
McNichol comes into the weekend as the defending NEC champion in the 1650 Free, winning last year’s race in 17:08.68. The Downingtown, PA, native also helped the Seahawks to a second-place finish in the 400 Medley Relay (3:45.18) last season, while earning a Top-10 finish at the Frank Elm Invitational in the 1650 Free this season, as she placed ninth in 17.10.86.
Camacho, Wagner’s second captain, was a finalist for the Seahawks in three events last year, placing fifth in the 400 IM (4:30.49), sixth in the 200 Fly (2:06.22), and seventh in the 500 Free (5:03.08) and will try to score more points in this year’s championship meet.
Finn, the third and final captain, left her mark on the championship meet last year when she set personal bests in both the 50 Free (24.97) and 100 Fly (57.18). With this week marking her fourth and final trip to the NEC Championships, the senior brings plenty of experience to the meet, having placed in the top-15 in the 200 Fly at the 2016 Championship meet.
Fellow senior Kirsty Hessing is a foundation in Wagner’s relay teams, as she helped the Seahawks set an NEC record in the 200 Free Relay (1:33.84) at the Frank Elm Invitational last year and helped take the conference crown in the 200 Medley Relay (1:40.73) just a few months later and will once again look to score points for the Green and White across all Freestyle events.
On the diving board, the Seahawks will face a tough challenge in what might be the deciding two events, but can count on more veteran leadership from Lavrich and Solipaca as well as junior Adrianna Warning.
Lavrich made Wagner program history in her first year, becoming the first diver to earn Outstanding Diver of the Meet at NEC Championships and win the 3-meter diving event with a total of 246.65 points and also set the 1-meter school record last season at the ECAC Championships with 244.45 points.
Solipaca also brings plenty of experience to this year’s title meet, having placed in the top-10 at every NEC Championship competition of her three-year collegiate career, highlighted by a seventh-place finish on the 3-meter board last year with 202.80 points.
In her first year on Grymes Hill, junior Adrianna Warning already left her mark on Wagner history, setting a new school record in the 3-meter diving event with a score of 256.50 at the Iona Quad Meet in October, which earned her NEC Diver of the Week honors in the process.
Fellow junior Andrea Gustafsson is one of the favorites to win individual medals at this year’s NEC meet, having the fastest time in the conference in the 100 Free (51.16) coming into this week and having won the NEC Swimmer of the Week award after the Seahawks’ win at the ECAC Championships.
Another leader for the Green and White is Dorian McMenemy, who brings veteran experience from competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and winning the Bay State Games National Athlete of the Year Award for her inspiring comeback from a devastating injury.
Amongst the Wagner sophomore class, Makenna Depuydt is favored to place among the top three in the distance events, having won six races in Wagner’s three meets in the month of January. Depuydt’s recent performances earned her the Wagner Student Athlete of the Month award for the month of January.
Another returner with championship experience is Kelsey Eastman, who brought home a gold medal in the 200 Medley Relay (1:40.73), while helping the Seahawks to a second-place finish in the 200 Free Relay at the NEC Championships (1:34.11) last season.
The Green and White’s freshman class will also look to make an impact in their first go round at the conference meet, starting with Wyeth Spike, who was named the NEC Rookie of the Week after her performance at Saint Francis U and currently has the second-fastest time in the circuit in the 200 Fly (2:05.40).
The second Swede on Wagner’s roster, Ida Eriksen, will swim in her first Championship meet this week, but can bring experience from the Swedish U-18 National Championships to this week’s races, where she picked up three top-four finishes this summer and will look for similar performances this week.
The third freshman to shine so far during the 2018 calendar year was Hande Kivanc, as the first-year Seahawk won three races in Wagner’s last two meets of the regular season and will try to duplicate her recent performances at the title meet this season.
All events will be streamed live and free of charge on NECfrontrow, the NEC’s digital content platform.