W&M Men Win 800 FR for 9th-Straight Year to Open 2019 CAA Champs

2019 Colonial Athletic Association Conference Championships

  • Wednesday, February 20-Saturday, February 23
  • Christiansburg Aquatics Center, Christiansburg, Virginia (Eastern Time Zone)
  • Defending Champion: James Madison women, William & Mary Men
  • Live Video
  • Live Results
  • Championship Central

The 2019 CAA Championships opened up today in Christiansburg, VA, with the 200 medley and 800 free relays for both men and women, as well as the men’s 1m diving. The William & Mary men are looking for their 5th-straight conference title, while the women of James Madison are aiming to defend last year’s crown.

In the first swimming event of the night, the women’s 200 medley relay, the Drexel women just slid by William & Mary, thanks largely to 24.8 and 27.36 splits on the front half of the race by Alexa Kutch and Gaby Rudy. The Tribe came on strong with back half splits of 24.34 by Katie Sell and 22.39 by Annie Miller, but couldn’t quite run down Drexel, who won 1:40.39 to 1:40.50. Northeastern’s Megan Clark nearly broke the 22 second mark, anchoring in 22.06.

Both William & Mary and Towson were under the old meet and CAA record in the men’s 200 medley relay. The Tribe were able to build up a strong lead on the first two legs, as Colin Demers led off in 22.20 and Devin McNulty went 24.23 on the breast leg. They needed that lead, as Towson’s Jack Saunderson, a USA National Team thanks to his big performances this summer, split 20.23 on the fly leg, which would be a respectable time in a NCAA final, and Matthew Essing anchored in 19.19. But William & Mary hung on to win 1:26.71 to 1:27.39.

The William & Mary women led the 800 free relay for the first 775 yards. Megan Bull led off for the Tribe with a 1:46.89, and W&M had a three-second lead as the final swimmers dove into the water. But JMU’s Bonnie Zhang split 1:44.97 on the final leg, closing on the W&M anchor, Maria Oceguera, and finally catching her on the final turn, then sprinted ahead the last stretch to win 7:14.78 to 7:15.75. Last year, Bull led off for W&M in 1:48.45, and Zhang anchored for JMU in 1:47.27, as W&M won 7:15.12 to 7:17.23.

Meanwhile, the William & Mary men came into tonight having won the 800 free relay eight-straight times here. Last year, Drexel made things interesting, coming within four-tenths of a second of breaking W&M’s streak, but the Tribe looked determined to not let it get that closed this year. Ben Skopic put W&M in the lead after the first leg with a 1:37.90, and they got a pair of 1:36 splits from Colin Wright and Eric Grimes, with Carter Kale‘s 1:40.0 sandwiched in between, giving them an overall time of 6:31.47 and an almost-three second margin of victory. Drexel was in 2nd for most of the race, but Saunderson anchored Towson in 1:36.21 and touched just ahead of Drexel, 6:34.28 to 6:34.33.

After the first day, it’s an incredibly tight race at the top of the women’s standings, as Drexel, JMU, and W&M all are tied with 68 points. Towson is in 4th with 65, followed by UNCW (56), Northeastern (54) and Delaware (50).

On the men’s side, Drexel has the lead, but look for W&M to start closing that gap tomorrow, as they are always in a deficit after the first day as they do not have a dive team.

Men’s Scores After Day 1:

  1. Drexel – 109
  2. Towson – 99
  3. UNCW – 91
  4. W&M – 80
  5. Delaware – 28

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Swim Mom

Congratulations! Go Tribe!!!

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