The University of Maine women’s swimming and diving team headed south to Worcester, Mass. for the 2016 America East Swimming and Diving Championships held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute from Thursday, Feb. 11 through Sunday, Feb. 14. The Black Bears were joined by The University of New Hampshire (UNH), Vermont, Binghamton and The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).
The first day of the championships consisted of three events: 1-meter diving, 800-yard freestyle relay and the 200-yard medley relay.
The Black Bears had two divers place in the 1-meter diving finals. Third-year diver Hayli Weitz posted a score of 205.5 to secure fifth place. Her teammate, second-year diver Kayla Bousfield, took seventh with a score of 175.30. The event was won by fourth-year diver Maggie Preston from Vermont. She posted a score of 248.9 to edge out fourth-year diver Coco Darelius of UMBC, who garnered an impressive 214.55. Preston won the 3-meter title in last year’s championships en route to being named the 2015 Most Outstanding Diver.
The second event of the day was highlighted by a record-setting performance from UNH. The Wildcats set both a meet and conference record by posting a blistering 7:16.14 in the 800-yard freestyle relay. The Black Bears relay team, comprised of first-years Megan McGillivray, Shayla Rose Kleisinger, Alison Brodt and second-year Chloe Adams, took fourth place with a time of 7:36.30.
The third and final event of the day saw another record smashed as UMBC edged out Vermont to win the 200-yard medley relay. The Retrievers were clocked at 1:41.26 to break the meet and conference record previously set by UNH. The Black Bears fell just short of the podium by .02 seconds and settled for fourth place with a time of 1:45.93. The relay team was comprised of third-year Tessa Lindsley, fourth-year Taylor Sharp and first-years Emma Blackdeer and Julianna McDonald.
The Black Bears would end day one of the championships in fourth place with 86 total points.
Day two of the championships featured the 500-yard freestyle, the 200-yard individual medley, the 50-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle relay.
The Black Bears had four swimmers compete in the 500-yard freestyle. Brodt finished first for the Black Bears in the B Final (ninth overall) to pick up nine points with a time of 5:02.12. Adams finished just behind her in 11th with a time of 5:03.49, to pick up another six points. Kleisinger and Sharp finished 15th and 16th with times of 5:05.60 and 5:05.76, respectively. The event was dominated by UNH, as they took four of the top eight spots, which included a sweep of the top three spots, to earn 67 points.
The Black Bears entered two swimmers in the second event of the day, the 200-yard individual medley. McGillivary took 13th with a time of 2:10.11, while fellow teammate Blackdeer finished 16th with a time of 2:13.09. The duo picked up a combined five points for Maine.
Maine would pick up 26 points in event number three, the 50-yard freestyle. Second-year Emily Borger highlighted the Black Bears with a fourth place finish. She clocked in with a time of 23.76. McDonald took 10th place with a time of 24:01.
The final event of day two was the 200-yard freestyle relay. The Black Bears’ team of Borger, McDonald, Lindsley and Adams earned another fourth place finish with a time of 1:35.36 to pick up 30 points.
The Black Bears would finish day two in fourth place again. UNH held a 17 point edge over defending champion UMBC heading into day three.
Day three of the championships was a busy day featuring seven events: 3-meter diving, the 400-yard individual medley, the 100-yard butterfly, the 200-yard freestyle, the 100-yard breaststroke, the 100-yard backstroke and the 400-yard medley relay.
Maine’s lone participant in the 3-meter diving finals was Weitz, who took fifth with a score of 193.35. The finish netted the Black Bears 14 points. The event was won by UMBC’s Darelius who avenged an earlier defeat in the 1-meter dive to Vermont’s Preston. Darelius was awarded 261.00 points while Preston earned 238.20.
In the 400-yard individual medley, the only Black Bear to advance to the final round was Kleisinger, who picked up one point with a time of 4:39:33 for 16th place.
Second-year Emma Pontius was the lone Black Bear representative in the 100-yard butterfly finals. Pontius swam the event in 56.68 to pick up 13 points.
Maine had three swimmers advance to the 200-yard freestyle finals. Adams and Brodt were joined by fourth-year Courtney Norman. Adams led the Black Bears with a fourth place finish with a time of 1:51.27. Brodt touched at 1:55.18 to grab 13th place and Norman just after her at 1:55.77. The trio picked up a combined 21 points for the team.
The Black Bears picked up seventh, 10th and 15th place finishes in the 100-yard breaststroke. Blackdeer lead the way with a time of 1:05.34. Third-year Cecelia McEachern finished with a time of 1:07.17 while fourth-year Samantha Mathieu recorded a time of 1:08.27. Despite the absence of a victory or top three finish, Maine picked up 21 points in the event.
Maine picked up another 19 points in the 100-yard backstroke. McGillivary took ninth with a time of 57:39. She was followed by Borger in 11th (58:17), fourth-year Amber Murray who took 14th with a time of 59:52 and McDonald who took 16th with a time of 59:82.
The last event of the day was the 400-yard medley relay. The Black Bears ended the long day on a high note taking fourth place with a time of 3:52.98 to earn a big 30 points. The relay team consisted of McGillivary, Blackdeer, Sharp and Adams.
After three full days, the Black Bears maintained their fourth place position with 301 total points. The Retrievers of UMBC overtook first place and led UNH 626 to 588.5 heading into the final day of the championships.