The Binghamton women’s swimming and diving team took part in the America East (AE) Conference Championships this past weekend. The event spanned four days and ended just as it has for the past three seasons: with UMBC easily taking the title. The Retrievers tallied 936.5 points, defeating second-place New Hampshire by 219 points.
The Bearcats, who recorded 364.5 points, placed fifth in the five-team field. Despite finishing in last place, BU improved its point total from last year’s championship, when it tallied 329.5 points.
“We’re headed in a really good direction, a very positive direction,” said BU head coach Brad Smith. “If we work on being more disciplined next year, in addition to maturity of our freshmen and sophomores, we’re headed in a great place and direction.”
The story of the weekend for BU was the performance of its freshmen. Six of the 10 swimmers who reached event finals for the Bearcats were rookies.
“One of the things that helped with the way our freshmen handled it is that we have so many of them this year,” Smith said. “There is confidence in numbers for them.”
Multiple Bearcats broke records in the pool during the championships. Freshman Rebecca Nelson broke the 200 IM freshman record by .18 seconds while teammate Morgan Harrington set a freshman record in the 1,000-yard freestyle with a split time of 10:31.43.
Freshman Abby Koerwitz also made a huge impact for BU. She was a finalist in four different events, tied for the most of any Bearcat on the day. Her preliminary time in the 100-yard backstroke broke a school record that had been set in 2003.
“The [freshmen] are focused; they’re mature beyond their years, they’re goal-oriented and they have confidence,” Smith said.
On the diving board, another rookie made her mark. Freshman Jaime Campbell took third in the three-meter dive and came in eighth place in the one-meter dive. She is one of only two BU divers on the roster.
“Jaime [Campbell] did a terrific job; I can’t believe how well she managed [the pressure],” Smith said. “What she did on three-meter was spectacular, especially in the last two rounds of diving under that pressure as a freshman.”
The most exciting race of the weekend may have been the 200-yard butterfly. Sophomore Brooke Pettis was out-touched for second place by only .06 of a second to finish in third.
Pettis led BU, bringing in the most points on the BU squad. She also finished third in the 100-yard butterfly.
“When I talk about Brooke, I always talk about heart,” Smith said. “She may not be the fastest girl … but when you get her in that race situation, you just trust in her to put her hand on that wall first.”
There were a total of six BU swimmers who were finalists in multiple events in the championships. Junior Maria Trivino competed in the 400 IM and 200 IM and finished fifth and seventh, respectively. Classmate Courtney Foley took home eighth in the 100 free and 10th in the 50 free.
UMBC had nine total winners on the day. The Retrievers’ 936.5 points set an AE record and became the first team to eclipse the 900-point mark.
“UMBC does a lot of things very well; it’s a credit to the coaching staff and the University,” Smith said.