Swimming Seahawks Splash Into CAC Championship Action

Senior Rachel Hotchko finished second in the 100-m freestyle during the CAC Championship meet, held at the College Valentine’s Day weekend. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)
Senior Rachel Hotchko finished second in the 100-m freestyle during the CAC Championship meet, held at the College Valentine’s Day weekend. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)

“Swimmers, take your mark” began the 2010 Capital Athletic Conference Men’s and Women’s Swimming Championships, hosted by the College on Valentine’s Day weekend.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland hosted the CAC championships for its fourth consecutive year, as athletes from the University of Mary Washington, York College, Hood College, Marymount University, Gallaudet University, Salisbury University and St. Mary’s attended the event.

The start of the Championships was pushed back to Friday evening, as Governor O’Malley declared Maryland to be in a State of Emergency, preventing non-emergency personnel from driving on the roads.  At 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12, the Championships began timed finals, the first event that excluded individual preliminaries to correct for lost time.

The next two days consisted of preliminaries at 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 5:30 p.m. on Sunday for both men and women events.  Friday’s event consisted of the 200-meter free relay, the 500-meter free, the 200-meter individual medley, the 50-meter free, and and lastly the 400-meter medley relay.

After these events, the St. Mary’s women’s team stood in third place after Mary Washington and Marymount Universities. Mary Washington won four of the five events. On Saturday there were seven events; the 200-meter medley relay, the 400-meter individual medley, the 100-meter fly, the 200-meter free, the 100-meter breaststroke, the 100-meter backstroke, and the 800-meter free medley. Mary Washington won four of these events, followed by the Seahawks winning two and Marymount winning the final event.

With wins in the 400 individual medley and the 100 butterfly, the St. Mary’s women’s team bumped Marymount out of second place.  The final six events, consisting of the 1650-meter free, the 200 back, the 100 free, the 200 breast, the 200 fly and the 400 free relay, took place on Sunday.

Overall, the St. Mary’s women’s team had their “highest point total ever,” reported Coach Andre Barbins, now in his 12th season with the Seahawks. Their score of 628.5 led them to coming in second to Mary Washington’s 926.5 points. Marymount came in third with 470 points, closely followed by York College. Salisbury, Gallaudet and Hood placed fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

The St. Mary’s fans enjoyed watching and supporting their swim teams. “I thought it was a well organized event with a very competitive atmosphere,” said first-year College student Marie Rau.  Second-year Katie Lackler appreciated “the support she saw between the teammates in every race, especially during the longer relays.” The St. Mary’s women’s swim team came together well throughout the season. “The seniors did a great job” and the “freshman really stepped up throughout the year,” said Coach Barbins. “The overall conference performance was great.”

Men’s swimming came in third place during the event for the second season in a row, besting Salisbury University by one point with a final score of 390.  First-place Mary Washington scored 984 points, followed by York College with 664.  Junior captain Jackson Webb set a school record for his 1:58.22 time in the 200 butterfly, and freshman Evan Wollman took first place in the 200 breaststroke to earn his first All-CAC award.

“I think we performed really well during champs.  We came out strong on day one and we were able to stay strong throughout the weekend,” said Aaron Page, a junior on the men’s swimming team.  “We know that everyone comes in swimming their best, but we are ready to swim with our best, too.

Both teams continue their seasons with last weekend’s Seahawk Invitational, their final meet before the NCAA division III Championships during the week of Mar. 17 in Minneapolis, MN.

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