Swimming and Diving Teams Earn First-Ever National Rankings by CollegeSwimming.com
SOMERS, Wis. – Both the UMBC men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are ranked in the Endless Pools/CollegeSwimming.com Top-25 for the first time in school history, the website announced on Tuesday afternoon. After winning their ninth America East title in ten years, the men’s team occupies the 18th spot in the rankings, while the women are ranked 23rd after placing second at the conference meet. Women’s champion New Hampshire is ranked 19th.
“This is a tribute to the teams’ great performances this past weekend at the America East Championships and our program as a whole,” said head coach Chad Cradock. “We’re extremely proud of our athletes and everything that they have accomplished.”
The Retrievers’ men’s squad completed a perfect dual meet season by defeating East Carolina, 168-132, back on Jan. 26 at the UMBC Aquatic Complex. UMBC also took down local rival Navy, as well as Old Dominion during the season. The team then completed the season by scoring an America East Championships meet record 1,075 points over the weekend in Orono, Maine.
At the conference championships, the men topped the standings ahead of Binghamton and host Maine. As a team, the Retrievers broke ten pool records, five school records, four meet records, and three conference records.
Junior Mohamed Hussein (Cairo, Egypt/Victory College), the meet’s Most Outstanding Male Swimmer, won three events, in addition to aiding the 200, 400, and 800-yd freestyle relays to capture gold. Senior captain Andrew Eckhoff (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford) swept the diving events and earned the Most Outstanding Male Diver award for the second-straight season.
Hussein started his meet by breaking the UMBC school record with his 200 free split of 1:36.83 as the Retrievers won the 800 free relay. He followed it up by breaking conference, meet, pool, and school records while winning the 200 IM (1:45.67), as well as the 100 (48.53) and 200 backstroke events (1:45.45).
On the boards, Eckhoff continued his domination of the conference by taking both events for the second year in a row. Eckhoff, who has already qualified for the NCAA Zones meet, topped the standings in the 1-meter competition with a score of 310.10 in the finals, and then set an America East meet record with 346.85 points in the finals of the 3-meter event.
The women earn their ranking after posting a 5-3 mark during the dual meet season and placing second at the conference championships. In Maine, the women’s squad snapped six pool records, as well as three UMBC school records.
On the boards, Bean won her first conference title by besting the field in the 1-meter competition with a score of 267.45. She also won a silver medal in the 3-meter event by scoring 267.00 points. She will join Eckhoff, as well as classmate Ryan Green (Ellicott City, Md./Centennial) and freshman Corinna Darelius (Rye, N.Y./Rye), at the Zones meet in early March.
In the pool, Tadena led the way for the Retrievers by picking up wins in the 100 free (50.83) and 100 breaststroke (1:02.90), setting a school record in the latter. In addition she helped lead the 200 medley, 200 free, and 400 free relays to victory, with the freestyle events earning pool records. The 200 medley relay of junior Klara Pavelkova (Prague, Czech Republic/Gymnasium Pripotocni), senior Claire Barron (Lowestoft, England/Benjamin Britten/New Orleans), Tadena, and junior Erika Ronning (Western Springs, Ill./Lyons Township), meanwhile, set new school and pool marks. Pavelkova also set school and pool top-times in the 100 backstroke event.
The Retrievers will now send a group of athletes to Cambridge, Mass. for the ECAC Championships. The post-season meet will be held at Harvard University from Mar. 1-3.