RETRIEVER SWIMMING AND DIVING RETURNS TO ACTION WEDNESDAY
Geza Szabo and the Retrievers host Howard on Wednesday afternoon.
Baltimore, Md.-After a five-week break from dual meet competition, the UMBC men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams return to action Wednesday, hosting Howard at 2 p.m. at the UMBC Natatorium. The women enter the meet with a perfect 7-0 mark, while the men are 4-3 on the season.
New Year’s in the Sunshine State
During the hiatus, the Retrievers spent a week training in Boca Raton, Fla. In addition to an unscored exhibition dual meet against Wagner and Notre Dame, many swimmers competed in the Ocean Mile Swim in Ft. Lauderdale. Freshman Daniele Surkovich (Ellicott City, Md./Wilde Lake) won the women’s competition, completing the mile in 18 minutes, 3 seconds. Freshman Freddie Reitz (Ellicott City, Md./Howard) finished eighth overall on the men’s side with a time of 17 minutes, 34 seconds. As a team, the Retriever men won the event, which is sponsored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame, with a combined time of 1:31.34, while the women placed second in 1:35.39.
UMBC Records Falling
Thirteen school records have fallen this season, including all four diving marks and four of five women’s relay records. Junior diver Jeff Salgado (Glen Rock, Pa./South Western/St. Bonaventure) shattered his own 1-meter mark of 301.65 with a score of 312.45 against Bucknell on Dec. 3, the second time this season he has broken that record, and his score of 301.28 on the 3-meter board at Binghamton on Nov. 5 bested his own record of 300.98, which he had set just a week earlier against Navy. On the women’s side, junior Ashley Houghton (Frederick, Md./Urbana/Pittsburgh) smashed teammate Katie Spohnholz’s previous 3-meter record of 270.60, set last season, with her own score of 293.40 against Navy. Houghton also broke Tammy Hendricks’ seven-year-old 1-meter mark of 271.50 with her score of 273.59 in the same meet.
The 50-yard freestyle record fell three times in a matter of hours on the first day of the George Mason Patriot Invitational Nov. 18. Surkovich swam a 24.13 in the preliminaries, besting teammate Lindsey Engler’s 24.24, which was set last season. Just minutes later, freshman Robin Klein (McMinnville, Ore./McMinnville) took down Surkovich’s mark with a 24.06 in a swim-off to determine if she would swim in the finals or the consolation heat. In the evening session, Surkovich reclaimed the record, winning the event in 23.99.
Sophomore Meghan Sackett (Cockeysville, Md./Dulaney/Maryland) took down four individual school records in the month of November. First she shattered UMBC’s 16-year-old 1,000-yard freestyle record by nearly 12 seconds, swimming a time of 10:04.92 at Seton Hall Nov. 6. Sue Herzog’s 10:16.71 had stood as the school best since 1989. Sackett next broke Herzog’s 500-free mark of 4:54.20, also set in 1989, against Towson on Nov. 12 with a time of 4:53.57, which stood for a week before she lowered the record again to 4:50.42 at the George Mason Patriot Invitational. Sackett also smashed Herzog’s 1,650-free mark by nearly 12 seconds at the George Mason Invite with a time of 16:47.07. Like her other three former records, Herzog’s 16:58.57 had stood as the school best since 1989. Finally, Sackett bested teammate Agnes Stanislawska’s 200-free mark of 1:51.26, set in 2004, with a time of 1:51.22 at George Mason.
The Retriever women also broke four of five school relay records at the George Mason Patriot Invitational. Klein, Engler, senior Elyse Gibson (Nova Scotia, Canada/Queen Elizabeth) and Surkovich bested the 10-year-old 200-free relay mark of 1:37.32 with their time of 1:36.48, while Surkovich, Klein, Sackett and Gibson lowered the 11-year-old 400-free relay record of 3:31.29 to 3:29.02. In addition, Surkovich, Stanislawska, Klein and Sackett reset the 11-year-old 800-free relay record of 7:36.64 with their time of 7:34.75, and Stanislawska, Klein, Sackett and Engler swam a 1:47.67 in the 200-medley relay to best the 2003 mark of 1:48.06.
Retrievers Make NCAA Cuts
Salgado and Houghton have each qualified for the NCAA Zone Regionals. Salgado made the cut on the 1-meter board with his score of 312.45. He needed a 300 to qualify. Houghton has achieved the cut on both boards, as her scores of 271.50 on the 1-meter and 293.40 on the 3-meter surpass the qualifying marks of 265 and 280, respectively. In addition, Sackett has achieved a ‘B’ cut in both the 500-free and 1,650-free with her time of 4:50.42 and 16:47.07, respectively.
UMBC Ranks High in Mid-Major Poll
The Retriever men and women both rank in the top 10 in the Mid-Major Division I Power Ranking. After opening the season at the No. 3 spot, the women are fourth in the latest poll, less than three-tenths of a point behind third-place Eastern Michigan. The men, ranked seventh in the first poll, dropped two spots to ninth. Harvard sits atop both the men’s and women’s rankings. Several of UMBC’s dual meet opponents also rank in the top 25, including Navy’s men (2), Navy’s women (12), New Hampshire’s women (17), Binghamton’s men (19), Binghamton’s women (22) and Rider’s men (25). In addition, UNC-Wilmington, one of the Retrievers’ opponents at the George Mason Patriot Invitational, made the list, with the Seahawk men and women both ranked 13th.
The Power Rankings are a relative indication of a team’s strength in dual meets. The mid-major poll supports institutions that do not benefit from large football and basketball television agreements and are based on each team’s best dual meet lineup as judged and submitted by participating teams.
Retrievers Garner Weekly Conference Honors
Sackett won four consecutive America East Women’s Swimmer of the Week honors to open the season. She earned the honor on Nov. 1 after winning eight events in three meets and coming within six-hundredths of a second of breaking UMBC’s 500-free mark, then again on Nov. 8 after her record-breaking performance at Seton Hall, in which she defeated her closest competition by nearly 30 seconds in the 1,000-free, swimming the event for the first time this season, and also won two other events on the weekend. On Nov. 15, Sackett received the award for a third time after winning the 200- and 500-free and the 400-free relay against Towson and breaking the school’s 16-year-old 500-free record. She garnered her fourth consecutive conference honor on Nov. 22 after breaking three individual school records, three school relay records and five meet records and winning four individual events and two relays.
Houghton was named America East Women’s Diver of the Week each of the first three weeks of the season after sweeping the diving events at all six of UMBC’s dual meets during that time for a total of 12 individual victories, including her record-breaking performance against Navy.
Three UMBC men have also earned conference performer of the week nods. Junior Ryan Karrer (Linwood, N.J./Mainland Regional) was named Men’s Swimmer of the Week on Nov. 1 after sweeping the distance freestyle events in each of the Retrievers’ first three meets and breaking New Hampshire’s Swasey Pool record in the 1,000-free, then again on Dec. 6 after sweeping the distance events against Bucknell for the fifth time this season. On Nov. 15, freshman Justin Bronson (Oshawa, Ontario/Msgr. Paul Dwyer) and Salgado were tabbed Men’s Co-Swimmer and Co-Diver of the Week, respectively. Bronson won both the 200- and 500-free against Towson, posting what was then UMBC’s fastest time of the year in the 500-free despite swimming the event for the first time this season. Salgado swept the diving events against Towson for the fourth straight meet.
Lady Retrievers Knock Off Defending Champs
UMBC’s women defeated defending America East champion New Hampshire, 141-102, on Oct. 30, to remain perfect at 3-0 on the season. The Wildcats had not lost a dual meet since Jan. 19, 2004, at Northeastern, a streak of nine consecutive dual meet victories. The Retrievers won all but four events on the day.
At 7-0, the women are off to their best start since 2003-04, when they won the first eight dual meets of the season and finished the year 12-1… The men open the season 4-3 for the first time since the 2000-01 campaign. They rebounded from a rough start that year to finish with a 7-4 overall record and Northeast Conference and Eastern College Athletic Conference titles… The Retriever men broke three Swasey Pool records in the Oct. 30 dual meet at New Hampshire. Karrer set the 1,000-free mark at 9:33.04, while the 400-medley relay team of freshman Milos Djukic (Novi Sad, Serbia & Montenegro/Svetozar Markovic), sophomore Scott Auchter (Wernersville, Pa./Wilson), Bronson and senior Adam Blais (Westbrook, Maine/Westbrook) lowered the pool mark with a time of 3:34.59. In addition, Djukic’s leadoff split of 52.65 in the 100-back was a new pool record… The women have dominated their opponents in dual meets this season, never winning by less than 31 points… The men have also been dominant in their four victories, winning by an average of 44 points, while two of their three losses have come down to the final relay and were by nine and three points, respectively.