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UMBC Swimming and Diving's Cantwell Named America East Winter Scholar-Athlete
JuniorTina Cantwell will swim the 100-meter breaststroke at the USA Olympic Trials at the end of June.
Cantwell joins the ranks of tennis standouts Lana Khvalina and Cornelia Carapcea and track and field standout Adam Grossman as the only Retrievers to garner a scholar-athlete award for their respective sports since UMBC joined the America East for the 2003-04 season.
Khvalina leads all representatives with an America East Scholar-Athlete of the Year nod in 2004 to go along with the scholar-athlete accolade for tennis during the 2003-04 season, while Grossman was named the indoor and outdoor track and field scholar-athlete in 2003-04 and 2004-05 as well as the outdoor scholar athlete in 2005-06. Carapcea earned the tennis honor in 2006-07.
Cantwell, a junior psychology major with a 3.43 overall GPA, set a new school record in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.58) and was part of the school and meet record-setting 400-yard medley relay (3:49.11) at the 2008 America East Championships. She claimed gold for the second year in a row in the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes with NCAA provisional qualifying times of 1:03.58 and 2:15.92 and finished the 2007-08 season undefeated in the 200 breast. The junior is also a part of the school record-holding 200-yard medley relay (1:47.04), which was set in 2007, and set new Rider Coppola Pool records in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes at the beginning of the 2007-08 season.
“Anytime an athlete goes undefeated in a season, it’s a pretty big accomplishment,” UMBC assistant coach Chris Gibeau said. In order to do that, a swimmer has to have a high level of consistency, which Tina definitely exhibited this past season.”
The last time Cantwell lost a race dates back to Oct. 28, 2006 when she placed second to Navy’s Mallory Dietrich in the 200-meter breaststroke by just .36 seconds. Dietrich did not swim the event in the 2007-08 matchup between the Retrievers and the Mids, but Gibeau hopes to see the two race in 2008-09, Cantwell’s senior season.
“It was a great race between Tina and [Dietrich] in 2006 and it would have been interesting to see what happened this year because Tina held an edge over her during the spring competition’s last year,” Gibeau said. “It would have been a great race and hopefully both will swim this coming year in a rematch.”
Cantwell was named to the America East All-Academic Team for her second straight season following her efforts at the conference championship meet and was named to the Winter/Spring Commissioner’s Honor Roll in both 2005-06 and 2006-07. The Sinking Spring,
Following the 2008 America East Championship meet, Cantwell competed at the Speedo Championship Series Eastern Zone South Region meet held at the
“My confidence in Tina and the expectation that she could make trials was definitely there,” Gibeau said, “but for her to make it in the 100 breast surprised me a little. The 200 breast was more of what was expected, but sometimes a lot of anxiety and anticipation towards a certain event, leads to the goal being achieved in an event that’s not expected.”
The breaststroker is currently ranked 99th among USA Olympic Trials qualifiers and will compete in the 100 breast on Monday, June 30 at the
“Swimming at trials is a great opportunity for any swimmer and because the Olympics only come around every four years, for the most part you only get one shot at it,” the coach said. “A swimmer that reaches this level is in the top 2-3% of swimmers in the country and it’s the pinnacle of what you’d like to achieve in your career.
“Not only is it a great thing for the athlete, but it also helps the program. It always looks good to promote the fact that your team has a swimmer that makes USA Trials and it also shows that there’s a focus on off-season training and the season doesn’t stop after the dual meets are over. That makes a school look a bit more attractive to good number of recruits and it brings more attention to the sport outside of the regular season.”
Other America East Winter Scholar-Athlete award-winners included
The Scholar-Athletes were members of teams in the six championship sports which America East offered in the winter season including men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, and men’s and women’s swimming and diving. Member institutions of America East Conference for the 2007-08 winter season included University at Albany, Binghamton University, Boston University, University of Hartford, University of Maine, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), University of New Hampshire, Stony Brook University and University of Vermont.
A committee of athletic administrators and NCAA Faculty Athletics Representatives chose an honoree in each of the six winter championship sports. Each America East Scholar-Athlete was a starter or prominent reserve and carries a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.20.
May Kotsopoulos, So.,
Brian Lillis, Sr.,
Carmen Lagala, Sr.,
Rory Quiller, Gr.,
Tina Cantwell, Jr., UMBC, Women’s Swimming and Diving, 3.43 GPA
Brenno Varanda, Jr.,