WORCESTER, Mass. – UMBC freshman Emily Escobedo (New Rochelle, N.Y./Maria Regina) claimed an individual gold medal and school record for the second consecutive night, but for the third-straight year, the UMBC women's swimming and diving team finished second at the America East Championships as the three-day competition came to a close Sunday evening at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Reigning champion New Hampshire claimed the conference crown once again, totaling 877 points. The Retrievers missed out on replacing the Wildcats, finishing with 684 points, while Vermont completed the meet with 640 points. Maine and Binghamton placed fourth and fifth overall with 462 points and 444 points, respectively.
"This is the first time we've had opportunity for only the women to compete at the America East Championships," said head coach Chad Cradock. "It created a great atmosphere for them to come together as a team.
"The spirit was unbelievable and the team chemistry was fantastic and helped us produce great results. We as coaches are extremely proud of the athletes and the effort they put in over the course of the weekend."
A night after capturing the 100-yd. breaststroke title with a school-record and NCAA "B" cut time, Escobedo finished her sweep of the discipline by winning the 200-yd. breast event. The freshman touched the wall at 2:12.11, three seconds ahead of the previous school record of 2:15.84 set in 2001 by NCAA qualifier Lindsey Prather. Junior Lexi Coon (Camden, Del./Medford) finished sixth and freshman Kayla Lilly (Natick, Mass./Medfield) took seventh.
Escobedo was named the America East Most Outstanding Swimmer and Most Outstanding Rookie at the conclusion of the meet after breaking three school records and achieving three NCAA "B" cuts (200 IM, 100 breast, 200 breast).
Sophomore Corinna Darelius (Rye, N.Y./Rye) was named the conference Most Outstanding Diver after winning both competitions at WPI.
Sophomore transfer Stephanie Romano (Arlington, Va./Yorktown/Towson) started the night in style for UMBC, winning a silver medal in the 1,650 free. Romano recorded the seventh-best time in school history by clocking in at 17:10.28.
100-yd. backstroke champion Klara Pavelkova (Prague, Czech Republic) reached the finals for the 200-yd. event and placed fifth with a season-best time of 2:02.21.
In the 100-yd. freestyle, senior Talor Tadena (Orangevale, Calif./Bella Vista) collected another top medal, a silver, by touching in at 51.16, just behind Binghamton's Caitlin Kelly (50.93). Sophomore Courtney Hadden (Binghamton, N.Y./Chenango Forks) also competed in the finals, placing eighth.
Freshman Hannah Sutherland (Kingston, Ontario/Holy Cross Secondary) picked up another medal at her first conference championship meet, winning a bronze in the 200-yd. butterfly. Sutherland recorded the eighth-best time in school history (2:03.42) by dropping 1.71 from her prelims time.
In the final event of the weekend, sophomore Kristie Langford (Port Hope, Ontario/CDCI West), Hadden, and seniors Erika Ronning (Western Springs, Ill./Lyons Township) and Tadena combined to win a bronze medal.
The UMBC men's team now takes to the pool next weekend at the CCSA Championships at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The four-day competition begins on Wednesday, Feb. 19.