Escobedo and Hussein Achieve New Heights on Final Day of ECAC Championships
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – UMBC freshman Emily Escobedo (New Rochelle, N.Y./Maria Regina) and senior Mohamed Hussein (Cairo, Egypt/Victory College) each set new ECAC records, broke UMBC records, and lowered NCAA "B" cut times as the Retrievers wrapped up competition at the 2014 ECAC Championships, Sunday afternoon at the U.S. Naval Academy's Lejeuene Hall.
Looking to become the first pair of Retriever athletes to reach the NCAA Championship meet in the same year, Escobedo and Hussein put in stirring performances on Sunday. After a record-breaking weekend, Hussein was named the ECAC Most Outstanding Male Swimmer of the Year.
In the morning prelims of the 200 breaststroke, Escobedo turned in a career-best swim, shaving almost a second from her school-record of 2:12.11 from the America East Championships by touching the wall ahead of the pack at 2:11.23. She then returned to the Navy pool during the evening finals and bested the field with an improved time of 2:10.05, to set both meet and pool records, in addition to a program record.
Escobedo is attempting to become the third Retriever female competitor, and fourth overall, to reach the national meet. The last UMBC woman to swim at the NCAA Championships was Lindsey Prather, the previous school record holder in the 200 breast (2:15.84), in 2002. Prior to that, Jacque Wisnauskas (1990) was the only other UMBC athlete to advance to nationals.
Hussein is attempting to become the first Retriever athlete to make two NCAA meets and he improved his chances at Navy. After leading the field in the morning in the 200 back (1:47.56), the senior raced past his previous school-best (1:44.35), as well as his own conference mark (1:45.23), to touch the wall at 1:43.90.
The swim completes Hussein's record-breaking weekend which included new school records in the 200 IM (1:44.14) and 100 fly (47.79). Both of those times are NCAA "B" cuts, which means that if he makes the cut, he can swim all three events in Austin, Texas.
In addition to Escobedo and Hussein, freshman Gregor Sporlein (Bamberg, Germany/Clavius-Gymnasium) captured his second gold medal of the weekend by winning the 100-yd. freestyle. Having already claimed the top spot in the 50 free (20.41) on Friday, Sporlein outdid the field again on Sunday with career-best time of 44.40, which ranks second in program history.
Swimming in his final collegiate meet, senior Brian Keane (Hanson, Mass./Boston College HS/Arizona) recorded another career-best at Navy. Keane set a career-best of 1:40.48 in the prelims of the 200 free on Saturday and then set a new best twice in the 100 on Sunday. During the morning session, he clocked in at 47.10, and then he reached a new level in the afternoon with a time of 46.98.
Freshman Amanda Day (Kingwood, Texas/Kingwood) also set two personal-best by swimming a 2:07.59 in the prelims of the 200 fly and then clocking in at 2:07.16 in the afternoon.
In the men's event, junior Mark Tracy (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford) turned in a season-best performance as well. After touching at 1:52.61in the morning, Tracy dropped over a second to finish at 1:51.12 in the finals.
The 2014 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships will be held from March 20-22 in Minneapolis, Minn., while the men's championship meet will run from March 27-29 in Austin, Texas.