800 Free Relay Team
ORONO, Maine – The UMBC men's 800 free relay and women's 200 medley relay teams each set pool records as the UMBC men's and women's swimming and diving teams each took leads on the first day of the America East Championships at the Stanley M. Wallace Pool. On the diving boards, senior Andrew Eckhoff (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford) won the 1-meter event and sophomore Katie Bean (Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee) took silver in the 3-meter event.
Leading off the meet, Bean, as well as freshman Corinna Darelius (Rye, N.Y./Rye), both reached the finals of the high dive event to put the Retrievers out in front. After qualifying third and fourth, respectively, in the prelims of the event, both divers boosted their scores in the finals with Bean scoring 267.00 to finish second and Darelius earning 246.65 points to take fourth.
After the pool was turned, the swimmers entered the competition, beginning with the 800 free relay. For the women, the team of seniors Jennifer Kotonias (Burtonsville, Md./Academy of Holy Cross), Claire Barron (Lowestoft, England/Benjamin Britten/New Orleans), Elise Blaschke (Washington Township, N.J./Bishop Eustace), and Amy Fay (Haverhill, Mass./Haverhill) took second place behind New Hampshire with a season-best time of 7:25.42.
The men hit the pool next and got the record-setting evening started for the Black and Gold. Senior Mohamed Hussein (Cairo, Egypt/Victory College) started the Retrievers off in style by recording a UMBC and pool record 200 free split of 1:36.83. The previous record of 1:37.23 was set by Justin Bronson back in 2009. Junior Johan Rohtla (Tallin, Estonia/Tallinn Secondary Science) and sophomore Rob Breen (Danvers, Mass./St. John's Prep) followed with strong legs before senior Pierre De Waal (Pretoria, South Africa/Tuks Sport/Cleveland State) brought it home with a pool record time of 6:38.08 for the gold.
The pool then switched again and Eckhoff made it two straight conference wins in the 1-meter event by scoring 310.10 in the finals after posting a score of 319.65 in the prelims. Sophomores Carson Wong (Hong Kong/Kowloon Technical School) and Ryan Green (Ellicott City, Md./Centennial) along with senior Enrique Labourdeth (Rochester, Mich./Stoney Creek) and junior Tim Perkins (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora) also scored for UMBC taking fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh.
The women's 200 medley team then avenged the Retrievers' previous defeat by taking top honors and breaking school and pool records. The quartet of junior Klara Pavelkova (Prague, Czech Republic/Gymnasium Pripotocni), Barron, and juniors Talor Tadena (Orangevale, Calif./Bella Vista) and Erika Ronning (Western Springs, Ill./Lyons Township) steadily pulled away from the Wildcats and the school record, breaking the previous mark by one second with a time of 1:42.70.
While the men could not match the women's feat, the squad of sophomore Lauri Kaei (Harjumma, Estonia/Tallinn Secondary Science), seniors Steve Gallagher (Sinking Spring, Pa./Wilson) and Sandy Haibel (Rockville, Md./Richard Montgomery), and junior Evan Carey (Grand Island, N.Y./Grand Island) garnered a second-place finish behind Binghamton.
Day Two of the four-day championship meet will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Friday morning with the prelims of the 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free, and women's 1-meter diving. The finals in each of the events will then take place starting at 6:00 p.m.