BALTIMORE – The UMBC men's swimming and diving team finished off its second-ever undefeated dual meet season, besting East Carolina 168-132, Saturday afternoon at UMBC Aquatic Complex. The win improves the men's record to an unblemished 7-0 while the women fell to 5-3 after a 162-138 loss to the Pirates.
The only other time the Retrievers have gone undefeated was back in 2004-05 in head coach Chad Cradock's fourth season in guiding his alma mater.
On Saturday, the Retrievers were paced by the dynamics of junior Mohamed Hussein (Cairo, Egypt/Victory College) and sophomore Lauri Kaei (Harjumaa, Estonia/Tallinn Secondary Science). The two swimmers combined to win five individual events against the Pirates and then helped the Black and Gold finish off the win with a victory in the 400 free relay along with senior Steve Gallagher (Sinking Spring, Pa./Wilson) and junior Evan Carey (Grand Island, N.Y./Grand Island). UMBC also won the 200 medley relay to finish the dual meet season winning 13 of the 14 relay events in 2012-13.
For Hussein, it was another victorious day in the pool, claiming three individual events, to go with the 400 free relay win. The junior opened his day by winning the 50 free (21.26) and then claimed top honors in the 200 back (1:50.86). Finally, he won the 200 IM (1:54.09) to bring his dual meet victory total to 19 for the season.
Kaei, meanwhile, picked up key victories for the Retrievers all meet long. After leading off for the victorious 200 medley relay team which also consisted of Gallagher, senior Sandy Haibel (Rockville, Md./Richard Montgomery) and Carey, Kaei stemmed a brief ECU run by winning the 100 back (52.31). Junior Johan Rohtla (Tallinn, Estonia/Tallinn Secondary Science) made the win more meaningful by racing from behind to claim second. Later in the meet, Kaei once again thwarted a Pirates winning-run by taking the 100 fly (51.91).
Also earning big wins for the Retrievers, senior Alex Moothart (Hopkinton, Mass./Mass) won the 1,000 free (9:38.40) for the second straight week and classmate Pierre De Waal (Pretoria, South Africa/Tuks Sport/Cleveland State) won his 12th event of the season, the 200 fly (1:54.38).
On the women's side, the Retrievers started the meet with a bang as the 200 medley relay team of junior Klara Pavelkova (Prague, Czech Republic/Gymnasium Pripotocni), senior Claire Barron (Lowestoft, England/Benjamin Britten/New Orleans) and juniors Talor Tadena (Orangevale, Calif./Bella Vista) and Erika Ronning (Western Springs, Ill./Lyons Township) won the event in a pool record time of 1:46.06. The time barely edged the previous record of 1:46.09 set in 2010.
Ronning, Barron, and Tadena also combined with senior Amy Fay (Haverhill, Mass./Haverhill) to win the 400 free relay to end the meet.
Barron, Fay, and Tadena also picked up individual event wins to pace the Retrievers. Barron won the 100 breast in a season-best time of 1:06.22, while Fay won the 1,000 free in a top-season time of 10:16.31. Tadena claimed the 50 free (24.32) for the second consecutive week.
Swimming competitively for the final time in her home pool, senior Jennifer Kotonias (Burtonsville, Md./Academy of Holy Cross) won the 200 IM (2:07.22).
On the boards, sophomore Katie Bean (Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee) earned the Retrievers' only diving win of the day, taking the 1-meter competition with a score of 248.10.
UMBC is now off from competition for the next two-and-a-half weeks while preparing for the America East Championships in Orono, Maine. The conference meet, which will be hosted by the University of Maine, will begin on Thursday, Feb. 14 and run through Sunday, Feb. 17.