Women Look to Reclaim, Men to Defend Crowns at America East Swimming and Diving Championships This Weekend

Junior Abbey McKenney
Junior Abbey McKenney

BALTIMORE—The UMBC men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams travel to Boyds, Md. this weekend for the 2011 America East Championships at the Germantown Indoor Swim Center. The men will look to continue their dominance in the pool, having won the past seven America East crowns and 13 consecutive conference titles overall. The women will be striving to win their first conference championship since 2008.


The men are led by seniors Eric Jones (Gambrills, Md./Arundel) and Brad Reitz (Ellicott City, Md./Howard), each of which won gold at last year’s conference meet. Jones is undefeated in the 200-yard freestyle this season, while Reitz, the 2008 Most Outstanding Rookie, will look to become the sixth athlete in conference history to win an individual event four years in a row when he competes in the 200-yard butterfly.


Freshman Johan Rohtla (Tallinn, Estonia/Tallinn Secondary Science) has had an impressive freshman campaign, breaking the UMBC record in the 200-yard backstroke (1:48.36) and is ranked first in both the 100 and 200 back going into this weekend. Sophomore transfer Pierre De Waal (Pretoria, South Africa/Tuks Sport/Cleveland State) has also made a big impact, ranking first in the 500 free, 1,650 free and will be Reitz’ biggest competition in the 200 fly. Sophomore Andrew Eckhoff (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford), who earned silver in the 3-meter dive a year ago, is seeded first on the 1-meter and second on the 3-meter this year.


The women are led by junior Abbey McKenney (Wilmington, Del./Brandywine), who won the 100 free at the 2010 conference meet and is the school record holder in both the 50 and 100 free. Sophomore Tara Morrissette (Somersworth, N.H./Saint Thomas Aquinas), who was named the 2010 Most Outstanding Rookie, is seeded second in the 200 fly, 200 IM and the 400-yard individual medley, in which she the school record at the Patriot Invitational (4:24.05).


Two other Retrievers who are seeded second going into the weekend are senior Sarah Ryan(Rockville Centre, N.Y./Oceanside), who broke the school record in the 100 fly (55.15) earlier in the year, and junior Kathryn Moorby (Cape May, N.J./Lower Cape May Regional) in the 100 back.


The action begins Thursday at 6 p.m. and continues Friday through Sunday with prelim sessions at 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m. Check out the UMBC Dawg Blog for updates and pictures from the weekend’s action.


UMBC and the America East swimming and diving community is joining forces to raise money to support Bailey O’Brien, a Boston University diver who is battling melanoma, a form of skin cancer. There will be a collection box at the conference meet and all money donated will help O’Brien and her family through these tough times.