McKenney Breaks Record, Leads Swimming and Diving to Day 2 Lead

Abbey McKenney set a new school record in the 100 back
Abbey McKenney set a new school record in the 100 back

FAIRFAX, VA. – UMBC senior swimmer Abbey McKenney (Wilmington, Del./Brandywine) broke the Patriot Invitational record and set a school-record in the 100-yard back (56.17) and helped the 800 free relay (7:30.80) set a meet mark as both the men's and women's swimming and diving teams extended their leads at the three day meet at George Mason University. 

For the day, the Retrievers picked up four individual wins and swept the 800 free relays in Day 2 of the competition.

Patty Hallberg (Severna Park, Md./Broadneck) got the Retrievers started for the day claiming victory in the 400 IM, with teammate Tara Morrissette(Somersworth, N.H./Saint Thomas Aquinas) not far behind, taking third. 

McKenney, the 2011 America East Most Outstanding Swimmer, then took center stage with her record breaking win.  Also in the 100 back, the Retrievers took three of the top four spots as Elise Blaschke (Sewell, N.J./Bishop Eustace Prep) finished second and Klara Pavelkova (Prague, Czech Republic/Gymnasium Pripotocni) claimed fourth, while Kathryn Moorby (Cape May, N.J./Lower Cape May Regional) and Victoria Weston-Dawkes (Ellicott City, Md./Wilde Lake) earned points with a seventh place  and 12th finish, respectively.

Swimming in their first 800 free relay of the year, the Retrievers made the most of it.  With the women leading off, McKenney got UMBC going staking the team out to a lead.  Ashley Miller (New Smyrna Beach, Fla./New Smyrna Beach) and Ashley Sippel (Rockville, Md./Thomas Wootton) then maintained the lead forErika Ronning (Western Springs, Ill./Lyons Township) to anchor the relay and set a new meet record.  The relay of Jennifer Kotonias (Burtonsville, Md./Academy of Holy Cross), Amy Fay (Haverhill, Mass./Haverhill),Laura Tilman (Miami, Fla./Ransom Everglades), Mariana Alvarado Gorda (Colonia Viveros, Mexico/Universidad Valle de Mexico) took third for the Retrievers.

In the men's heat, UMBC took the top two awards to distance themselves from the pack.  The team of Johan Rohtla (Tallinn, Estonia/Tallin Secondary Science), Brian Keane (Hanson, Mass./Boston College HS/Arizona),Mike McGee (Chalfont, Pa./La Salle College HS), and Pierre De Waal (Pretoria, South Africa/Tuks Sport/Cleveland State) took top honors (6:47.01), finishing just under a second off the meet record pace set by the Retrievers back in 2008.

Earlier in the day De Waal had set himself up for the double an individual win in the 200 free (1:39.89).  This win gives him two individual wins for the meet after claiming gold in the 500 free on Thursday.  Just two events later, Stephen Gallagher (Sinking Spring, Pa./Wilson) made it two in a row as the senior took home the win in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Both the men and women look to close out another title at the Patriot Invitational as the meet concludes with the third and final day Saturday at George Mason beginning at 10 a.m.