By: Billy Owens, Assistant Sports Editor
Photo courtesy of towsontigers.com
Towson men’s and women’s swimming and diving both placed third at the 2018 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championships at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center in Christiansburg, Virginia, this weekend.
The men’s final score for the four-day meet was 566 points, behind now two-time defending champion William & Mary (946 points) and second-place Drexel (703 points).
The women’s final score was 562.5 points, behind first-place James Madison (656 points) and second-place William & Mary (583 points).
Head Coach Jake Shrum was impressed with his team’s performances at the competition, as several players set personal best records at the biggest competition of the season.
“Last year we only had one guy and one girl make [NCAA] B cut [times],” Shrum said. “We had four this year.”
On the men’s side, Jack Saunderson won three CAA gold medals, adding to the three career he had attained before this year’s Championships. He was named Men’s Swimmer of the Meet.
Saunderson broke Towson University and CAA records in the 100 and 200-yard butterfly finals, finishing with times of 45.75 and 1:41.69, respectively.
Saunderson also broke the school and CAA record in the 200 individual medley final with a time of 1:45.76, one of three NCAA B cut times he posted individually.
Saunderson also earned a pair of silver medals as part of two relay teams, as he joined Owen Robinson, Ryan O’Leary and Matt Essing to finish second in the 200 medley with a time of 1:29.00 and later joined O’Leary, Erek Nelson and Nick Essing to finish second in the 400 medley with a time of 3:13.56.
Three more Tigers won individual medals at the Championships, as Colin Roddy blitzed the school record in the 400 individual medley in both prelims, and in the final to earn silver with a time of 3:53.04. Zach Bishop took bronze in the 200 backstroke final with a time of 1:46.16, and Will Canny won bronze in the 3-meter diving final with a score of 290.35 points.
“Honestly, we had so many guys swim so well this past weekend,” Shrum said.
The women’s team finished with two relay medals and seven individual medals, highlighted by gold-medal finishes by Emily Wilson, Jacki Schoening and Karlee Carminati. Wilson won gold in the 3-meter diving final with a score of 292.25 points, with teammate Kelsey Jehl winning bronze with a score of 275.60 points.
Schoening’s gold came in the 100-yard breaststroke final as she posted an NCAA B cut time of 1:01.67, while Carminati’s came in the 1,650-yard freestyle final with a time of 16:38.96.
Schoening also joined Haley Sutton, Megan Cowan and Caitlin Manthe to earn bronze in the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:42.39. Cowan, Kendall Krumenacker, Annemarie Schnoor and Sarah-Margaret Locke also won bronze in the 800 freestyle relay with a time of 7:19.81.
Two of the three other individual medals were won by Krumenacker, who took silver in the 200 individual medley final with a time of 2:02.06 and bronze in the 200 backstroke final with a time of 1:58.73. Amanda Rosa earned silver in the 200 breaststroke final with a NCAA B cut time of 2:15.53.
“[A lot of the girls] went from scoring three to four points last year to being multiple [top] 8 finalists,” Shrum said. “They’ve improved so much over the past year.”
Shrum was impressed with the senior classes of both teams, knowing that they gave their all in one of their final competitions.
“They’ve been awesome leaders for years and years now,” Shrum said. “I’m thankful for their time and dedication to the team.”
The CAA Championships were the last team event of the 2017-2018 season for the Tigers, but a few individuals are preparing for the upcoming NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. Wilson and Jehl have already qualified, while Saunderson is very likely to qualify as well.
The Women’s Championships will take place at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion on Ohio State’s campus in Columbus, Ohio, and will run from March 14-17, while the Men’s Championships will take place at University Aquatic Center on Minnesota’s campus in Minneapolis and will run from March 21 through 24.