By: Tyler Young, Staff Writer
Towson women won their third straight Colonial Athletic Association title and the men took second place at the conference meet in Richmond, Virginia this week.
“We were a little more well-rounded this year,” Head Coach Pat Mead said. “In the past, we would win the meet because of our distance swimmers. We still did well in those events, but managed to get points from other places as well.”
Mead was named the CAA Women’s Coach of the Year for the seventh time in the last 10 years. It is the third year in a row that Mead has been given the honor, but Mead said the regularity of winning has yet to lose its luster.
“It never rings hollow,” Mead said. “Every year brings a new challenge, and an award like this reflects the hard work of, not only me, but our entire staff and the team. I could never win it without them.”
Sophomore Macey Arnold was named the CAA Championship Most Outstanding Woman Swimmer. She won three individual swims, the 200-yard, 500-yard and 1650-yard freestyles. Her 200-yard swim set a CAA-meet record with a time of 1:46.43.
“She can be as good as she wants to be,” Mead said. “She has one of the best work ethics we have had come through. It’s not just with swimming, but nutrition, sleep. It’s what you do outside of the pool. She does everything she can to be the best. She treats it like she is a professional.”
Senior Liz Saint joined Arnold on the podium of both the 500-yard and 1650-yard freestyle swims with second-place finishes in each event. Junior Charlotte Holz added her own silver in the 200-yard swim.
Arnold, along with Holz, senior Victoria Oslund and freshman Kendall Krumenacker, helped the 800-yard freestyle relay team take the gold.
Holz replaced Krumenacker in the 400-yard freestyle relay, where the women set a school record with a time of 3:20.45, taking third place in the event. In the 400-yard medley relay, Holz was swapped out for Krumenacker, who helped the ladies to set both a CAA-meet and Towson record of 3:39.25 en route to a first place finish in the event.
The women set four more school records during the meet, with two coming from Holz, who won both the 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard backstroke. The third and fourth were each from Van Camp, who took the gold in both the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke.
Van Camp and Arnold hope to represent Towson at the NCAA Championships later this month. Van Camp would be the first breaststroker from the university to ever swim in the meet.
Oslund notched two more first-place finishes for the Tigers with wins in the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly.
Junior Christine Hammond added the final win of the meet for the lady Tigers in the 400-yard individual medley.
The second-place finish for the men is the best showing from the team since they joined the CAA prior to the 2001-02 season.
“Our men had a goal of coming in first or second at the CAA’s this year,” Mead said. “That was a lofty goal, and I give a lot of credit to our seniors. When they were freshmen, we finished dead last in the conference. We weren’t even close to second-to-dead-last that year. In the last few years, they have stepped up and even helped with recruiting.”
Towson was successful in long-distance swims at the meet. In the 500-yard freestyle, senior Matt Lowe, junior Matt McKenney, senior Matt Collingwood, senior Jon Burr and sophomore Brandon Ress swept the second through sixth-place spots with sophomore Nick Breschi finishing ninth to make it six Tigers in the top 10 of the event. Lowe’s second-place time set a school record.
In the 1,650-yard, Lowe set another school record, winning the event this time around. Burr, Ress and Collingwood claimed third, fourth and sixth place, respectively. Sophomore Tim Schade came in seventh place while Matt Sieffert set a freshman record at Towson and finished in tenth.
Burr made his own individual mark with a school record in the 400-yard individual medley, an event in which he took fifth place. Colin Roddy finished close behind in sixth place, finishing with the fastest time for a Towson freshman in the event.
The Tigers broke four more school record with their relay teams, including the 800-yard freestyle made up of Breschi, Burr, McKenney and junior Sawyer Martin, which finished second in 6:34.26.
In the 400-yard relay, Breschi and McKenney teamed with junior Zach Brech and junior Matt Hans to finish fifth and set a record time of 3:20.45
Breschi, McKenney, Hans and senior John Gartland to bring down another Tiger record, finishing in a time of 1:28.77 to tie for fourth place in the 200-yard medley relay.
And the final relay record for the men came in 400-yard medley in which Breschi, McKenney, Hans and sophomore Jeremy Liu combined for a time of 3:16.91 and a third-place finish.
McKenney set two school records individually. The first came in the 100-yard butterfly in which his time of 47.74 gave him a fourth-place finish.
The second came in the 200-yard butterfly, where he also set a CAA-meet record with a time of 1:45.68.
Pritchard added a school record swim in the preliminaries of the 200-yard individual medley. He ended up taking seventh overall in the final.
“This weekend is always a very emotional and special one for our kids,” Mead said. “It is a culmination of all the hard work they have done to prepare.”
The NCAA Zone diving meet is set to begin on March 9. The swimming portion will follow beginning on March 19.