Lions look ahead to NCAA Championships

While a few swimmers competed at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Open Championships last weekend, the rest of the swimming and diving teams continued to train for NCAA Division III Championships. The Championships will begin on March 13 for the women and on March 20 for the men.

The men’s team sent a couple of swimmers to the University of Pittsburgh over the weekend to get a few season-ending swims, as head coach Brian Bishop put it.

“To have to swim after a big meet like we had is tough,” he said, “but they swam well.”

In the 200-meter freestyle preliminaries, junior Mike Molloy placed 26th with a time of 1:45.75. In the 100-meter breaststroke preliminaries, junior Ted Yoa finished with a time of 1:01.94, coming in 30th. Junior R.T. Greeby competed in the 100-meter butterfly preliminaries, finishing in 65th with a time of 55.64. Senior Ryan Tighe finished 17th in the 400-meter individual medley preliminaries with a time of 4:21.22.

Two members of the women’s team will be heading to the NCAA tournament.

Senior Ava Kiss will be competing for the College in the 100-meter butterfly (seeded second), the 100-meter freestyle (seeded fifth) and the 200-meter individual medley (seeded 11th ). Kiss is a three-time All-American and earned a ninth-place finish in the 100-meter butterfly in 2005, a fourth-place finish in the 100-meter butterfly in 2006 and a ninth-place showing at last year’s Championships.

Kiss holds several records for the College, including the 100-meter butterfly (55.94), the 200-meter individual medley (2:07.51) and the 100-meter freestyle (51.70). She also contributed to the record-setting team in the 200-meter medley relay.

“I’m extra focused this year because this is the first year that I’m seated in the top three for the 100 fly,” Kiss said. “I’ve had a goal set in mind for Nationals since the beginning of the season.”

Senior Lauren Pfeifer was given an invitation to compete in the 100-meter breaststroke (seeded 17th) and the 50- and 100-meter freestyle races.

This is Pfeifer’s third trip to the NCAAs on her career after qualifying last year in the 100-meter breaststroke and the 200-meter medley relay, and the medley relay in 2006. Pfeifer holds a Lions record in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke (1:06.81) and is also part of the College’s school record 200-meter medley relay team.

Commenting on Pfeifer and Kiss’s preparation for the tournament, head coach Jennifer Harnett said, “I think the toughest part for them is competing at a higher level without the whole team there to support you.”

“Even though they are excited about their performances from the weekend,” she said, “they are both very focused on what they need to do at NCAAs.”

The men’s team has nine qualifiers for NCAAs as well, according to Bishop. As of press time, seven are certain and two are still unconfirmed.

Discussing his preparation for the big tournament, senior Josh Forsman said, “The main thing about preparing for NCAAs is keeping your focus on this last meet and not dwell on the previous accomplishments. The thing to do now is to really buckle down and just remember it’s the big show.”