Women place in top-10 at nationals

National champion Danica Raskos. (Photo Courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

Coming into the NCAA Division III National Championships, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams had lofty expectations. The men came in with a robust 8-2 record, while the women entered nationals with a perfect 9-0 record. Both squads ended their 2010-2011 seasons in remarkable fashion as the men placed 12th overall and the women placed fifth overall.

The women’s squad, led by sophomore Danica Roskos, totaled 198 points. Roskos won two national titles, winning the one-meter diving event and the three-meter diving event. Roskos’ victories etch her name in the Lions’ record book for being the only Lion to win national titles in multiple events.

“Danica did a phenomenal job this season, especially at nationals where she helped our team move up in the rankings to fifth in the nation,” sophomore Kaitlin Kilgannon said. “I can’t wait to see what Danica will do over the next two years.”

Junior Laura Pierce also had an impressive performance in her event. In the championship final, Pierce finished fifth overall with a time of 50.93 matching her previous school record. With her performance, Pierce was able to capture her third All-America honor.

Freshman Ashley Conroy destroyed the school’s previous program record in the preliminary heat with a time of 2:02.99. During the consolation finals, Conroy finished seventh with a time of 2:03.87. Overall, Conroy finished 15th, allowing her to earn her first All-America honor.

Sophomore Kayleigh Shangle qualified for the 200-meter breast stroke, finishing third in the consolation final with a time of 2:19.90. Shangle finished 11th overall with an All-America honor.

Four more All-America honors went out to the Lions 400-yard freestyle relay team. The team consisted of junior Traci Hofer, Shangle, senior Margaret Molloy and Pierce. The team set a new school record in the preliminary race with a time of 3:28.74, and would go on to place third in the consolation final and 10th overall.

The women’s fifth place finish this season gives them back-to-back top-10 finishes under head coach Jen Harnett. The Lions finished the season with a perfect 9-0 regular season, and repeated as New Jersey Athletic Conference and Metropolitan Conference champions. The women’s performance this season makes for one of their most successful seasons in school history.

“The (College’s) women’s swim team had its best season ever this year, which couldn’t have been achieved without the help from our amazing coaching staff,” Kilgannon said. “Not every meet, or practice was easy, but with the support of our teammates and the pep talks and moral from our coaches helped us push through. The team really came together this year and worked the hardest we have ever worked before and it really showed this year.”

The men’s squad accumulated 104 points during the four-day swimming bonanza, which was headlined by senior Tom Medvecky.

Medvecky placed sixth in the championship final race of the 100-yard butterfly and placed fourth in the 200-yard butterfly to earn All-America honors.

Junior TJ Burns finished first in the consolation final, and ninth overall in the three-meter diving event. Burns’ finish earned nine team points for the Lions, while also earneing himself an All-America honorable mention.

“I was satisfied with how I did this year at nationals,” Burns said. “It was nice to do well but there is are also many things to do to improve and not become content with the success.”

The relay team of sophomore Adam Schneider, junior Ryan Clark, senior Shawn Kircher and Medvecky performed admirably, finishing fourth in the race and 13th overall, earning the Lions eight points. The relay team finished the 400-meter freestyle relay in a mere 3:04.35.

The 12th place finish marks another succesful season for head coach Brian Bishop. Finishing 12th at nationals was just a piece of the pie for the men’s squad in 2010-2011, as they also repeated as New Jersey Athletic Conference and Metropolitan Conference champions.