February 22, 2009

Lyons break 20 records, reach nine NCAA marks during NEWMAC meet

CAMBRIDGE, MA- Wheaton College women's swimming & diving athletes combined to break 20 school records in helping the Lyons match last year's program-best third-place finish as the three-day New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship ended on Sunday at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Zesiger Pool.

Wheaton posted 640.5 points, finishing behind the runner-up Engineers, who had 660, and nine-time defending champion Springfield College, which had 872.5. The Blue and White recorded eight all-conference finishes, necessitating placing among the top two in a finals race, and met NCAA Championship provisional times in nine events. Sophomore Nicole Zais (Sudbury, MA/Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) set a school mark with five all-league accolades, while classmate Dania Piscetta (Belmont, NH/Belmont) notched four.

On the opening day, Piscetta twice bettered her own school mark in the 200-yard individual medley while setting the NEWMAC open and championship record and reaching a B cut for the NCAA Championship. Her fastest time was 2:07.97 during a finals victory. Piscetta clocked in at 26.74 during the opening 50-yard butterfly leg of her trials run, breaking another program mark.

In the 200-yard freestyle relay, Piscetta, Zais and sophomores Samantha Farrell (Reading, MA/Reading Memorial) and Stephany Perkins (Monmouth, ME/Monmouth Academy) twice broke the school record while recording an NCAA meet B cut and establishing NEWMAC open and championship marks. The quartet's top time came at 1:35.21 during a first-place finish in the final. Perkins, Piscetta, Zais and junior Iris Meehan (Bar Harbor, ME/Mount Desert Island) combined to take second in the 400-yard medley relay, clocking in with a school record and B cut at 3:57.71, faster than the previous NEWMAC open and meet record. While swimming the event for Wheaton's B team, senior Caitlin Glover (Durham, NH/Berwick Academy) finished the opening 100-yard backstroke leg in 1:00.60, breaking a school mark by 0.01 seconds.

Zais twice eclipsed the prior Wheaton mark in the 50 free, clocking in at 23.86 during both the trials and a second-place finals finish. The time provisionally qualified her for the NCAA Championship. During the 500 free, junior Sarah Houlihan (West Springfield, MA/West Springfield) twice surpassed Caitlin Bottomley's '02 10-year-old program mark, turning in her best showing in the finals at 5:13.69. In the one-meter dive, freshman Julia Wright (Pomfret, VT/Northfield Mount Hermon School) notched 366.95 points to break the program mark.

Zais took second in the 100-yard breaststroke on Saturday, as her finals time of 1:05.23 bettered the school record and provisionally qualified her for the NCAA Championship. In their opening 50 leg during the finals, Perkins and Zais both eclipsed the program mark, with Zais' time of 31.08 standing up as the record. Piscetta twice broke her own school standard in the 100-yard butterfly while recording a B cut for the NCAA Championship, as her trials time of 58.04 was her top showing.

During each of her two swims, freshman Taryn Brosnan (Westford, MA/Academy of Notre Dame) also surpassed the former program record in the 100 fly. Wheaton's 800 free relay quartet of Glover, Houlihan, Piscetta and Zais clocked in at 7:53.86, shattering the school mark by nearly 19 seconds. During the opening 200 leg, Piscetta surpassed Bottomley's 10-year-old program record at 1:57.70. In the 400 IM, sophomore Alisha Wilson (Cumberland, ME/Greely) came within 0.05 ticks of a four-year-old record.

During the 100 free on the last day, Piscetta twice broke the school mark while earning a B cut, completing her best showing at 52.63 as the runner up in the final. Zais shattered the Wheaton record in the 200 breast, with her B cut time of 2:21.51 during a second-place finals finish shaving nearly six seconds off the program standard. Glover, Perkins, Piscetta and Zais recorded a B cut of 3:33.86 in the 400 free relay final, setting another school mark. Brosnan twice bettered the four-year-old program record in the 200 fly, as she came in second while posting her best time of 2:12.06 during the finals. In the trials, sophomore Sara Hollar's (La Crescenta, CA/Flintridge Prep) showing of 2:14.97 also eclipsed the old mark.

Houlihan came within four seconds of a 10-year-old program record in the 1,650 free, clocking in at 18:10.04, but she did break Bottomley's decade-old school mark in the 1,000 free at 10:57.13 during the event. Wright bettered Brea Walker's '02 eight-year-old Wheaton standard in the three-meter dive, totaling 380.65 points. In her final individual collegiate event, Glover finished the 200 back at 2:12.07 during the finals, as she and Meehan both eclipsed the old school record. Meehan clocked in at 2:12.46.

Wheaton's provisional qualifiers await word on whether they will compete at the NCAA Division III Championship, which will take place on March 18-21 at the University of Minnesota.

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