Although the University Athletic Association Championships did not end as the swimming and diving teams hoped, three standouts stole the show.
For the men, junior Kevin Howard had a solid fifth-place finish en route to qualifying for the National Collegiate Athletic Association DIII Championships in the 100-yard backstroke.
Howard has been dominant in the 100-yard backstroke for the entire season.
He has won first place in the event during the past four head-to-head meets and placed second at the Liberty League Championships.
The 200-yard medley relay team of Howard, senior Chris Jensen, sophomore Colin Funai and freshman Ian Kruper finished in fifth place but was not quick enough to qualify for the NCAAs.
The rest of the team did not fare as well, finishing seventh place out of eight. These championships proved to be a tough ending to what looked like a promising season for the men.
The women’s team edged out some of the vigorous competition but eventually could not keep up and finished in fifth out of eight.
Freshman Stephanie Bolin and sophomore Jennifer Chung were the two NCAA qualifiers for the women’s team.
Bolin swam to second place in the 200-yard butterfly where her time was well in the qualifying standard. Bolin has placed in the top three of this event in the past five meets.
Chung’s 200-yard breaststroke was a closer finish with her clocking in at six one-hundredths of a second ahead of the qualifying time. Chung started the season hot in the 200 but hadn’t placed in any of the meets recently. She will look to keep up her momentum on her way to the NCAA Championships.
Other strong finshers at the meet included sophomore Rachel DeLahunta, and freshman Sara Spielman, who finished fourth and sixth respectfully on the three-meter diving board.
The three qualifiers will head to Minneapolis, Minn. on March 17-21 for their shot to compete against the best DIII athletes in the nation.
With all three swimmers returning for next season, the men’s and women’s teams have a bright future to look ahead to.
Manrique is a member of the class of 2012.