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Women's Swimming and Diving earns third straight MAAC title

By Zach Dooley
On February 21, 2012


  The Marist women's swimming and diving won the MAAC Championship over the weekend, defeating second place Rider by over 150 points.  The championship was the 13th all time for the program, thrusting them into first place overall in terms of conference championships won by a Marist team.  Combined with two titles from their former participation in the Metropolitan Conference, and two ECAC Titles, the women's program has achieved 17 total championships.

  "They've been the most consistent and most successful women's sport here for 20 years," Marist swimming and diving coach Larry Van Wagner said.  "I'm very proud of the continued success."

  The Red Foxes were led by individual performances from junior Kate Conrad, freshman Greta Leberfinger, senior Michelle Fountain and Maddie Arciello.  Conrad took home the championship in the 1650-yard freestyle event, winning by almost 20 seconds.  Leberfinger was the champion in the 200-yard breaststroke, while Arciello broke her own school record in the 100-yard freestyle event, although she finished second. 

  Marist also saw a victory from the 400-yard relay team, which was composed of Arciello, Fountain, Conrad and sophomore Emily Miles.  The foursome broke their own record from a season ago by almost two seconds.

  "They've been the best team in the conference in last four years," Van Wagner said.  "The only time the lost a conference championship in the last ten seasons was four years ago in this senior classes' freshman year, when they lost to Rider University by five points, which was the year Rider swam in the ‘technical suits' which were later found to be an advantage.  So in my opinion, this has been the best women's swimming and diving team in the last four years."

  Van Wagner was named the MAAC Women's Swimming Coach of the meet at the conclusion of the weekend.  The women are next in action next weekend when they compete in the ECAC Championships in Annapois, MD.   Leberfinger, Arciello and Conrad will compete the day before in an Olympic Trials qualifier, with a chance to compete in qualifiers for the 2012 Olympic Games London. 

  Although the men could not replicate the women's championship meet they fought to a very respectable third place finish, missing out on second by just two and a half points.

  Freshman Jason Ruddy took home the only individual title for the men's side, breaking his school record in the process by winning the 200 yard breaststroke event.  Ruddy completed the race in slightly under a minute and fifty seconds, which was good for the record.

  Sophomore Nick Spinella entered the 200 yard backstroke finals as the top seed, but was narrowly edged out for the title, even though Spinella improved on his qualifying time.

    "Extremely proud," Van Wagner said of his men's team's performances.  "Of the two teams I actually think they had the better meet."

  Leddy's performance allowed him to compete in the same Olympic Trials Qualifiers as the three members of the women's team.  The entire men's team will also be competing in the ECAC's in the weekend following, also in Annapolis, Md

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