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The Gettysburg College men’s and women’s swimming teams added an exclamation point to their undefeated seasons, as both squads won their second straight Centennial Conference (CC) titles Sunday evening at the Gettysburg College Bullets Pool.

 The men’s team, which led by 53 points after Day One and never looked back, cruised to a 222-point victory, outdistancing runner-up Dickinson College 846-624. The women’s team fell behind early on Sunday night but went in front to stay with a big second event – the 200-backstroke – and won by 38 points.

The depth of the men’s team was evident heading into the meet, as the Bullets owned four of the five conference relay records and had the top-seven ranked swimmers in the 100-freestyle. Gettysburg went on to post NCAA Division III Championship-qualifying “B” cut times in all five relays while winning four of them. Eight Bullets qualified for the finals in the 100-freestyle, including a staggering six in the “A” final. Gettysburg went on to go sweep the top-four spots and score 102 points in the event.

“It’s the best men’s team that I’ve coached at Gettysburg College,” said head coach Mike Rawleigh, who has now led Gettysburg to 36 conference titles. “We may not see another one like it again. I think they’ll represent the College very well at the national level in about a month.”

 The Bullet women won without having a single event winner.

“It just shows the kind of depth and determination that they have,” said Rawleigh. “These kinds of wins are really special.”

 It was the second year in a row the Bullets swept the swimming CC titles in front of their home crowd. Prior to last season, Gettysburg had not hosted a conference swimming championship in 45 years.

The men’s team captured three events on Sunday, highlighted by a victory in the 400-freestyle relay in the final race of the night. The team of freshman Jason Potter, freshman Mike Harmon, freshman Ashton Leyens, and senior Matt Libby led from the gun to pick up the team’s stunning fifth relay “B” cut in 3:03.66, which also happened to set a conference, meet, and school record.

Individually, Harmon and Libby capped their phenomenal meets with another outstanding day. Harmon won the 100-backstroke in 1:50.04, resetting his sown school record while breaking both the conference and meet record. Harmon finished the meet with three individual “B” cuts and swam on four of the team’s relays.

Libby won his third consecutive CC title in the 100-freestyle with a “B” cut time of 45.47. He also won the 200-free and picked up four additional “B” cuts in the relays.

Four other Bullets collected medals for the men’s team Sunday night, including Potter, who took the silver in the 100-freestyle (46.33) for his third individual medal of the meet, sophomore Adam Weinbrom, who took the bronze in the 200-backstroke (1:54.24), and Leyens, who was third in the 100-freestyle (46.46).

Also in the “A” finals, freshman Stu Cubbison was fourth in the 100-freestyle (46.52) while senior Pat McDevitt placed sixth in the 200-backstroke (1:58.05), as did sophomore Sean Staerk in the 100-freestyle (47.26) and freshman Will Nelligan in the 200-breaststroke (2:14.83). Freshman Woody Griffiths added a seventh-place showing in the 200-butterfly (1:59.46) while senior Tom Everett took eighth in the 100-freestyle (47.55), as did freshman Patrick Sweeney in the 200-butterfly (2:07.48).

In addition, the Bullets had four other athletes earn points in the “B finals. Senior Drew Close placed 10th overall in the 100-freestyle (47.33) while senior Kyle Bauer was 13th in the 200-butterfly (2:03.24). Senior Paul Besancon (100-freestyle, 48.16) and freshman Kevin Nicholson (200-breaststroke, 2:17.91) each took 14th.

The women’s team came away with six medals on Sunday, with freshman Haley Weaver capturing her second silver of the meet with her runner-up showing in Gettysburg's big 200-backstroke (2:09.66). Trailing by 8.5 points heading into the event, the Bullets went 2-6-7-11-15 to outscore F&M 50-9 and build a 32.5-point lead. Their advantage would hover around that mark the rest of the way.

Junior Brooke Lacey, the two-time conference champion in the 200-breaststroke, took second in the event in 2:27.47 while sophomore Ali Roth claimed the silver in the 100-freestyle (53.91).

Kearns took home her second and third individual medals of the meet, earning the bronze in both the 1,650-freestyle (17:41.70) and the 200-butterfly (2:13.24).

Also competing in the “A” final, senior Kayte Demont finished sixth in the 200-backstroke (2:15.17). Sophomore Logan Swisher took seventh in the 1,650-freestyle (18:07.06), as did junior Cassie Close in the 200-backstroke (2:15.36) and sophomore Perri Finnican in the 200-breaststroke.

In the “B” finals, sophomore Jess D’Alessandro and junior Caroline Coolidge each won their races and were ninth overall. D’Alessandro was timed at 2:31.80 in the 200-breaststroke and Coolidge clocked a 54.56 in the 100-freestyle. Coming in 14th were Swisher in the 200-butterfly (2:22.69) and freshman Ellie Houser in the 100-freestyle (55.54), while senior Mariesa Slaughter took 15th in the 200-butterfly (2:23.32). Coming in 16th were junior Cheryl Olechnowicz in the 100-freestyle (55.98) and sophomore Keanna Voso in the 200-butterfly (2:24.22).

The NCAA Division III Championships will be held March 21-24 at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.

Posted: Mon, 20 Feb 2012

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