Swimming and Diving: Sixth place in foreign waters for final meet

By Kevin Williamson

A year’s worth of persistence and training was put to the test this week as the swim and dive team competed for the first time in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championships at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. After an intense four-day competition, the Huskies finished sixth out of eleven teams with a total of 329 points, while UNC Wilmington came in first with 620.5 points.

“We really had no idea how we would do,” freshman swimmer Alexandra Doty said.

The team entered the CAA championships against foreign competitors; having previously swam against only three of the teams present at the competition. Coach Roy Coates was optimistic about the girls’ performances but, like the team, was uncertain of how they’d fare against the fresh opposition.

“It was hard to guesstimate,” Coates said. “We knew we’d be on the slate between third and seventh place.”

Nevertheless, ambition and spirits were high as the team left for Virginia with the attitude that, although they were untested, they would do their best, swim well and have some fun. That is, after a peptalk from coates.

“Let’s just all go down and let the chips fall where they may,” Coates said to his team before the competition.

Doty was aware that being the new team was as much of a problem for the competition.

“There aren’t many drawbacks to being the rookie team,” Doty said. “Northeastern is as big of an unknown to the conference as the conference is to Northeastern.”

Being new in the conference did not deter an array of strong performances. Senior captain Sarah Reddick placed first in the 100-yard butterfly and broke three previous Northeastern school records. Reddick will enter the books with new top times in the 50-yard freestyle (24.10) and 100-yard freestyle (52.20), as well as breaking her old record in the 100-yard butterfly (55.55)

“We knew she was the best ‘flyer in the conference,” Coates said.

Other standouts include freshmen Elena Alvarez, who took fourth in the 200-yard backstroke as well as the 100-yard breaststroke. Sophomore Sarah Lane received second in the 200-yard butterfly, sophomore Brittany Gilles took fourth in the 1-meter dive while sophomore Brooks Wallace placed fifth in the 3-meter. Wallace will also be competing in the NCAA Zone Diving Championships on March 9.

Although the season is finished, Coates and his team are not through learning about their new conference in order to gain a greater edge in next year’s events.

“I think this year was a learning experience and we will be able to perform better next year,” Doty said.

Now familiar with the caliber of competition, the Huskies will have a better idea of their strengths and weaknesses as they progress through the 2006-07 season.

“We now know what championships are like,” Coates said. “In the America East (AE), the top three schools are tight. In CAA, the top nine teams are as tight as the top three in AE. So many schools are so good in CAA that strong swimmers can establish themselves while weaker swimmers can still have a large impact

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