Swimming ‘ Diving: Northeastern places sixth at CAA Championship

Swimming ‘ Diving: Northeastern places sixth at CAA Championship

By Jared Sugerman

The swimming ‘ diving team finished sixth for the second straight year at the Colonial Athletic Association’s (CAA) championship meet, held at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., from Feb. 14-17.

“When we first set goals at the beginning of the season, we were really hoping to get in the top four,” said junior Kara Lane. “But as much as people are disappointed with our conference meet, I still look at our season as the best one since I’ve been here. We had a lot of records broken, and our record shows the improvement [from last year].”

The Huskies finished the 2006-07 with a 6-3 dual-meet record, improving upon their mark of 4-7 from the 2005-06 campaign. The wins included a road victory against Boston College and a first-place finish at the Boston University Invitational, where they once again topped Boston College, as well as host team BU. After two seasons in the CAA, the Huskies’ conference championship results have yet to improve.

“Because we don’t swim against each of them during the year, we are not familiar with the competition, and more importantly we don’t have any rivalries yet in the CAA,” said head coach Roy Coates. “In America East, we had strong feelings with UNH and BU. We had a history, we had things that we liked and we didn’t like.”

But he said he does not believe that is an excuse for his team’s performance.

Despite lackluster results for the team, there were a few Huskies whose performances stood out. Sophomore Elena Alvarez finished second in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:04:08, breaking her old personal record of 1:04:57. Alvarez also finished third in the 200 breaststroke, and fifth in the 200 individual medley. Overall, her performance earned the seventh-highest individual score in the competition.

Lane was also impressive, as were fellow junior Brittany Gilles and freshman Emily Sutliff. Lane finished third in the 200 butterfly, Gilles had the fifth-highest score in the 1-meter dive and Sutliff took eighth in the 1,650-meter freestyle.

“Times are what matter, so everyone on our team was gunning for best times,” Lane said. “Last year I placed second, but I was a second-and-a-half slower. So I was happy with my place, but I was even happier with getting a personal best.”

The efforts of Lane and her teammates were not enough to propel them to a championship that was eventually captured by the squad from William ‘ Mary.

“On a really good weekend, we could have finished fifth,” Coates said. “There just aren’t too many weak teams in our conference.”

Lane echoed her coach’s sentiment.

“The competition is just unreal,” she said. “For some people, especially freshmen, I think it can be really scary. I mean, we’re just not used to seeing people that fast.”

With the experience they gained this season and the talented group of swimmers who will remain on the team next season, Lane said she believes the Huskies are ready to make a move up the CAA ladder.

“Although we still finished in sixth, and didn’t meet our goal exactly, everyone did everything they could,” she said. “We have a lot of freshmen on our team, 11 or 12, so I really think next year it will be even better because they know what to expect.”

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