CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—After dethroning two-time champion UMBC, Boston University was voted the favorite to win the 2010 America East Swimming and Diving Championship by a narrow margin of one point in the preseason coaches’ poll. The Terriers received four first-place votes and tallied 34 points while UMBC garnered three first-place votes and came in second in the poll with 33 points.
University of Vermont (24 points) came in third in the poll followed by University of New Hampshire (23), Stony Brook (15), Binghamton University (11) and University of Maine (7).
Boston U. hopes to defend its 2009 conference title which was the school’s first since 1994. The Terriers will be led by senior Emily Munday (Butte, Mont./Butte), who holds the 2008 and 2009 championship titles in the 100-yard butterfly. Munday was also part of the 200 free relay team that won at last year’s championship in school-record time. Two other members of the relay team, junior Kirsten Tullis (Glenn Mills, Pa./Archmere Academy) and junior Maria McIntyre (Herndon, Va./Chantilly), will return for the 2010 season. Boston U. will also depend on junior Sarah Doersam (San Antonio, Texas/Douglas MacArthur), who claimed third at last year’s championship in both 200 fly and 200 back, and sophomore Kristen Connors (Mansfield, Mass./Bishop Feehan), who placed second in the 200 breaststroke. The Terriers lose Eve Kinsella to graduation. She posted two 200-yard individual medley titles (2008, 2009) and holds the conference record for that race. The squad also loses diver Tess Waresmith, who won both the one and three-meter diving title in 2008 and 2009. The Terriers look to replace the two graduated seniors with the talent of its nine incoming freshmen.
Two-time champion UMBC hopes to win back the championship title from the Terriers in 2010 and will be led by senior Jennifer Esposito (Lindenhurst, N.Y./Lindenhurst/C.W. Post), who was the lone Retriever to claim a title at the 2009 America East Championship. Esposito won the 200-yard butterfly in school-record breaking time. UMBC’s senior Lindsay Sherman (Bethany, Conn./Amity) and the 400-yard free relay team of senior Sam Maccherola (Woolford, Md./South Carroll/Tennessee), sophomore Ashley Miller (New Smyrna Beach, Fla./New Smyrna Beach), sophomore Abbey McKenney (Wilmington, Del./Brandywine)and junior Danielle Cruz (Catonsville, Md./Western Tech) will all look to improve on their 2009 championship silver medals. Sherman also earned the silver medal in the 200-yard butterfly. Senior Tereza Kaplanova (Prague, Czech Republic/Gymnazium J.G. Jankovskeho), who earned bronze in 200 breast last year, will also be a key player in the Retrievers’ quest to reclaim the title. UMBC will return all of its top competitors and add 10 freshmen to the roster.
Vermont finished third at the 2009 championship and is predicted by the coaches to come in third again. Last year, Vermont claimed four titles - three individual and one relay. The Catamounts will be led by senior Colleen Clark (Unionville, Conn./Farmington) who captured two individual titles, one in the 200-yard free, in which she now holds the conference record, and one in the 500 free, in which she broke the conference, pool and the UVM varsity records. Clark also participated in the 800-yard freestyle relay that won Vermont’s only relay title. Senior Molly MacMillan (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) is also a strong returning swimmer for Vermont, who claimed the 1,650 freestyle title at the America East championship for the second-straight season. The Catamounts welcome 14 freshmen swimmers and divers to their squad.
New Hampshire at the championship captured a meet-high eight first-place finishes, including six individual titles, but the Wildcats finished fourth overall. In 2010, the UNH squad loses one of its title winners, Jessie Ellisalcaide, who captured three first-place finishes at the championship, but the team will return its 2009 America East Rookie of the Meet, sophomore Jessica Little (Barrie, Ontario/Barrie Central Collegiate Institute). Little totaled more points than any other freshman woman at the meet. The squad also claims the 2008 Rookie of the Meet, junior Amy Perrault (Kirkland Lake, Ontario/Ecole Catholique), who placed third in the 200-yard individual medley and was a member of the record-breaking, first-place 200-yard medley relay team. The Wildcats lose their top diver, Tory McKenna, but hope to replace her with their incoming talent.
After a fifth-place finish at last year’s championship, Stony Brook has climbed from seventh in the 2009 coaches’ poll to fifth this year. The Seawolves will be led by senior captain Rebecca Sayles (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) who is one of the squad’s strongest swimmers. Sayles competed at a high level in both the 100 and 200-yard freestyle and was a member of the relay teams that broke school records in the 400 medley relay, 200 free relay, 400 free relay and the 800 free relay. Thirteen freshmen will join the Stony Brook squad.
Binghamton looks to best its predicted sixth-place finish and will be led by junior Amanda Ciccone (Suffern, N.Y./Suffern), who captured two top-six spots at the 2009 America East Championship, placing fifth in 100 fly and sixth in the 50 free. Sophomore Jenna Easton (Churchville, N.Y./Churchville-Chili) will return as a more experienced diver after claiming fifth her freshman year in the one-meter board. Nine freshmen will join the Bearcats for the 2010 season.
Finishing seventh at last year’s championship, Maine will look to the leadership of its four captains, seniors Samantha Graham (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal), Kerstin Fenton (Dixon, Calif./Dixon), Megan McLean (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) and Nissa Marione (Milford, Pa. /Delaware Valley Regional). Graham placed fourth in the one-meter diving event to claim the Black Bears’ top finish of the 2009 championship.
The 2009 America East Swimming and Diving Championships will be held on February 25-28 at the Boston University Aquatic Center in Boston.
2009 Preseason Poll
Rank Team (1st-place votes) Total
1. Boston University (4) 34
2. UMBC (3) 33
3. Vermont 24
4. New Hampshire 23
5. Stony Brook 15
6. Binghamton 11
7. Maine 7