S&D: Sommerville, Lennox lead ‘Nova

Jamie Augustinsky

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams were back in action last week, competing in the Big East Championships on Feb. 14-17. Villanova was one of 12 schools to compete in the four-day event which took place at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow, N.Y. The women’s team finished in sixth place, while the men placed 10th.

The men had a few top individual performances on the final night to earn points that allowed them to remain in 10th place. Freshman AJ Mak finished 14th in the 1,650-meter freestyle, while senior David Drysdale swam to a 16th-place finish in the 200-meter breaststroke.

The women were in fourth place after the second night of the four-day Big East Championships, but they fell to sixth after night three, where they remained for the rest of the competition. The final night, however, was special for the women as two individual Big East Champions were crowned. Senior Jenny Somerville won the 1,650-meter freestyle to be named the Big East Champion in this event for the fourth year in a row. Her time of 16:30.85 was nearly two seconds faster than her NCAA Championship qualifying time from last year.

“The win this past weekend at the Big East was definitely a special one,” said Somerville, a native of Hillsdale, Ill. “Winning the mile for the fourth time was a goal I had set a long time ago, and it was exciting to accomplish it.”

Senior Kristina Lennox’s victory in the 200-meter butterfly earned her the Big East title in the event, where she finished with an NCAA “B” qualifying time of 2:00.49. Lennox pulled off an upset win over Katie Carroll of Notre Dame, who was named Big East Swimmer of the Year earlier in the day.

“After three years at the Championship, I’ve wanted to get a Big East title, and the 200[-meter butter]fly was my best shot for it,” Lennox said after winning the event in her final Big East Championship appearance. “Being able to go out there and attain my goal of winning the 200-meter fly feels so surreal that it’s hard to believe I actually accomplished it.”

Other swimmers who attained NCAA “B” qualifying times were sophomore Katilyn Osborne with a seventh place finish in the 1,650-meter freestyle, and the 400 -freestyle relay team of Lennox, freshman Sarah Czar, sophomore Marlee Morden and junior Jesse Radtke.

The swimmers will now have to wait and see if these times will be good enough to allow them to compete in the NCAA Championships. Regional championship meets will be hosted by Rutgers University, University of Georgia, University of Michigan, University of Texas and the U.S. Air Force Academy. The finals will occur from March 8-10 at the Minnesota Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.