Somerville victorious at Championship

Natalie Balthrop

Villanova swimming and diving traveled to Nassau Aquatic Center in East Meadow, N.Y. this past weekend to compete in the Big East Championship. After four days of competition, the women finished 5th overall while the men finished 10th. Notre Dame swept the championships with first-place finishes by both the men and women.

The weekend was highlighted with the outstanding performance of junior swimmer Jenny Somerville, capturing the 1,650-meter freestyle victory. This marks Somerville’s third consecutive Big East title in this event.

“This Big East title meant a lot because I had an up and down season. It was great that it all came together in the end,” Somerville said. Although Somerville may find her way into the NCAAs in March, this Big East tournament is bittersweet.

“Each year it gets harder and harder to say goodbye to the seniors. It’s crazy to think that I will be swimming next year without them. Our team is almost like a family and it makes being a part of it that much better.”

This season proved to be different for the Wildcats. With the addition of Louisville and Cincinnati to the Big East, the ‘Cats had to battle for their position in the rankings. Junior Kristina Lennox, who placed 4th in the 200-meter fly spoke about the weekend. Lennox said, “We actually had a pretty hard battle with Louisville, so it made the meet more demanding. For the most part we did well, we were able to keep up.”

The ‘Cats also knew that Louisville and Cincinnati could change their ranking. Lennox stated, “We were definitely shooting to keep our 4th place spot from the past two years, but this year, we knew it would be a fight, but everyone stepped up and did what needed to be done.”

Besides Somerville’s Big East title, many other ‘Nova swimmers made their mark in the championships. Annie Kelley placed 4th in the 400 meter IM and her time qualified for a chance to compete in the NCAA tournament. Kaitlynn Osborn swam with Somerville in the 1,650 meter freestyle, placing 6th in the event. Kiersten Rosenberg finished 8th place in the 100 meter freestyle while on the men’s side, David Drysdale finished 14th in the 200 meter breast stroke.

Mike McLaughlin, a senior sprint freestyle swimmer, commented positively on the team’s effort. “The spirit of the team is by far the best that it ever has been since I’ve been here, and I would definitely say that it is much better than any of our opponents,” McLaughlin said. “Both the men and the women are 150 percent behind each other, even though we’re racing different meets.”

Besides the individual efforts, both the men’s and women’s 400 meter freestyle relay team placed in the top of their competition. The women finished 4th and the men finished 9th.

The Big East championships marked the end of a successful year for the Wildcats, both as a team and individually. The season is not over for Somerville and Kelley as they hope to compete in the NCAA championships in Atlanta, Ga. in March.