Making A Splash

Setting three BIG EAST Championship records and five school records, the West Virginia University swimming and diving team made some noise on the first day of the BIG EAST Championship on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at the Nassau Aquatic Center in East Meadow, N.Y.

"This was a very exciting, very intense first day," says third-year coach Sergio Lopez. "The team is very excited now because they realize that they actually have the potential to do something here this week."

After two relays, the women's squad is tied for first with Notre Dame, the 2006 champion, with 72 points. The team started the night setting a school record with a third place finish in the 800 free relay (7:20.14). Junior Maritza Paredes and freshmen Stephanie Roop, Morgan Callaway and Shaunna Purtell combined for the record, which is a NCAA ‘B' provisional time.

Bigger things were to come from the team later in the night, as the 200 medley relay smashed the championship and school record with a first place finish of 1:40.58. The freshmen foursome of Callaway, Kitti Veisz, Stephanie Shupe and Kayla Andrews comprised for the NCAA ‘B' standard.

"For our girls to be tied with Notre Dame after the first round, that sends a big statement to the rest of the field," says Lopez.

The 17th ranked men's squad, currently holding steady with 87 points, is tied in second with Pitt and trailing the reigning champion, 19th ranked Notre Dame, by 27 points. The men swept Wednesday's relays, winning both the 800 free and the 200 medley with NCAA ‘B' standard times. Freshman Zoltan Povazsai, sophomore Tony Cisneros, and juniors Pablo Marmolejo and Nick Delic won the 800 in record-setting fashion, clocking in at 6:32.21 and setting both a championship and school record.

The records kept falling as the men's 200 medley relay team, comprised of freshman Ivan Tolic, sophomore Andrew Langenfeld, junior Kevin Donohue and Delic, won the race with a championship and school record time of 1:27.21. Additionally, two Mountaineer divers were able to pick-up some points for the men. Freshman Cameron Whitelam finished 13th (194.70 points) in the 1 meter dive, while sophomore Brandon Robinson followed with a 14th place finish (193.35 points).

"Our divers did much better than I thought they would," says Lopez. "Their finishes were great because it is the first time in a long time that WVU divers have earned points at the Championship."

The second round of the championship resumes on Thursday with the preliminary session at 10 a.m. The finals session will take place at 6 p.m. Results will be posted on the BIG EAST Website, www.bigeast.org, after each session while Live Video Streaming of each event will be available through the BIG EAST Championship Central Page. Up-to-the minute results will be available on www.sportstiming.com.


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