"I'm very excited," says third year coach Sergio Lopez. "The team is doing very well and performing above my expectations." The men's squad rolled over the competition on Thursday, winning all but one of the swimming events. They currently lead the 19th ranked Notre Dame by nine points. Freshman Zoltan Povazsai broke his second school record of the week, winning the 500 free relay with a NCAA ‘B' standard time of 4:22.97. Sophomore Andrew Langenfeld followed with a winning performance in the 50 free, clocking in at 20.28. Langenfeld placed fifth in the event at last year's Championship. Junior Pablo Marmolejo narrowly missed capturing the 200 IM title, taking second with a school record and NCAA ‘B' standard time of 1:48.07.
The men finished the night capturing the 200 free relay title with a NCAA invitational time of 1:18.89, .02 seconds shy of the BIG EAST record, set by the Mountaineers at last year's Championship. Freshman Ivan Tolic, junior Nick Delic, Langenfeld and Povazsai comprised for the win. Additionally, the 200 medley relay team swam a trial time in between the day's sessions, hoping to qualify for the NCAA Championship. The foursome finished at 1:27.07, a school record and Championship record.
"I never thought that the team would be in the position they are in right now, ahead of last year's champion (Notre Dame)," says Lopez. "I feel that tomorrow will be an even better day for us."
The women's squad is also performing above expectations, maintaining a steady pace with 201 points, 20 points ahead of third place Rutgers.
"The women are doing an amazing job," Lopez says. "They are finding a way to position themselves into second place. I'm very proud of them."
Freshman Morgan Callaway took seventh in the 500 free, touching the wall at 4:53.14, a NCAA ‘B' standard. Fellow freshman Kitti Veisz finished third in the 200 IM with a NCAA ‘B' standard of 2:02.90. Kayla Andrews was the third freshman for WVU to perform exceptionally Thursday, finishing second in the 50 free with a NCAA ‘B' standard and school record time of 22.81.
The team finished the evening's swimming events in record fashion, taking second in the 200 free relay with a school record and NCAA ‘B' standard time of 1:31.89. Sophomore Rachel Fedyk, freshman Stephanie Shupe, Veisz and Andrews combined for the time. Continuing with the trend set by the men divers, the Mountaineer women were able to earn team points in the 1 meter dive on Thursday. Freshman Ashley Malik finished 12th (204.45 points) while junior Erica Pfiefer finished 16th (184.10 points).
The Championship will resume Friday, Feb. 16, with the preliminary session beginning at 10 a.m. The finals round will follow 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.