'KEENE, N.H. 12/3/03 - The Keene State College women's swim team will be looking to keep its streak intact when it dives into the Clark Athletic Center Pool at UMass-Boston on Saturday to defend its Little East Conference Championship.
Winners of three straight titles, the Owls, who have claimed the championship every year it has been contested, realize that a total team effort will be needed to keep the trophy in Keene. "This will be the hardest one we've gone after, " said Gene Leonard, KSC's eighth-year swim coach. "It's going to be a nail-biter."
According to Leonard, KSC's main competition will come from UMass-Dartmouth. "They've progressively improved and will looking to dethrone us," he said.
But Keene State, which has several seniors on its roster, has other plans. "We want to finish our careers undefeated in the LEC," said senior captain Katie Avener.
The Owls, who set six meet record at last year's championship, will need strong performances from a group that includes Lisa Wandeloski (100-yard butterfly, 100 and 200 freestyle, freshman Katlin Pryor of Jaffrey (200 IM, 200-back and 100 butterfly), and Megan Humphreys, who Leonard calls his 'clean-up hitter 'because of her versatility to compete and win both short and long-distance freestyle races.
With points given out for the top 10 places, every race will be crucial. "Although we expect to win our share of events, the swimmers who finish 7-10 could be the deciding factor," Leonard said.
Although they have three LEC trophies hanging on the wall at KSC's Spaulding Gym, the Owls are looking forward to defending their title. "Besides the New Englands, this is our biggest meet of the year," Avener said.