Owl Swimmers Set for New England Championships
'KEENE, N.H. 02/16/06 - The Keene State College swim teams hope a change of venue will be a good omen as they get set for the New England Division II-III Championships that begin Friday afternoon at Western New England College in Springfield, Mass.
The championship swim races were moved to WNEC due to renovations at the Bentley College facility. The diving events were held last weekend at UMass-Dartmouth.
All indications point to both Owl men's and women's teams finishing in the top-five. "If the men don't finish at least fourth or fifth, my jaw will hit the floor," said Al Rozzi, KSC's second-year coach. "The women have a realistic chance of placing as high as third."
Keene State should also benefit from having a healthier squad. Last year, several swimmers got sick just prior to the championship and were unable to compete.
Despite losing its home pool advantage, Bentley is the favorite to win both men's and women's competition.
The Owl men, who finished fourth at last year's meet, will be led by trio of Scott Seligman (Clifton Park, N.Y.), Charlie Garrigan (Camden, Me.), and Kyle Uricchio (Enfield, Conn.). Seligman hopes to defend his 100-yard breastroke championship in a time that will qualify him for the All-Division ECAC meet. Garrigan, who earned All-New England honors in seven races last year, will concentrate on the 200 and 500 freestyle while Uricchio should excel in the distance freestyle events.
The KSC women, who claimed the New England Championship in 2001, finished third last year. The Owls boast a pair of defending champions. Kaitlin Pryor (Jaffrey, N.H.) swam to the 200 individual title while Kelly Yankowski (Turners Falls, Mass.) topped the field in the 50 freestyle race. In addition to swimming IM events, Pryor is also expected to be a force in distance freestyle. Yankowski is a top competitor in sprint freestyle and butterfly events. Other top performers for KSC include Devon Trabilsy (Hillsborough, N.H.) in the breastroke and IM, and Caitlin Coulombe (Lincoln, R.I.) in the butterfly.
Pryor, who is just 10ths of a second shot of the KSC record in the 1650, has a good chance of also qualifying for the ECAC Championships in the event.
The top six finishers in each race earn All-New England honors.