Owl Women Set for New England Swim Meet
KEENE, N.H. 2/14/08 - The second season begins for the Keene State College women's swim team this weekend when the Owls travel to UMass-Dartmouth on Friday for the three-day, 23 team, New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Championships (NEISDA) at the Tripp Center pool.
Unlike past years, the championships have been separated this season. The men's meet will be held the following week at Roger Williams University.
"Ideally, we didn't want to split it up," said KSC Coach Jack Fabian. "But it gives us time to provide individual attention to the swimmers."
It's been a banner year in the pool for the KSC women who finished their dual meet season with a 10-1 record.
Since the championship moved to a Division II-III format in 2001, Keene State has finished no lower than fourth place. The Owl women won their lone title in 2001.
The Owls, who placed second at last year's competition behind Bentley, won eight events, earned a combined 39 All- New England honors, and broke 10 KSC records.
On the positive side, the Owls are very familiar with the Tripp Pool having won the LEC championships there in December.
But the Owls will have their work cut out for them. KSC is expected to battle a pair of Division II schools, Bryant College and Bentley College for the title. Bentley has captured the last six championships. The women lost a close dual meet to the Falcons 157-143 earlier this season.
"We're going in as underdogs, but we swim better that way," said Fabian.
According to Fabian, championship meets usually come down to a few top individuals and putting them in the right race to maximize their score.
Keene State has several swimmers who fit that bill. The sophomore duo of Kristine Trutor (Holden, Mass.) and Alea Paddock (Newbury, N.H.) are poised for strong meets. Trutor won the 50 and 100-yard races last year and Paddock earned All-New England in seven races. Seniors Kelly Yankowski (Turners Falls, Mass.) and Kelly Widman (Middlebury, Conn.)will be looking to complete their Owl career with fine efforts. Yankowski is the reigning champ in the 100 free and 100 I.M. and Widman was a member of three winning relays.
Jackie Foster (Bedford, N.H.), a sophomore transfer from UConn, junior Katie Allenson (Clifton Park, N.Y.) and freshmen Rachel Mondello (Stoneham, Mass.) and Jessica Laidley (Brockton, Mass.) should also rack up points for the Owls. Chelsea Peruccio (Glastonbury, Conn.) has the ability to finish among the leaders in diving events.
The New Englands won't signal the end of the swim season for many Owl competitors. Keene State has already qualified 15 swimmers for the ECAC Open championships that take place at the University of Pittsburgh Feb. 28-March 1.
As the talent on the team improves, so does the length of the second season.