By Ray Bosse
Colgate University convincingly captured the women's team title with 862 points. The run down for the rest was: Navy -760 , Bucknell 581.5, American - 332, Army – 323.5, Lehigh - 230, Lafayette - 226, Holy Cross – 144.
Erica Derlath (Colgate) set a meet and league record in the 1650 in 16:24.83. She led a 1-2-3 finish for Colgate to set the tone for the night as they picked up right where they left off. Derlath went up and down the pool neck-and-neck with teammate Caren Guyett. At the 1000, Derlath began to pull away and by the 1200 she had a body length lead. By then the crowd had a sense that the record, 16:25.55, was in reach. Both Derluth and Guyett made the NCAA “B” standard.
Erin McGraw closed out her college conference career with a bang by destroying the field in the 200 back with a 1:56.39 (“B” cut). That bettered her own pool, meet and league record by over two seconds! She went 1:58.67 in 2009 in the “suit era”. The final was a Colgate/Navy dual meet as five Red Raiders and three Mids made up the field.
Navy showed they were not going down without a fight as senior Allison Ranzau won her first conference title by capturing the 100 free in 50.39. Ranzau turned even with the leaders at the 75 and then looked like someone shot her out of a torpedo tube coming off the turn. She accelerated away from everyone and by the flags there was no doubt who would win. She was still giddy after warming down with the win. After spending three years finishing runner-up to Navy great Thuy-Mi Din, it was a relief to touch first. “I have had a pretty disappointing meet so far, so it feels great to finally win”, smiled Ranzau. She knew she was with the leaders at the 75 as she admitted she sneaked a little peak. By 95 yards when asked if she knew she was in front Ranzau grinned and said “Yes.” By that point the Navy fans were grinning too!
Momentum continued to shift across the pool to the Navy bench as Laura Gorinski (Navy) showed why she is the dominate breaststroker in the league as she used her powerful smooth style to win the 200 breast in 2:12.83 (“B” Cut). She went 2:12.08 in prelims, and was pressed by Emma Santoro (Colgate) in the finals (2:14.72 , “B” Cut).
Navy made it three in a row as Rheanna Vaughn and Toni Paruso swept the 200 fly (1:58.77, League, Pool and Meet Record and 2:00.44 – both “B” cuts). Paruso went out fast in typical sprinter fashion, 56 the first 100, but Vaughn stayed within striking distance and surged past by the 150 to take the gold for the Mids.
The women’s three-meter saw Colgate’s Kim Pilka sweep the diving events as she scored 308.05, more than 60 points ahead of the second place finisher. The team races got very interesting after the diving as American hung on for a 10.5 lead over Army (304-293.5) heading into the relays and local rivals Lehigh and Lafayette were tied at 204.
The 400 free relay…have to finish with a Colgate win. Bucknell, Navy, and Colgate all turned even at 1:42 at the 200 but the final two legs for the Red Raiders pulled away as the large crowd of fans went crazy. Their time of 3:23.51 was a “B’Cut (splits-51.52/50.60/50.76/50.63). Lehigh (5th) won the battle with Lafayette (8th) so the Engineers claim the Bethlehem Valley crown while American held of the Black Knights of Army for the 4th position.
It was Navy from start to finish as they won their 8th straight title with 1056 points. The rest of the scores were Army – 603.5, Bucknell- 566, Lehigh – 380, Colgate – 363, American – 201, Lafayette – 183.5, Holy Cross- 130.
Navy entered four in the 1650 race and went 1-2-3-4. Meet record holder Erik Hunter went out fast early but by the 500 Justin Vagts had caught him and then swam away for the win. Vagts’ 15:04.11 may be the fastest ‘unsuited” league meet mile as the record was set in 2009 in 14:58.72 by Erik Hunter who finished 2nd in this race at 15:17.81.
In what Army diving coach Ron Kontura called the “greatest 1 meter final in Patriot League history” Army’s Chris Nguyen outpointed Olaf Olson (Navy) 398.35 – 385.75. Nguyen’s score is a meet, pool, and League six dive record. “When I hit my 2nd dive, an inward 2 ½, for 80 some points I knew I was on tonight”, Nguyen said. The one-meter event was held while the final heats of the 1650 were being conducted. When asked if the format bothered him while diving he replied, “No, I like having the noise and the crowd, it didn’t bother me at all.” If these two divers can repeat these performances on the 'big stage' they should score at the NCAA Championships.
Mac Anthony (Navy) secured his third win of the meet in the 200 back, defeating teammate Conor Campbell by pulling away with a big turn at the 175 to win with a 1:47.13. Anthony’s other wins were in the 500 and 200 freestyles, which earned him Swimmer of the Meet honors.
Navy plebe Zach Ingold went 44.15 ('B' Cut) to capture the 100 free. He led the entire way and won by 2/10ths over Navy senior Aaron Aiken (44.37).
Pete Donahue put the chain-of-command back in the correct order as the Navy senior won the 200 breast in a 'B' cut 1:59.95. Navy plebe Luke Hoffer had qualified first with a 1:59.72, but faded the last 50 to finish with a 2:1.32.
Mark Meyer (Navy) secured the 200 fly in 1:44.87 by close to three seconds leading a 1-2-3 Navy sweep. Meyer picks up the title left by his brother Adam, who graduated last year and holds the Meet, Pool, and League record.
The 400 free relay saw Navy bring down another 'suited' record from 2009. The Navy quartet went 2:56.76 (splits- 44.16/44.75/43.70/44.15) to set a pool, meet, and league record. Bucknell went 3:00.87 to nab the runner-up position.
• The crowd the second night was so large that over 100 spectators had to be turned away because of fire code restrictions. They could watch the action through large glass windows that surround about half the natatorium.
• The Bucknell students had crowded into the Fitness Center that sits adjacent to the pool and lined the glass windows to watch…it got a little too crazy that at one point campus security was called to disperse them. Nothing serious and had no affect on the conduct of the meet, but great to see ANY campus getting that excited about swimming!
• Colgate coach Fernando Canales has been sporting the new Colgate sweats during the entire meet. No coincidence that the number on his sweat is #21…after his hometown hero from Puerto Rico, baseball great Roberto Clemente. When he phoned in the order he made sure that #21 was an XXL! When Canales told his young assistant Derick Roe that he took #21 after the greatest #21 in sports, Roe asked “Deion Sanders?” Can you say generation gap??
• More proof the conference is getting deeper: In the men’s 200 back it took 1:56.60 to get 16th, last year it was 2:02.14. The men’s 200 breast was much deeper as it took 2:05.98 (8th)/2:09.05 (16th) after prelims; compare that to 2:08.98/2:13.77 from last year. In the women’s 200 back the 8th and 16th place times were both 2 seconds faster than last year.
• Lehigh Junior Paola Simon put on quite a show grooving to her ipod as she waited for the consolation finals of the 100 free. Zoned out, standing behind her block while the backstroke awards were being conducted, she showed some slick moves and must be a regular in the Bethlehem dance club circuit!
• School Record Recap(the best I could come up with):
1. Tom Browne (Bucknell) 200 Back-1:48.04
2. Laura Gorinski (Navy) 200 Breast – 2:12.08
3. Erin McGraw (Colgate) – 200 Back – 1:58.50
4. Erica Derlath (Colgate) 1650 Free-16:24.83
5. Chris Nguyen (Army) 1 Mt Dive – 398.35
6. Navy 400 Free Relay – 2:56.76