Villanova Women, Seton Hall Men Capture Big East Championship Titles

The 2017 BIG EAST Swimming & Diving Championships presented by Jeep, came to a conclusion on Saturday night, naming the Seton Hall men's team and Villanova’s women's team BIG EAST Champions in history-making fashion. The Pirates seized their first title in program history with 872.50 points while the Wildcats won their fourth-straight title to become the third BIG EAST team to claim nine titles overall.
For a fourth-straight year, Georgetown finished as BIG EAST runner-up for both its men's and women's teams, with 685 points on the women's side and 677.50 points on the men's side.
Villanova sophomore Darby Goodwin and Seton Hall junior Noah Yanchulis repeated their honors as the Most Outstanding Women’s and Men’s Swimmer of the Meet for a second consecutive year, respectively. Goodwin registered 60 individual points and Yanchulis recorded 56 individual points.
Rick Simpson from Villanova was voted the BIG EAST Women's Coach of the Year and Seton Hall’s Ron Farina was voted the Men's Coach of the Year.
For the diving events, Georgetown swept the final awards as Margaret Barnhorst was named the most outstanding women’s diver and Jared Cooper-Vespa was named the most outstanding men’s diver. Barnhorst finished second in the women's 1-meter dive and won the 3-meter event with a score of 527.75 while Cooper-Vespa won gold in the men's 3-meter dive and silver in the 1-meter dive.
Villanova’s Todd Michael and Georgetown’s Michael Tober shared the BIG EAST Women’s Diving Coach of the Year honors while Tober was voted the Men’s Diving Coach of the Year.

In Saturday’s finale, the Wildcats won six events. Emily Mayo and Caitlin Daday got the night going for Villanova as they took the top two spots in the 1,650 freestyle, with Mayo winning the event in a time of 16:44.84.  In the men’s final heat, Seton Hall’s Vadim Jacobson picked up his second BIG EAST individual crown of the year with a first-place time of 15:36.71.

In the 200-yard backstroke, Goodwin raced to a first-place finish in a time of 1:55.02. The men’s 200-yard backstroke saw Villanova’s Andrew Kelley and Justin Cucchi win gold and silver, respectively. Kelley edged Cucchi by .32 seconds to take the top spot on the podium with a time of 1:46.56.

Extending their momentum, four Wildcats earned awards in the women’s 100-yard freestyle. Alexa Fabbri won the event in a time of 49.70 while teammates Taylor Wilson, Jessie Randolph, and Mary Snyder finished second, fourth and sixth, respectively. On the men’s side, Seton Hall’s Dakota Williams broke his own school record after touching the wall in 44.86 to pick up his second individual title in two days.

Georgetown’s Molly Fitzpatrick successfully defended her title in the 200-yard breaststroke as she cruised to a three-second victory, touching the wall in 2:11.16 for her second gold of the championships. XU’s Matthew Dyer won the men’s race in a NCAA-B cut of 1:59.88, setting a school record.

The women’s 200-yard butterfly saw five Wildcats finish in the top eight. Christine Sullivan won the event in a time of 2:00.74, and Mackenzie Niness took silver in the event. Tarryn Els placed fourth, and Sara Nicolosi and Erin Merkle finished in seventh and eighth place, respectively. The men’s side saw Seton Hall sophomore Kyle Nash earn his first career BIG EAST title with a 1:48.70 in the event.

In repeat action, the Villanova women completed a clean sweep of the relays with the 400 Freestyle in the meet’s final event, clocking in at 3:20.10. The Pirates closed the night by capturing the men’s 400-yd free relays with a school record of 2:58.14.
Major Awards
Most Outstanding Women's Swimmer: Darby Goodwin, Villanova
Most Outstanding Men's Swimmer: Noah Yanchulis, Seton Hall
Women's Coach of the Year”Rick Simpson, Villanova
Men's Coach of the Year: Ron Farina, Seton Hall
Most Outstanding Women’s Diver: Margaret Barnhorst, Georgetown
Most Outstanding Men’s Diver: Jared Cooper-Vespa, Georgetown
Women’s Diving Coach of the Year: Todd Michael, Villanova & Michael Tober, Georgetown
Men’s Diving Coach of the Year: Michael Tober, Georgetown

FINAL Team Rankings 

1. Villanova        1,017
2. Georgetown   685
3. Seton Hall      518
4. Xavier           498
5. Providence     239
6. Butler            189

 1. Seton Hall     872.50
2. Georgetown   677.50
3. Xavier           658.50
4. Villanova        614.5
5. Providence     196