The 2015 University Athletic Association (UAA) swimming and diving championships kicked off last Wednesday, Feb. 11, with host school Emory University taking leads in both the women’s and men’s team standings.
On the first full day of competition, the Eagles broke four conference records. At the end of Thursday’s action, the women’s team had totaled 699 points, followed by Washington University in St. Louis (Ill.) with 425, while the men’s team’s 477.5 points were trailed by the University of Chicago’s 458 and the University of Rochester (N.Y.)’s 455.
Two Eagles broke UAA records in individual events: senior McKenna Newsum-Schoenberg finished the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:52.13 while junior Andrew Wilson won the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:49.34.
“I think a huge part of our success was the atmosphere,” Newsum-Schoenberg said. “We were at our home pool and everyone on the team was on deck, regardless of whether or not they were swimming or diving.”
The Emory men and women also set conference records in the 400-yard medleys on the day. On the men’s side, Wilson, senior Hayden Baker and sophomores Hayes Burdette-Sapp and Mitchell Cooper took first with a mark of 3:16.81. For the women’s relay, senior Nancy Larson, sophomores Claire Liu and Annelise Kowalsky and freshman Megan Campbell finished in first with a time of 3:45.71.
The women’s team furthered their lead on Friday with 1,385 points, while the men found themselves tied for first place with the Chicago with 1,054 points each.
UAA records were set in nine out of 15 events on Friday, the Eagles securing three. Individual records from freshman Julia Wawer in the women’s 200-yard freestyle (1:50.60), junior Andrew Wilson in the 100-yard breaststroke (54.12) and the 200-yard medley by the team of Liu, Kowalsky, Campbell and sophomore Marissa Bergh took first (1:42.80).
“I think in this meet, we really found our identity as a men’s team and came together – people stepped up when they needed to and everyone was supporting each other,” Wilson said.
The Eagles took the top three spots in the women’s 400-yard individual medley with senior Megan Beach taking first, followed by freshman Phoebe Edwards and senior Michelle York.
By Saturday evening both the men and women’s teams were comfortably in first. The women finished with 2,076.5 points – the third most ever scored by a team in the history of the UAA Championships – while the men earned 1,408.
A number of Eagles won awards Saturday night. Wilson was nominated for the UAA Men’s Swimmer of the Year Award, while Newsum-Schoenberg received a nomination for the Women’s Swimmer of Year Award. Freshman Julia Wawer was also selected as the UAA Women’s Rookie of the Year.
“It’s an honor,” Newsum-Schoenberg said. “The meet was insanely fast on both the men’s and women’s side, and it was just such an incredible environment to be in.”
Additionally, Head Coach Jon Howell and his assistants Cindy Fontana, Chris Marshall, John Petroff and Miller Douglas were named the UAA Women’s Coaching Staff of the Year for the second year in a row and the eighth time in Emory’s history.
“We have an incredibly supportive coaching staff cheering us on – we have two more big meets coming up, so we are looking forward to carry this momentum forward,” Newsum-Schoenberg said. “It’s back to work on Monday.”
The Eagles will host the Emory Invitational, the team’s final meet before the 2015 NCAA Division III Championships, on Feb. 20 and 21 in the Woodruff Physical Education Center (WoodPEC).