The Davidson swimming and diving programs competed in the 2016 Atlantic 10 Swimming and Diving Championships, which began Wednesday, Feb. 17 and concluded Saturday, Feb. 20 at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. After finishing fourth a year ago, the women improved this year with a third overall finish, while the men grabbed seventh place.
Elise Lankiewicz ‘17 dominated the Championships, winning the 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle and 1650 freestyle while also helping the 800 freestyle relay, 400 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay squads to first-place finishes. Lankiewicz swam a time of 16:39.65 in the 1650 freestyle, a grand 10 seconds faster than her competition. Justifiably, she was named the meet’s Most Outstanding Performer for the second straight year on Saturday night.
When asked how she felt about winning the award in consecutive years, Lankiewicz noted, “I was really grateful to my teammates and coaches for having put me in a position to defend my titles this year. There are some incredibly talented women in our conference, so I couldn’t have done it without my teammates holding me to high standards throughout the season and in particular my coaches’ support; they deserve so much of the credit for any successes I’ve had.”
On the whole, the women’s team broke many Davidson records in Ohio. The 800 freestyle relay team highlighted the first day of the Championships, as the quartet of Maggie Farrell ‘19, Elizabeth Weldon ‘18, Lankiewicz and Angie Healy ‘16 crushed the event with a time of 7:16.79, setting an Atlantic 10 record. A five-year Davidson record was also broken on the first day in the 200-yard medley relay, as Anabelle Durham ‘19, Katy Williams ‘17, Emma Tobey ‘16 and Kassie Shannon ‘17 put together a time of 1:42.81.
Records continued to fall throughout the week. Lankiewicz won the 200-yard freestyle with a NCAA B standard time of 1:46.92, setting both an A-10 and school record. Two Wildcats scored in the top-10 in the 200-freestyle — Healy recorded a notable third-place finish with a time of 1:48.25.
Williams won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:01.73, and her preliminary performance set conference and school records, touching the wall at the 1:01.23 mark.
Day three came to a close as the women took a first-place finish in the 400 medley relay. Kate Moreton ‘18, Williams, Farrell and Lankiewicz swam the relay in 3:42.31, setting yet another school record. Along with the medley relay, Moreton also swam to a third-place finish in the 100 backstroke, in 55.67 seconds.
As for the men, Luke Burton ‘16 swam the best individual performance for Davidson in the early going, recording a time of 47.53 in the 100 yard backstroke and tallying second place. He also set a Davidson record with his preliminary time of 47.53 seconds.
The 400 medley relay team, comprised of Burton, Taylor Willenbring ‘18, Cameron Bard ‘16 and Colin MacKay ‘16, swam a time of 3:16.36, which broke a five-year Davidson record and placed them second overall.
Bard, Clay Resweber ‘18 and Grant Smith ‘16 also finished day three with notable finishes for the ‘Cats. Bard placed sixth in the 100 butterfly with a time of 49.45, Resweber took sixth in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:39.66 and Smith placed fifth in the 400 IM with a time of 3:57.25.
Headed into the final day of the championships, the Wildcats had five gold medals, four Atlantic 10 records and seven school records under their belts.
Lankiewicz completed her flawless performance with an undefeated outing on the final day.
Recapping this weekend, with her goals for next year in mind, Lankiewicz explained, “I was really happy to hit several best times this year and defend my titles but am still a little ways out of reach of qualifying for NCAAs. That’s something I would like to take one last shot at accomplishing next year.”
On the final day of the championships, the women collected three school records and one of their A-10 records. Moreton finished ninth in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:01.40, which broke a Davidson record that had been set in 2001.
“I knew my goals were difficult so I always had them in mind during our many practices,” Moreton said. “This weekend I thought back to all the pace sets we had done and that helped me feel confident going into a race. After qualifying for the A final in the 100 back on Friday, I never could have imagined placing third overall and standing on the podium. It was such an awesome experience.”
Also on Saturday, Williams also won the 200 breaststroke and set a school record with with a standard time of 2:12.65 and the 400 freestyle relay squad of Shannon, Farrell, Lankiewicz and Healy set Atlantic 10 and school records with a time of 3:19.65.
The women swimmers had a lot to say about their team’s supportive and motivating dynamic. As Moreton described, “At this championship meet, we all made a ton of noise for the people swimming to the point where we lost our voices.
“We fed off each other’s energy, and it made for some really fast swimming.”
The men swimmers finished the final night successfully, with Burton claiming a first-place finish. The senior hit the wall at the 1:43.76 mark in the 200 backstroke, good for another NCAA B time.
Resweber, Riley League ‘18, Max Schimanski ‘16, Smith and Bard all recorded top-10 finishes for the ‘Cats to end the night.