INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A group of 19 student-athletes from the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's and men's swimming & diving teams have qualified to participate in the NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championship March 19-22 at the Indiana University Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI. CMS last had participants from both of its teams participate in the NCAA Championships at the same time in 2012. This year CMS sends the largest combined group of participants that Coach Griffiths has had during his time as head coach at CMS, eclipsing 2011 when CMS sent a group of 16 – eight men and eight women – to the NCAA Championship.
The Athenas send 10 swimmers to the NCAA Championships, a group led by two seniors in Michele Kee and Helen Liu who experienced nationals in 2011 and 2012.
"With some experience, I think there is excitement for the meet, but we feel comfortable at nationals so it's really fun to go to the meet and know that fractions of a second matter," Griffiths said. "We have upperclassmen who have experienced it [nationals] before so that should help the team."
All told four seniors (Kee, Liu, Annika Jessen and Erin MacLean), a pair of juniors (LillyBelle Deer and Molly Loftus) and four freshmen (Courtney Chan, Kayla Flaten, Emily McKinnon and Kelly Ngo) round out the team of Athenas traveling to Indianapolis.
The strength of the group is its relay teams according to Coach Griffiths, with the Athenas swimming in four of the five relay events (200-yard medley relay, 400-yard medley relay, the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay) at the NCAA Championship.
On the men's side, CMS sends nine participants as the team looks to improve on its 10th place finish at the 2013 NCAA Championship. Five Stags who traveled to nationals in 2013 are back again this season.
"Last season we were 10th at nationals and we would like to do better this year," said Griffiths. "I think we are capable of improving on last season both in terms of total points scored and overall ranking. We had strong free relays last season but I think our medley relays have improved this year and we are capable of scoring more individual points as well."
For the Stags, the team is led by four juniors (Marc Blumberg, Patrick Shultz, James Stevick and Cameron Whiting), along with four sophomores (Zach Alleva, Joseph Hinton, Alex Poltash and Conrad Shabb) and freshman Matthew Williams.
Similar to the Athenas, the Stags send strong relay teams to nationals. The Stags are slated to participate in all five relay events including the 800-yard freestyle relay.
As for individual events, Williams is in the mix for an individual title in the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard backstroke as the top qualifier in both events heading into the NCAA Championship. On the boards, Stevick finished second at the NCAA Championship in 2013 on the 1-meter boards and just missed out on an individual title. Stevick won zone 2 of the 2014 NCAA diving preliminaries at the end of February which puts him back in the hunt in 2014.
The last national champion CMS had of any kind was for either the men or women was Anne Perizzolo in 2010 who won the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke. The last individual national champion for the Stags came in 2005 when Andrew Cox won the 50-yard freestyle.
Men's Qualifiers (Complete List)
Chair Back - $65.00
Bleacher – General Admission - $50.00
Youth/Student/Senior Citizen Bleacher - $25.00
Adult – Chair Back - $12.00
Adult – Bleacher - $8.00
Youth/Student/Senior Citizen Bleacher - $6.00
Adult – Chair Back - $15.00
Adult – Bleacher - $10.00
Youth/Student/Senior Citizen Bleacher - $8.00
Tickets can be purchased through www.NCAA.com/tickets or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Pre-event parking passes (limited quantity) are available for purchase here.
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