MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University swimming and diving team earned seven top-six individual finishes to lead the way on the final day of a two-day quad meet in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Racing for the third consecutive weekend to open the season, the Mountaineers faced off against Virginia Tech, Duke and William & Mary at Christiansburg Aquatic Center. Senior Emma Skelley
, sophomore Merwane El Merini
and sophomore Emma Harris
all finished in the top four on Saturday to pace WVU.
“We had a very solid day today,” coach Vic Riggs said. “I thought both the men’s and women’s teams’ relays continued to get better, and we improved on some of our little things that we discussed last night. With this being our third weekend in a row of racing, the teams fought hard. On the women's side I'm really proud of their effort today. Being the third meet that we haven't had a full squad because injuries, for the ladies to battle back to have it come down to the last relay shows their fight.
“Now we have four weeks to get ready for NC State.”
The WVU women were edged by William & Mary (176-164), Duke (281-71) and Virginia Tech (286-66). The men fell to William & Mary (223-123), Duke (288-64) and Virginia Tech (277-69).
Saturday began with the 200 medley relay, where the men earned a sixth-place finish in 1:33.76 and the women placed eighth in their race with a 1:46.33.
The first individual event was the 1,650 freestyle. Skelley backed up her WVU Natatorium-record swim a week ago with a 17:07.16 to finish fourth overall. In the men’s race, junior James Koval
led the Mountaineers, touching the wall in 16:10.41 to finish sixth.
Next up was the 50 freestyle. El Merini, the reigning Big 12 Swimmer of the Week, posted a 20.64, good for a third-place finish by 0.16 seconds. Junior Celia Martinez
De La Torre led the women with a 25.05 to finish 13th.
West Virginia notched a pair of eighth-place finishes in the 100 backstroke. Freshman Julia Miranda
led the Mountaineer women, touching the wall in 57.33, leading a tight pack of four swimmers that finished within 0.15 seconds. Sophomore Maggie Miller
’s 57.43 was also good for a top-10 finish, in 10th.
For the men, it was freshman Luke Hene
in eighth with a 52.15, just ahead of El Merini, in ninth with a 52.26.
Harris notched WVU’s second third-place finish thanks to a 2:20.83 in the 200 breaststroke. Freshman Jack Portmann
’s 2:08.79 to place 10th led the men.
Freshman Ryan Kelly
posted a 1:41.75 to finish seventh overall in the 200 freestyle, while he was joined in the top 10 by junior Chris McMahon
’s 1:43.82 to place 10th. Skelley added another top-10 finish in the 200 freestyle, touching the wall in ninth with a 1:54.73.
The Mountaineers earned a pair of top-six finishes in the women’s 100 butterfly. Freshman Julia Miranda
led the way in fifth with a 56.38, while freshman Morgan Bullock
’s 56.48 was good for sixth. For the men, freshman Gabe Swardson
led the way with a 51.33 to place 10th.
The final individual swimming event was the 400 individual medley. Freshman Alex Pampalone
’s 4:33.85 was sixth, and sophomore Morgan Carr
placed ninth with a 4:34.92. For the men, Hene notched his second top-10 finish with a 4:13.34 to place 10th overall.
The two-day event concluded with the 400 freestyle relay. The WVU women notched a sixth-place finish in 3:30.72, while the men came in seventh in their race, in 3:06.00.
On springboard on Friday, junior Logan McHenry
placed seventh overall on the men’s 1-meter with a 297.00 to lead WVU, while sophomores Julia Calcut
t and Madelyn Woods
earned top-10 finishes on women’s 3-meter, with a 225.05 and a 215.15 to finish ninth and 10th, respectively.
Saturday, Calcutt added a seventh-place finish on 1-meter with a 239.80, while Woods was 10th with a 227.25. Junior Michael Proietto
led the men on 3-meter with 301.00 to finish ninth, while McHenry was 10th with a 298.20.
WVU has a month off of competition before traveling to the three-day N.C. State Invitational in Greensboro, North Carolina, on November 17-19.