Georgetown’s swim team showed some spark – but not much improvement in the standings – at the Big East swimming championship, which wrapped up Saturday night in Louisville, Ky.
Going into the championship, Head Coach Jamie Holder’s goal for his team was for each of his swimmers to turn in a personal-best performance.
“We think there were 18 school records broken over the four days,” Holder said. “We had a lot of really good times, a lot of personal bests for the whole team. That was great and I was really happy with the personal results for the whole team overall.”
In the first four relays, which kicked off Wednesday evening’s championship action, the Georgetown men turned in two strong sixth-place finishes in both the 800-yard freestyle and 200 medleys. The women turned in two shaky performances, a ninth-place finish in the 800 freestyle and a 10th-place showing in the 200 medley.
Thursday’s action was marked by 16th-place finishes — the last scoring position — by sophomore distance specialist Paul Quincy in the 500 freestyle and by classmate Amy Ballanfant in the 50 freestyle. Georgetown’s women also turned in a sixth-place effort and the men a seventh-place showing in their respective 200 freestyle relays.
The Hoyas turned in a series of strong performances when they returned to the pool on Friday. Senior Ray Zomerfeld turned in a 12th-place consolation showing in the 400 individual medley and junior Victor Lopez-Cantera followed that up with a 10th-place finish in the 100 butterfly.
Senior Thomas Graham came in 14th in the 100 breaststroke and freshman Lauren Opartny and junior Greg Germain finished 16th in the 100 backstroke in the women’s and men’s divisions, respectively. The Georgetown women swam to a ninth-place finish — second from last, but good enough for 18 points — in the 400 medley.
Saturday saw the Blue and Gray turn in some of their strongest performances of the event. Quincy posted Georgetown’s strongest showing of the championship with a fourth-place finish in the 1650 freestyle. Quincy missed receiving a medal by less than one second.
“[Quincy had] a breakout performance. He ended up dropping over 20 seconds from his previous time,” Holder said. “[And] he also got the NCAA B cut, which is a big deal.”
Under the NCAA cut system, where “A” is an automatic qualification and “B” is consideration for qualification, Quincy has not earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament but has earned the right to be considered by the selection committee for the first time.
“It’s something we can consider down the road, and that is really important,” said Holder, who thinks it is unlikely that Quincy will be selected this year.
Zomerfeld and Graham finished 15th and 16th, respectively, in the 200 breaststroke and junior Kristen Pratt showed up with an 11th-place finish in the 200 butterfly. On the men’s side, Lopez-Cantera, who had Georgetown’s strongest performance in 2010 with an 11th-place finish, turned in a much stronger sixth-place showing. The Hoyas rounded out their scoring with a fifth-place finish in the men’s 400 freestyle relay.
The Blue and Gray also suffered two disappointing relay disqualifications. The first came in Friday’s men’s 400 medley relay and the second was in the women’s 400 freestyle relay on Saturday. Both were for early take-offs.
If Georgetown had not faced these disqualifications, the Hoyas might have been able to overtake Cincinnati on the men’s side.
“It certainly wasn’t how we had hoped things would turn out. They were just being aggressive, trying to get off to a good start,” Holder said. “Both were nearly perfect starts. They were literally one one-hundredth of a second off.”
As it stood, however, the Georgetown men finished in eighth place — unchanged from last year — but with a higher point total of 153 points. The overall winner, Louisville, led the championship with 917 points.
The Hoyas finished 10th out of the 11 teams participating on the women’s side, edging only Providence. Louisville, which also won the women’s side, led with 820.5 points. The Blue and Gray had 90.
Although Georgetown didn’t advance on the scoreboard from last year, the personal bests and the 18 broken school records certainly give the relatively young squad hope for the future.
“I’m really excited for next season,” Holder said. “I think the team is definitely on the upswing.”