The Centre swimming and diving teams traveled to Birmingham, Ala. to compete in the first ever SAA Championship meet, with events held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. At the end of the three days of competition, Centre's men's and women's teams each emerged victorious and will take the trophies home to Danville.
The men's competition was as closely contested as it possibly could have been, with half a point separating first and second place. The Colonels won with a combined team score of 854.5 points, edging Sewanee's second place score of 854 points. Centre won the men's championship without winning an event in the competition, as they used their depth to accumulate the points necessary to edge Sewanee. Berry finished third with 623.5 points.
Centre's men had two scoring relay teams this weekend. Senior Stuart Cowley (Lexington, Ky.) and sophomores Jess Pritchett (Louisville, Ky.), Wes McCrary (Winchester, Ky.) and John Kelley (Cincinnati, Ohio) teamed up to take second in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Cowley, Pritchett, McCrary and sophomore Spencer Vetter (Lexington, S.C.) finished third in the 200-yard medley relay.
In addition to the relays, John Kelley finished second in the 400-yard individual medley and provided the half-point that eventually proved to be the margin of victory with his third place tie in the 200-yard backstroke. Spencer Vetter took third place in the breaststroke at 100-yard and 200-yard distances, while Jess Pritchett finished second in the 100-yard freestyle. Other top scoring performances for Centre came from senior Ryan Rougeux (Louisville, Ky.), who finished second in the 3m diving competition, and sophomore John Ruble (Bagdad, Ky.), who took second in the mile freestyle.
On the women's side, the Colonels won the event with a combined team score of 862 points. Rhodes finished second with 719 points, while Sewanee took third with 714 points.
The Centre women won three relay events to help jumpstart their scoring. Seniors Christianna Parrell (Martinsville, Ind.) and Shannon Wofford (Ft. Thomas, Ky.) teamed with junior Clark Weber (Louisville, Ky.) and sophomore Hadley Judson (Atlanta, Ga.) to win the 200-yard freestyle relay. Senior Holly Oatman (Paducah, Ky.) teamed with Wofford, Judson and Weber to win the 400-yard freestyle relay, while the team of Oatman, Judson, Weber and sophomore Danielle Wahl (Colorado Springs, Colo.) won the 800-yard freestyle relay.
Centre's women also came away with three individual wins to help provide the winning cushion for the team. Clark Weber took first place in both the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle, making her the women's high point swimmer of the meet. Danielle Wahl also contributed an individual win, taking first in the mile freestyle to go along with her relay win.
Centre head coach Dean Brownley was named SAA Men's and Women's Coach of the Year with his team's victories. The NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships will begin on March 20th in Shenandoah, Texas.