PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Led by junior freestyler Meaghan Buckley (Haverhill, MA), the Plymouth State College women’s swimming and diving team brought home 19th place from the annual Division III New England Championships last weekend at Bowdoin College.
The Panthers earned 164 points at the meet in Brunswick, Maine, finishing in the middle of the pack at the 40-team competition. Williams College won the title with 1,419 points, while the Panthers dropped a bit from last year’s 15th place finish.
“We had some very good swimming and diving efforts,” said PSC eighth-year head coach Al Switzer. “We were not as strong this year in terms of depth. We swam a lot of good times in the meet, and a lot of our inexperienced people got their first shot at competing at the New Englands. We would’ve liked to finish higher, but it was not in the cards.”
Buckley, who was PSC’s standout swimmer during the dual meet season, was again the top swimmer for the Panthers. She made the finals in all three freestyle events she entered, placing seventh in the 50 (25.10) and eighth in both the 100 (54.41) and 200 (2:00.05). Buckley set school records in the preliminaries in the 100 and 200, finishing with respective times of 53.80 and 1:58.93. In fact, her swim in the 100 free prelims reached the NCAA National ‘B’ qualifying standard.
“Meaghan had an outstanding effort,” said Switzer. “She qualified fourth in the 100 out of about 80 or 90 people, with the national qualifying time. She swam beautifully, and again in the 200, when she crushed the school record.”
Junior Sarah Lagasse (Haverhill, MA) turned in a strong performance in the diving events. She scored 270.00 points to place 15th in the one-meter diving, and scored 297.95 to finish 18th in the three-meter event. Lagasse was nearly unbeaten during the dual meets.
“Sarah had a beautiful round of voluntaries last weekend,” said Switzer. “She missed a couple of dives in the optionals that could’ve lifted her quite a bit.”
The Panthers also got a strong performance from freshman Allison Bregy (Camden, ME). The butterflier made the most of her first appearance at the New Englands, placing 18th in the 200 fly (2:21.62). She set the school standard in the prelims with a time of 2:21.47.
The Panthers performed well, as they often do at the New Englands, in the relays. The 800 freestyle relay squad of junior Sandy Twaddell (Jaffrey, NH), Buckley, senior Christa Smith (North Yarmouth, ME), and Bregy had the top finish for PSC’s relay teams, taking 11th place in a school-record time of 8:19.75. The same four women competed in the 400 free relay, placing 18th in 3:51.00, and the 200 free relay unit of Smith, Buckley, freshmen Amy Bernier (Bristol, CT) and Bregy placed 17th in 1:45.82.
“They did a very good job in the 800 free relay,” said Switzer. “The 400 free relay was a little disappointing in the trials, but a better time would not have moved them up a heat for the finals, and they did a good job to come back and swim well in the finals.”
The 400 medley relay team from PSC, which included Smith, junior Aimee Cormier (Milford, ME), Bregy and Buckley took 19th in 4:22.82.
“We were missing some people in the medley relays,” said Switzer, “but the 400 medley relay did a heck of a job.”
The Panthers completed the dual meets this season with a 7-3 overall record. The team has a dual meet record of 55-16 over the past seven seasons under Switzer. The head coach is ably assisted by Deb Link and Beth Hamblet.