Swimming & diving prepare for pair of season-ending championship meets

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's and women's swimming & diving teams will take part in a pair of championship meets during next three weekends, first heading to Southern Connecticut State University to compete in the three-day Northeast-10 Conference Championship beginning tomorrow morning.

The New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association (NEISDA) Championship will then be held in two segments in two different states between Feb. 8 and 17. The swimming portion will be contested on Feb. 8-10 in White River Junction before divers compete on Feb. 16-17 at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.

Both Purple Knight teams are under their third year of guidance by head coach Eileen Hall. In a recent coaches' poll, the men were predicted to finish seventh among the seven squads that compete at the NE-10 Championship, while the women were slated to tie for seventh out of eight schools. At a championship that the league first began sponsoring in 2003-04, the men finished sixth each of the last two years, while the women took seventh the last three seasons.

The Purple Knights have had a run of success during the past decade at the season-ending NEISDA meet, which typically draws a dozen Division II and III men's squads and no fewer than 20 women's teams. Since 2000-01, the men have finished no worse than eighth, including placing sixth among 13 institutions last year. In that same time span, the women failed to crack the top 10 only twice. They placed sixth out of 22 last season, coming within 49 points of fifth. Both teams achieved their high placement despite no Saint Michael's divers qualifying.

Senior Andrew Marshall (Kittery, Maine/Saint Thomas Aquinas/Saint Joseph's [Maine]) enters this weekend leading the Purple Knights with 13 individual and 15 total wins. Sophomore Nathan Paluso (Windham, Maine/Windham) has seven overall victories, while he and first-year Joe Thomas (Norwood, Mass./Boston College HS) both have four of the individual variety. Thomas has six wins, one more than classmate Nick Johns (Seaford, N.Y./Saint Anthony's).

Sophomore Steph Nadow (Charlton, Mass./Saint Peter-Marian) leads the Purple and Gold women with team highs in overall (22), individual (14) and relay (8) triumphs, while junior Julie Mullowney (Burlington, Vt./Burlington) has 19 wins, including 12 in solo races. Sophomore Kathleen Lamontagne (Manchester, N.H./Trinity) won nine times, with six during relays, and senior Corine McAllister (South Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury) has eight victories. Sophomore Kim Brady (Morris Township, N.J./Academy of Saint Elizabeth) picked up five of her seven wins during relay races.