21 February 2008

Boston University at the America East Conference Swimming & Diving Championships

Jan & I traveled to Orono, Maine, to watch Emily compete with the Boston University Terriers at the America East Conference swim meet. Seven NCAA Division I teams swam at the event hosted by the University of Maine. The Terrier men’s and women’s team each won second place overall. For the women, University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) and the University of New Hampshire (UNH) were top picks in a coaches' survey prior to the meet. For the men, UMBC was again the coaches' top pick, with Binghamton University as second. BU did well!

Though this blog entry revolves around Emily's performance, I hope I can also give reader's a glimpse into just how great this team is in overall terms. Sorry for the somewhat blurry pics--I did not use a flash when photgraphing swimmers.

If sheer physical presence means anything, you knew the Terriers were up to something big by their huddles, loud cheers, and BIG team spirit (love those red suits!):

And so they were up to something big. The Terriers got off to a big lead early in the meet, thanks in part to a strong performance by the divers. Taking 1st and 2nd in numerous diving events really builds the point total. Here are Tess Waresmith and Alex Crerar with their first and second place medals in 1 Meter Diving, looking back over the pool to their team-mates:

Swimming is a tough and very competitive sport. The individual personal victories are part of a story worth telling. For BU, there was Eric Carlson, a graduate student in the law program who came to Boston with one year of eligibility and swam for the team, and took first place in the 100-Yard Breaststroke. There was Nate Everett, a freshman who made it to finals and won 6th place in the same event. And there was Evan Morris, a graduating senior who made it to the top heat in finals and medalled for the first time. Here's (from left to right, in red) Nate, Eric, and Evan with their medals:

Relays are a tremendously exciting part of competitive swimming. The swimmers really get pumped up on the loud cheers of their team-mates and parents. BU's relay teams consistently did well, like the 200-Medley team of Sara Doersam, Emily Munday, Kirsten Tullis, and Maria McIntyre shown here with their second-place medal:

Emily also did well in her individual events. Typically, five or six heats with a total of thirty or more swimmers compete in morning preliminary events. The top eight swimmers compete in the evening's finals heat, and the next eight swimmers compete in the evening's consolation finals heat. Swimmers in both finals heats help put points on the board for their team.

The highlight of Emily's individual events was her first place win in the 100-Yard Butterfly race, with a time of 56.87 seconds in pre-lims and 56.98 in finals:

Swimming is a game of hundredths of a second. That 56.98 top finish was followed by a second place finish by Kary Goodman of UNH, in 57.03. Here's the timing display for that race:

A good crowd of parents found their way to the wilds of Orono, Maine, to cheer their swimmers. Here is the BU section:

For three and a half days, the BU women's team led UMBH. Gradually, though, we watched that lead slip away. Here's a pic of the scoreboard, just before UMBH moved into the top spot:

Swim meets, for a parent, cand be long and boring. But there are always these incredible moments when I wish I could stop time and hold those sweet seconds for eternity. I paused to soak in one such bittersweet moment near the end of the meet. UMBH had just pulled ahead in the score, swimmers hugged their graduating senior team-mates, the DJ played Semisonic's "Closing Time," and there was a spontaneous outbreak of dancing among various groups of teams on the pool deck.

Though UMBH went on to win the meet, this was one amazing event to come. Semisonic faded and the Stones "You Can't Always Get What You Want" began building. How prophetic. In the last women's race of the meet, the 400-Free Relay, UMBH started out with a slim lead. BU's swimmer in the third leg of the race, however, pulled ahead on a turn and established a BU lead (here's Emily, just coming off her turn to establish that lead):

And here is the relay team of Brigette O'Shaugnessy, Maria McIntyre, Emily Munday, and Eve Kinsella receiving their medal (And if you try sometimes you just might find, You get what you need!):

The meet wrapped up with a number of awards that made anyone associated with the BU team very proud of their season's accomplishments:
- Men's and Women's Coaching Staff of the Year: Boston University; Congratulations Head Coach Bill Smyth, Assistant Coach Jen Strasburger, and Diving Coach Agnes Miller!
- Female Diver of the Meet: Tess Waresmith, BU
- Male Diver of the Meet: Andre Watson, BU
- Female Most Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet: Eve Kinsella, BU

Go Terriers!

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