NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Keene State College captured the 2012 Little East Women's Swimming and Diving Championship this afternoon at the Tripp Center Natatorium on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The Owls won 13 out of the 16 events to set the championship meet record for team points (630) en route to earning the program's seventh straight and 10th overall title.
"I feel very proud of them," said KSC Coach Jack Fabian. "They certainly knew they had a job to do and they did it. They raced very well and were composed."
"It was awesome," said junior captain Stephanie Murray from Haverhill Mass. . "We all went into the championships knowing we were missing some key swimmers, but everyone really stepped up and we pulled it off. "
Eastern Connecticut State University eclipsed the 300-point barrier (326) for the first time in program history to place second in the team standings. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (187) edged Bridgewater State University (168) for third place, while Westfield State University (111), Rhode Island College (100), Western Connecticut State University (49), and Plymouth State University (35) completed the eight-team championship field in respective order of finish.
Keene State won 11 out of the 12 individual swimming events, in addition to both of the team relay races to break the previous championship points record held by the 2007 Owl squad (605). Freshman Jennifer French (Nashua, N.H.) led Keene State with three titles, winning the 100 freestyle (54.56), 500 freestyle (5:18.79), and 1,000 freestyle (10:55.23). Classmate Amber Long (Dover, N.H.) established a new championship standard in the 400 individual medley, when she touched the wall at four minutes, 43.44 seconds. Long also captured the 200 butterfly race (2:11.89). Many of the KSC swimmers were freshmen, making their first appearance at the meet. "We all went into the meet with a positive attitude and the meet was really fun," said Long. "We were all encouraging each other. All the freshmen did their job and got best times so it was a good meet for everyone."
Murray joined Long with two individual championship medals, winning the 200 backstroke (2:11.30) and the 200 freestyle (1:58.91). The Owls also placed first in the 200 medley relay (1:52.18) and the 400 freestyle relay (3:44.24).
Westfield State University swept the events in the diving well for the third straight season. Owl sophomore Katie Sterpka (Barkhamsted, Conn.) captured the 1-meter board (234.35) and the 3-meter board (223.85), respectively. Keene State freshman Kelly Gilmore (Dedham, Mass.) placed second on the shorter board, while Bridgewater State sophomore Christina Minich (Wellesley, Mass.) finished second on the taller plank.