CAMBRIDGE, MASS. 12/2/12 – Keene State College's Drew Ledwith knew he would be up against stiff completion at this weekend's MIT Winter Invitational and the junior from Keene, N.H was up to the challenge posting two automatic NCAA Division III Championship qualifying times at the meet held in Cambridge.
Ledwith, a three-time All-American, stamped his return ticket to the national meet by posting automatic qualifying marks in his signature events the
500 free (4:27.92) and the 1,650 free (15:28.56). "I've never gone this fast so early in the season," said Ledwith finished second in the 1,650 and fifth in the 500 at last year's NCAA meet. "I can't wait for what the end of the year holds."
"Getting the qualifying marks was a goal for him coming into this meet," said KSC Coach Jack Fabian. "He prepared and was able to do that."
The Keene State men finished second in the team scoring with 682 points behind host MIT (1,445 points). Despite having just six swimmers the KSC women placed third with 485.5 points. MIT also took home the women's title with 1,347 points.
The Owls turned in some specular performances against a top-notch field that included fifth ranked MIT and Harvard. In addition to Ledwith automatic qualifying times, KSC posted eight NCAA 'B' cut and one school record.
In Saturday's final session, sophomores Julie Trodden (Reading, Mass.) and Diana Pimer (West Haven, Conn.) each recorded NCAA had 'B' cut times. Trodden's time of 17:38.93 came with her first place performance in the 1,650 while Pimer got her mark (2:24.36), touching the wall first in the 200 breast. Meanwhile senior Kaila Umbarger (Chelmsford, Mass.), a three-time All-American, won the 100 free (52.34).
In Saturday's first session, Keene State had three NCAA 'B' cuts. Ledwith posted his 'B' qualifying time of 4:02.81 with his second place finish in the 400 I.M. He was also second in the 200 free (1:42.13). Ledwith joined senior Austin Harris (Essex Junction, Vt.) junior Jared Hyde (Tolland, Conn.), and freshman Cole Hogg (Manchester, N.H.) to place second in the 800 free relay with a NCAA 'B' cut time of 6:49.46.
Umbarger finished third in the 100 fly with an NCAA 'B' cut time of 57.41. Earlier the team of junior Alexis Houser (New Hope, Pa.), Pimer, freshman Brianna Laliberte (Candia, N.H.) and Umbarger took second in the 200 medley relay (1:47.96).
In Friday's competition, Keene State posted one automatic NCAA Division III Championship cut, three NCAA 'B' cuts and one school record.
Ledwith earned his third consecutive trip to the national meet with his first place finish in the 500 free race with a NCAA automatic qualifying and school record time of 4:27.92.
Hyde placed third in the 200 I.M. with an NCAA 'B' cut time of 1:54.18. Hyde teamed up with Harris, junior James Black (Lynn, Mass.) and freshman Greg Youngstrom to finish second in the 200 free relay with an NCAA 'B' cut time of 1:23.07.
Umbarger tied for first in the 50 free with a mark of 23.61, a 'B' cut time that would've qualified her for last year's national meet.
The KSC women had several strong second place finishes. Trodden was second in the 500 free (5:08.98). The Owl 200 free relay of juniors Stephanie Murray (Haverhill, Mass.) and Alexis Houser (New Hope, Pa.), Laliberte and Umbarger with a time of 1:37.40 and the 400 free relay of Pimer, freshman Amber Long (Dover, N.H.), Laliberte and Umbarger with a time of 4:00.66 were runners-up in their respective races.