Courtsey of the Landmark Conference
TOWSON, Md. - The 2013-14 swimming & diving season comes to a head this weekend at the Landmark Conference Championships. Marywood University will host the event for the third straight year after joining the conference as an affiliate member in 2011.
Susquehanna University and the University of Scranton have combined to win the first six Landmark women's titles. Scranton won the first three titles, but it has been all Susquehanna the last three years. Both teams will be fighting for their fourth title this weekend. Susquehanna is 6-5 this season and 5-1 in the Landmark with its only loss coming when the squad was split at two meets. The Crusaders have had to replace two-time Landmark Swimmer of the Year, Devin Lessard, but the last two Rookies of the Year, Lexi Cole (2012) and Kelsey Lessard (2013) are back.
Scranton is 9-3 overall and 4-2 in the conference. The Royals came up short to Susquehanna and Catholic in early January. Scranton is led by Sara Franciscovich who has earned multiple All-Conference honors in her first two years. Individual breast stroke champions Paige Agnello and Alexis Walsh also return for the Royals. Sophomore Colleen Barry is a two-time Landmark Diver of the Year.
Catholic is looking to win its first Landmark title this season. The women are 10-2 this season and 5-1 in the Landmark. Susquehanna dealt Catholic its only loss in a 157-110 match-up nearly three months ago. The Cards are looking to climb the standings after finishing in third place the last five years. Senior Joanna Ladas missed the championships last year, but the 2011 Swimmer and Rookie of the Year is back and peaking at the right time.
While the women's championship has been split evenly in the first six years of Landmark competition, the men's title has been all about the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Last year the Mariners won eight individual events and four relays to accumulate 924 points, a conference record. USMMA returns the 2013 Landmark Swimmer of the Year Kevin Lindgren, Diver of the Year William Porter, and Rookie of the Year Jordan Cripe not to mention a full arsenal of talent across the board.
Chasing the Mariners the last few years has been Susquehanna and Scranton. Susquehanna has a strong freshman class scattered throughout the Landmark top-10 times list this season. Scranton returns the talented breast stroker, John Hughes, while senior Adrian Silva boasts the fastest 100 butterfly time this season.
While Scranton and Susquehanna may be perennial favorites to challenge USMMA, Catholic and Marywood are knocking on the door. Both teams have had great seasons thus far. The Pacers are 9-3 overall and 5-1 in the Landmark this season while the Cardinals are 8-4 overall and 4-2 in the conference. The two teams faced off Nov. 3, and Marywood narrowly edged the Cards 104-101 in Washington, D.C.
Catholic's Caleb Capozella is back making an impact this season while freshman Guido Saccaggi has been tearing up the long distance races. For Marywood, it has been a team effort, with multiple swimmers contributing to the team's success. Junior Zach Haney and sophomore Jason Beabout have posted top five times in the Landmark.
It will all be decided this weekend after three exciting days of competition in the pool. On Sunday, the conference will award two new teams as Landmark Champions.
Ticket Information: A limited number of tickets will be available on-site at Marywood. On-site ticket sales will begin 90 minutes prior to each session. Single session passes are $7. All Landmark students are admitted free with a valid ID. Tickets at Marywood will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. Any tickets purchased are non-refundable.
Can't make the trip? Live stats will available online or through the MeetMobile app (iOS or Android). Marywood will provide live video throughout the championships. There is no audio commentary, but there will be a live blog detailing events throughout the championships. Stay tuned to the blog for news, photos, videos and hopefully the occasional interview.