2012-13 Northeast Conference
Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Saint Francis (PA) (5)
2. Bryant (1)
4. Central Connecticut
5. Mount St. Mary’s
6. St. Francis (NY)
7. Sacred Heart
First Place Votes in Parentheses ()
SOMERSET, NJ — Three-time Northeast Conference women’s swimming and diving champion Saint Francis (PA) will look to win its fourth title in 2013, as the Red Flash were picked by the league’s head coaches in the preseason poll to win the championship once again.
The defending champions received five first-place votes in the preseason poll, while Bryant and Wagner tied for the second spot with one first-place vote each. Central Connecticut was fourth and Mount St. Mary’s was fifth, followed by St. Francis (NY) and Sacred Heart in the sixth and seventh spots.
Saint Francis (PA), led by NEC Coach of the Year Pat Gallagher, captured the NEC title by a single point over runner-up Central Connecticut, after trailing the first three days of the meet. A 55-point effort in the 100 butterfly and third place in the last event, the 400 free relay, helped seal the victory. Red Flash swimmers won nine total events out of 20, including three relays.
Junior Elise Lofgren (Molnlycke, Sweden/Hulebacks), who won three individual events, including the 200 breaststroke in record-breaking fashion, and was a member of all three winning relays, will lead the Red Flash in their hopes for another title. Other key returnees include Libby Francis (Dundee, Scotland/Grove Academy), the 100 fly champion, Alicia Ford (Whitney Point, NY/Whitney Point), who won the 100 freestyle, and Megan Collins (Monroeville, PA/Oakland Catholic), who captured the 1650 freestyle title.
The Red Flash had eight total swimmers earn All-NEC honors, with six taking a spot on the first team. They also set new NEC marks in the 200 and 400 medley relays, and the 800 free relay.
The 2013 NEC Championships will be held from Feb. 27 to March 2 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA.
• Casey Ostrander (Yarmouthport, MA/Barnstable) could win her fourth straight NEC Swimmer of the Year accolade this season, and would become the first swimmer to do so. Last season, the senior won three individual events, set two records, and earned an NCAA ‘B’ cut in the 100 back with her time of 54.92. The NEC has not sent a swimmer to the NCAA Championships since 2007.
• A fourth championship crown for Saint Francis (PA) would tie the Red Flash with then-NEC members UMBC and Gardner-Webb for the most team titles.
• Central Connecticut will look to continue its diving excellence as Blue Devil divers have taken home the NEC Diver of the Meet accolade nine times since swimming and diving became an NEC sport in 1999.
• Two NEC teams, Central Connecticut and Saint Francis (PA), have the USA Swimming Winter Nationals scheduled for 2012-13. The meet will include the nation’s top swimmers, including a number of Olympic athletes who competed at the London Games this past summer. Eight NEC athletes qualified last season.
• Eight swimming records fell last season at the NEC Championship, and all were set by Bryant and Saint Francis (PA). With many of the league’s top swimmers and record holders returning, more marks could fall in 2013.
• In the final CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major poll, Central Connecticut, Mount St. Mary’s and Bryant all received consideration, and hope to this year crack the top-25.
TEAM BY TEAM
The Bulldogs earned the most points in program history at the NEC Championship last season with 547, to put them in fourth place. The squad broke seven records at the title meet alone, and also set four conference marks in the 200 and 400 free relays,and 100 and 200 backstroke.
Athlete to watch: Casey Ostrander will look to repeat as NEC Swimmer of the Meet for the fourth time, as well as qualify for the national meet again and become the first NEC swimmer to compete at the NCAA championships since 2007. Bryant’s point total was largely due to Ostrander’s performance, as she won three individual events and led Bryant to two relays wins. If Ostrander wins her 10th, 11th, and 12th individual crowns this season, it would tie her with CCSU’s Olga Budasz, who won 12 from 1999-02.
The Blue Devils won eight dual meets and took second place at the 2012 NEC Championship by one point and placed 10 swimmers and divers on the All-Conference team a year ago.
Athlete to Watch: Taylor Friedmann (Berlin, CT/Berlin) has proven herself to be one of the league’s top freestylers, winning the 200 (1:50.20) and 500 (4:53.71) distances last season, while taking the silver medal in the 1650. Friedmann has yet to lose in the 500 freestyle at the NEC Championship.
Mount Saint Mary’s
Mount St. Mary’s will look to keep climbing the NEC ladder, as the swimming and diving team broke a team record for points at the 2012 NEC Championship for the second straight season with 348. The squad had six top-3 finishes last season, a vast improvement from its two in 2010.
Athlete to Watch: Sophomore Erin Regan (Ft. Washington, PA/Upper Dublin) had a number of firsts for the Mount last season, including becoming the first swimmer to win an event at the NEC Championship, and the first NEC Rookie of the Meet. Regan won the 200 fly in 2:04.3 and finished second in the 100 fly in 56.96.
The Pioneers have an experienced team, returning nine while bringing in one newcomer. The squad took down three individual and two relay program records one year ago. They will look to improve upon their sixth place finish at last season’s NEC championship.
Athlete to Watch: Stephanie Walters (Wanaque, NJ/Wanaque) has consistently performed well for Sacred Heart, and capped off her season with seventh-place last year in the 100 breaststroke at the NEC Championship. She then went on to win the ‘B’ final of the 200 breaststroke and set a new program record of 2:27.
St. Francis (NY)
St. Francis (NY) had several program records fall last season and hope to continue to improve in 2012-13. The Terriers have seven newcomers joining the squad, which includes 11 returnees.
Athlete to Watch: Anastasia Nicholson (Staten Island, NY/Michael J. Petrides) notched a third-place finish in the one-meter dive with a score of 169.60, the best finish for a Terrier at the 2012 NEC Championship.
The Seahawks earned a spot atop the podium with a third place finish at the NEC Championship meet for the fifth straight time. They also won seven dual meets, including four over league teams. Wagner returns six swimmers and divers who competed in event finals at the conference championship.
Athlete to Watch: Sophomore Mallory Lee (Newark, CA/Moreau Catholic) was named second-team All-Conference in the one-meter and two-meter diving events for her second place finishes at the championship meet. She was edged out by CCSU’s Madison Vestergaard by less than two points in the three-meter dive.