COBLESKILL, N.Y. – The Gallaudet University men’s and women’s swimming programs prepare to make their North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) championship debuts this weekend at the Bouck Hall Natatorium on the campus of SUNY Cobleskill. This is Gallaudet’s first year in the NEAC after being a member of the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC). The 2011 NEAC men’s and women’s swimming and diving championships will run from Friday, February 18, until Sunday, February 20. Each day there will be a preliminary round that starts at 10 a.m. and an evening session containing the event finals for that day with a 6 p.m. start time on Friday and Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Gallaudet hopes to make a splash at this year’s championships as both teams finished a competitive regular-season that has helped prepare them for this weekend.
“Gallaudet’s men’s and women’s teams have a legitimate shot at winning the conference championships,” said Gallaudet coach Bill Snape, now in his seventh season at the helm. “Our men’s team has never won a conference championship while our women’s team won twice in 1985 and ’86 [Chesapeake League].”
This is the second year the NEAC has sponsored men’s and women’s swimming and diving as a conference sport. The six schools competing this weekend are Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet, SUNYIT, SUNY Cobleskill and Wells. Cazenovia is the defending women’s champion while Wells will look to defend its men’s title. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students with a valid school ID. Children under the age of 12 will be admitted for free.
The Bison men’s swim team is led by junior Brian Bennett (Colorado Springs, Colo.) while senior Carlisle Robinson (Carmel, Ind.) leads the women’s team into the NEAC championships. GU has a swimmer ranked in the Top 12 of every event going into the championship meet. Gallaudet hopes to have several of its relays grab gold.
“If we focus on what we can do and do it well, the rest will take care of itself,” said Snape. “I am optimistic. This team has worked very hard. Our spirits are high and we are ready.”