CAZENOVIA, N.Y. – Gallaudet University’s reign as the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) women’s swimming and diving champions came to an end Sunday when the Bison finished third overall at the 2012 conference championships on the campus of Cazenovia College. Wells College celebrated its first-ever women’s NEAC title as the Express totaled 460.5 team points to edge the host Wildcats from Cazenovia (421.5). The Bison placed third with 404 points, five more than SUNY Cobleskill, while College of St. Elizabeth finished with 262.
“We really came on this weekend. Gallaudet was in the hunt for the championship considering it was a rebuilding year,” said Gallaudet coach Bill Snape. “Everyone performed great, posted some best times and contributed for the betterment of the team.”
Freshman Alexandra Polivanchuk (Orebro, Sweden) was named the NEAC Women’s Swimmer of the Year as she finished the championships with two first-place finishes, three conference records and two program records. Polivanchuk joined the Bison last month and was named conference swimmer of the week on two different occasions and currently holds three Gallaudet program records.
“Alexandra really put on a performance this weekend,” said Snape. “She clearly helped our women’s team once she joined us this season but she also really pushed our men’s team. She is a smart, talented and true leader with a positive attitude that doesn’t waver.”
The Bison moved up one place on Sunday after being stuck in fourth place for two days. GU earned team points in the 200-yard breaststroke when defending conference champion Tong Song (Beijing, China) placed fourth with a time of 2:57.41 followed by sophomore Valerie Farr (Fremont, Calif.) in fifth (3:02.18). Junior Brittany Turner (Palmdale, Calif.) was fourth in the 200 butterfly (3:08.68), freshman Tandy Lewis (Frederick, Md.) finished sixth overall in the 100 freestyle (1:07.10). Gallaudet wrapped up the meet with the 400 freestyle relay where the Bison finished fifth (4:32.37).
Gallaudet’s men’s swim team won its second straight conference championship this weekend.
In between today’s preliminaries and finals, Polivanchuk swam an exhibition in the 100 freestyle, in an attempt to break Gallaudet Hall of Famer Michelle Poole’s 1987 mark of 55.66 seconds. The Bison freshman just missed the school record as she finished in 56.84 seconds but her time did set the new conference and championship record of 1:00.18 set in 2010.
The future is bright for the young Bison team as they return a majority of its roster next season along with Polivanchuk, the NEAC Swimmer of the Year.
“Our performance at the NEAC championships and in our meets over the years is helping to attract some great talent to our program,” said Snape. “Our goal next season is to not focus on the conference title but to compete at a high standard and be a tough team that hopefully will be in the mix at the end.”