WALTHAM, Mass. – The Bentley University men's and women's swimming and diving teams will be in Worcester at Worcester Polytechnic Institute Thursday and Sunday for the 2017 Northeast-10 Conference Championships with the men the defending champions and the women coming off a third-place finish in 2017.
A pre-championship poll of conference coaches forecast the Bentley men to finish second this time around and the women's team to repeat their third-place showing. The men, with 33 points and three firsts, were edged by Southern Connecticut State (34, 4) in the voting and the women (70, 2) followed Assumption (76, 5), and Southern Connecticut (73, 3).
Led by senior Emily Niemiec (Meriden, Conn./Francis T. Maloney HS), last year's Women's Swimmer of the Championship, current Bentley swimmers and divers have a total of 61 NE10 medals (27 individual, 34 relay). Of the individual medals, eight are gold. Niemiec has made 18 trips to the podium, half of those as an individual, and junior Kate Kaduboski (Dedham/Dedham HS) will be looking to add to her collection of 11 NE10 medals.
Niemiec, who has medaled in 18 of 21 career events at the NE10s, is a three-time conference champion in the 200 yard breaststroke and is also the defending champion in the 200 individual medley and the 400 IM.
Niemiec and Kaduboski finished 1-2 in both the 200 IM and 400 IM at the 2017 championships, and Kaduboski was also the runner-up in the 200 backstroke for the second straight year. On this year's psych sheet, Kaduboski is listed first in both the 200 IM and 400 IM with Niemiec second in the 200 and third in the 400.
The other two Falcons with individual gold medals are senior Anne Warren (Ellicott City, Md./ Mt. Hebron School) and sophomore Daniel Sausto (Slingerlands, N.Y./The Doane Stuart School). Warren will be looking for her third career gold in the 200 butterfly, an event she won in 2015 and 2017 with a second-place finish in 2016 sandwiched in between. On the 2018 psych sheet, she has the best time by nearly three seconds. Sausto, the 2017 NE10 Rookie of the Year, is the reigning champion in the 1650 freestyle.
Junior Ryan McGeary (Paramus, N.J./Bergen Catholic HS) took second in both the 200 and 500 free last year, and sophomore Jarod Yoshihara (Irvine, Calif./University HS) was last year's second-place finisher in the 200 backstroke.
Senior Jonny Boains (Unionville, Conn./Farmington HS) enters the championships ranked number one in the men's 200 IM and McGeary is listed number two in the 200 free and 200 breaststroke, as well as third in the 1650 free. Yoshihara has the second-best entry time in the 200 backstroke and senior Frank Elenio (Ridgefield, N.J./Bergen County Academies) will enter number two in the 400 IM.
Sophomore Paige McNeil (Branford, Conn./Branford HS), a Wagner transfer who'll be competing in her first NE10 Championship, is listed second on the psych sheet in both the 100 back and 200 free, and is third in the 100 back.
Relays should be a strength for coach Mary Kay Samko's Falcons in the meet. The men are the top qualifiers in the 200 free and 400 free relays while the women will be looking for a third straight NE10 title in the 800 free relay. Each of the last two years, Kaduboski, Niemiec and junior Brooke Jameson (Bedford/Bedford HS) helped Bentley set a meet record in the 800 free.
Action at WPI's Sports and Recreation Center gets underway with the 200 medley relay, the 800 free relay and the three-meter women's diving finals Thursday at 6 pm. Prelims the rest of the weekend are scheduled for 10:15 am with the evening session following at 6 pm (Friday, Saturday) or 5:30 pm (Sunday).