NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Bentley University sophomore All-America Nicola Mancini (Falmouth, Maine/Falmouth HS) successfully defended her women's one-meter diving championship as the 2014 Northeast-10 Conference Swimming and Diving Championships got underway at Southern Connecticut State's Hutchinson Natatorium.
Mancini posted a winning score of 403.00 to finish just 2.25 points in front of runner-up Jessica Renzo of Southern Connecticut. Her margin was much greater following the prelims when she recorded a score of 406.30 while Renzo was at 377.45.
Bentley also earned a first-day medal in the 200 yard medley relay with the quartet of senior Amanda Le (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford HS), freshman Kaitlin McGahie (Boylston, Mass./Tahanto Reg. HS) and sophomores Melissa Clauss (Oakland, N.J./Bergen County Academies) and Megan Pernsteiner (Highland Heights, Ohio/Hawken School) combining to finish third in 1:50.00, 3.26 seconds off the winning pace.
Also in the 200 medley, senior Caroline Lewis (Westfield, Mass./Westfield HS) broke the school record in the 50 backstroke while competing for Bentley's B relay team. Her time of 28.03 seconds shaved a hundredth-of-a-second off the existing standard, set by Taryn Dooley in 20012.
The opening day of the championships saw Bentley earn a fifth-place finish in the 800 free relay with sophomore Kelly Culkin (Avon, Conn./Avon HS), senior Heather Exley (Oceanside, Calif./Vista HS), freshman Nicole Hellstern (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug HS) and junior Nadine Edwards (Danbury, Conn./Danbury HS) putting up an 8:03.44. In the one-meter diving, in addition to the gold for Mancini, junior Paige Wilde (Naugatuck, Conn./Holy Cross HS) and sophomore Courtney Stone (Andover, Mass./ Andover HS) were seventh and eighth, respectively.
Bentley finished the first day atop the team standings by a slim margin. The Falcons totaled 127 points in the three events that were contested with Pace second at 124, Assumption third with 123 and 11-time defending champion Southern Connecticut fifth with 88.
Action resumes on Friday with prelims at 10 am and finals at 6 pm.