Swimming and Diving concludes season with big splash at A-10 Championships

The University of Rhode Island Swimming and Diving team closed out their season this past weekend at the Atlantic 10 Championships, finishing in 11th place with 72 team points. 

The times recorded by the team were among the best all season, according to Rhode Island Swimming and Diving coach Lilli Deering. 

“They did really well and swam hard the whole tournament,” she said. “They definitely gave it their all. We had dozens of our best times this season and our relays were faster this year than the year prior, so that shows growth from the team going forward.” 

The first day of the meet was highlighted by the Rams’ 4×200 yard relay team of Julia Renna, Mackenzie Thomas, Jenna Salem and Grace Kennedy. The team finished ninth with a time of 1:45.02 to earn 18 team points. The time was also nearly four seconds faster than last year’s team at the A-10 tournament. 

URI’s 800 yard freestyle relay team of Jordynn Brown, Camryn Kreuscher, Aimee Garcia and Ellie Oswald also earned points on the first day, earning 12 points with an 11th place finish.

12 more team points were earned on the second day when the 200 yard freestyle relay team of Oswald, Kreuscher, Renna and Kennedy finished 11th with a time of 1:35.69.  In the 50 yard freestyle, Oswald, Kreuscher, Renna, Kennedy, Brown and Quinn Frost finished 37th, 43th, 44th, 50th and 53rd, respectively. 

The best individual performance of the Championships came on the third day when freshman Hannah Benavides placed 14th with a time of 1:04.18 in the 100 yard breaststroke. The performance gave the team an additional three points. 

In the 3-meter dive, junior Marta Baumann led URI with a 16th place finish, followed by Carleigh Schlissel at 17th and Willow Dunster at 21st. 

The 400 yard medley relay team of Renna, Thomas, Salem and Kreuscher clocked in in 3:52.15 to finish 11th for the Rams. Freshman Maddie Tetreault was the top finisher for the Rams in the 400 yard individual medley, finishing 25th. 

On the final day of the competition, URI competed in the 400 yard freestyle relay, the 200 breaststroke, the 200 yard backstroke, the 100 yard freestyle, the 200 yard butterfly and the 1,650 yard freestyle. In the 400 freestyle relay, the quartet of Brown, Kennedy, Frost and Kreuscher finished 10th with a time of 3:29.86 to earn 10 points. 

In the 200 breaststroke, Benavides was the top finisher, placing 19th with a time of 2:22.54. Leading URI in the 100 yard freestyle was Brown, who finished 30th. Sophomore Jenna Salem finished 23rd in the 200 yard butterfly and in the team’s final event, the 1,650 yard freestyle, Tetrault and Emma Lee finished 21st and 27rd, respectively.

“We really came together in our relays and they always are the most exciting because it gives four of our swimmers the opportunity to go out there and swim as a team,” Deering said.

The final event of the season for the team, Deering reflected on her first season with the head coach title and she feels the team fought hard.

“This season was just as challenging, not only because of the situation with COVID-19, but with the transition of myself becoming the head coach,” Deering said. “But, the team was able to find their footing and face every challenge head on.”