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Saturday, March 9, 2024
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Swim and dive breaks records at 2024 Patriot League Championships

Mimi Watts reclaims her golds

The American University swim and dive team competed at the annual Patriot League Championships meet, hosted by Navy at Lejeune Hall from Feb. 21-24. 

Day one started with a bang, as the women’s team set two new school records. Junior Amaya Tomma, sophomore Grace Netz, senior Mimi Watts and freshman Lian Jeong Engle lowered the 200 medley relay record, which was set at the 2022 Patriot League Championships, with a time of 1:42.15. Then, sophomores Isabel McGovern, Katie Yoo and Dylan Moulton teamed up with freshman Kate Williams to set a new record in the 800 freestyle relay, the last set at the 2021 Patriot League Championships, finishing with a time of 7:35.51.

On day two, Watts made history as she reclaimed her gold medal title in the 50 freestyle. She lowered the school record with a time of 22.38, just missing the 15 year old meet record by 0.02 seconds. Watts is the first female athlete in the Patriot League since the 2013-14 season to repeat titles in this event.

Day three featured more fast swims and school records. Watts fell shy of the back-to-back gold in the 100 butterfly after getting out-touched by Navy junior Caroline Irwin. However, Watts’s 52.84 is now the second fastest of all-time in this event and still holds onto the school record, which she set last year.

Later in the session, the men’s and women’s teams swept records in the 200 freestyle relay. Seniors Nick Buckley and Caleb Farris, alongside freshman Connor Florence and junior Aidan Delehanty broke the record, set back in 2000, posting a 1:21.75. For the women, Watts, Jeong Engle, Moulton and McGovern shaved a second and a half off the 2022 record, going a 1:32.95.

On the final day of competition, Watts defended her gold in the 100 freestyle, setting a new school record going a time of 49.38. The old record was a 49.80, set when she won gold in this event last year. This title also marked the ninth medal she won at the Patriot League Championships throughout her four year tenure as an Eagle.

Then, once again, both the men’s and women’s teams set new school records in the 400 freestyle relay. The men, including Buckley, Florence, Farris and sophomore Colin Clough, beat the old record going 3:00.00 – the old record of 3:00.70 was also set back in 2000. Meanwhile, the quartet of Watts, Jeong Engle, Moulton and McGovern went a 3:25.36, shaving a full second off the record set at last year’s championship meet.

Head coach Garland Bartlett shared how incredible these record-breaking moments were for the team.

“We just had to have those four relay legs together peak at the right moment.” Bartlett said. “But to take down those school records was just truly incredible. It just shows our team is getting better.”

After four days of competition, the women finished eighth out of 10 teams and the men finished 10th out of 10 teams. The teams set a total of eight school records and etched many new top-16 all time swims in program history. In addition, Watts’ record breaking swims won two gold medals for the Eagles.

Looking ahead, Bartlett hopes to increase the depth of her roster, as unlike previous championship meets where the top 16 swimmers (two final heats) advance to a final, an extra eight spots opened up (one additional final heat), granting more chances for the team to score points and climb up the meet rankings.

“This year having that C final showed that we need to work on improving our depth to make sure numerous people are making it to that top 24.” Bartlett said. “Overall, this meet was outstanding for us. Everyone can walk away with at least one swim that they are proud of.”

This article was edited by Penelope Jennings, Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks and Liah Argiropoulos.

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