By Bailey Knecht, sports editor

Although it didn’t match last year’s first-place finish at the Frank Elm Invitational, the Northeastern University swimming and diving team took home a top-three finish in this year’s meet in Piscataway, N.J.

The Huskies took on nine other schools, finishing behind the US Naval Academy and host Rutgers University.

“It had to do with depth,” Head Coach Roy Coates said. “Some teams are twice the size of our team. You score down to 32 places, so their depth played a huge role this year, more so than last year. It was just different competition, a bit better competition.”

The 400-medley relay team of sophomores Christine Leong and Sara Touchette-McGowan, senior Amanda Liew and freshman Carly Schnabel earned fifth place. The same group of swimmers finished eighth in the 200-medley relay. Touchette-McGowan also earned third place in the 50 freestyle and second in the 100 butterfly. Leong earned fourth place in the 100 backstroke with a time of 56.39, a Husky season best.

“[The sophomore class has] really done a good job this year,” Coates said. “They developed throughout last year and started out really good this year. We’re lucky to have them – they definitely are some of our top swimmers and divers.”

Three divers earned top-10 finishes in the 3-meter dive with sophomores Jacquelyn Gover in fourth, Caroline Gonsalves in fifth and Alyssa Seales in sixth. Gonsalves placed fourth in the 1-meter dive, and Seales placed fifth. In the platform event, Seales took home fourth, Gonsalves placed fifth and freshman Mackenzie Hagist finished in seventh.

Gover, who was battling a foot injury in the previous meet at the University of New Hampshire, was forced to sit out of the 1-meter and platform events after hitting her hand on the board in the 3-meter.

“We thought she had broken her hand, but fortunately she didn’t break it,” Coates said on Monday. “Both her foot and her hand are healed up now.”

The Huskies will head to Puerto Rico after Christmas for their annual training trip before returning to conference action against the University of Delaware and Drexel University on Jan. 9.

“[The training trip] falls a little past halfway through our season, and especially after a meet like Rutgers, we’ve learned things we want to do better,” Coates said. “We have team bonding, we work on technique, do training, it’s a little bit of everything.

The eight-day trip consists of five hours of practice a day, according to Coates.

“It’s a great part of our season,” he said. “We get closer as a team, we set our goals and we work on all of our weaknesses.”

Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics