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Huskies take fourth place at CAA championships

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Huskies take fourth place at CAA championships

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By John Hagerty, deputy sports editor

The Northeastern University swimming and diving team took a program-best fourth place at the CAA championships Saturday. Over the four-day meet, the team broke nine school record times, earned 10 medals and scored 477.5 points, the most Huskies have ever scored at the CAAs.

James Madison University took first place with 656 points, College of William & Mary took second with 583 points and Towson University rounded out the top three finishers with 562.5 points. Three teams trailed the Huskies at CAAs, finishing fifth through seventh respectively: Drexel University, University of North Carolina at Wilmington and University of Delaware.

Second-year Megan Clark submitted a historic performance, becoming the third swimmer in CAA history to take first in the 50, 100 and 200-yard freestyle in one championship meet. Clark credits her teammates for helping her get in the right mindset by setting an energetic and positive tone during her races.

“I was really nervous going in because I was seeded first,” Clark said. “It was great to have my team on deck. My walkout songs for CAAs were Cotton Eye Joe, the Macarena and the Chicken Dance and my team stood out on the deck and danced. They all showed support and it was awesome.”

In addition to her individual success, Clark was an integral part of the 400-yard freestyle relay team which took first place. Along with fourth-year Sara Touchette-McGowan, second-year Sidney Smith and first-year Matilda Weiler, Clark and the team broke the NU record with a time of 3:21.95.

“According to rankings and by calculating how other teams were swimming, we weren’t expecting that finish,” Touchette-McGowan said. “We had a good strategy with our order, we made sure we were warmed up properly, we were having fun — we just ended up swimming our best.”

Fourth-year Christine Leong swims backstroke. / Photo by Jon Polen

While NU’s fourth place run at CAAs was marked by team spirit and levity, the mood shifted to a note of seriousness on the final day as the fourth-years competed with their team for the last time.

“There’s so much cheering, so much positive vibes on deck,” Touchette-McGowan said. “For me it was also trying to keep my emotions together knowing it was my last competition.”

The underclassmen also felt the gravity of the fourth-years’ final events at Northeastern.

“When the meet was ending and they were finishing up, we cried on deck,” Clark said. “There were a few times when it really struck us that it was the last time we would be swimming together. The medley relay was the last time I would be swimming with Christine [Leong], and then the last time I would be swimming with Sara was the freestyle relay. It was a lot of emotions because I’ve been swimming with them the whole time I’ve been here.”

Fourth-year captain Alyssa Seales, who placed fourth in one-meter diving, was satisfied with how the team fared this season and how their historic performance can propel the program to continual growth.

“Everyone swam really well and dove really well, so overall we’re just super excited to come in fourth,” Seales said. “[Head Coach] Roy [Coates] was so happy with us which was amazing. I think the program will continue growing, they will get better every year. Especially for recruiting — recruits are going to see our program getting stronger with higher finishes and more points, which is going to contribute to more success in the long run.”

While the team’s regular season is over, Clark will compete this weekend at Ohio State University for a chance to qualify at NCAAs and Seales will compete at Rutgers University in the NCAA Zone A championships through March 5-7.

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Huskies take fourth place at CAA championships