Owls claim 11th title
Matt Gad – Sports Writer
Last weekend, Southern’s women’s swimming and diving team won the Northeast-10 Championship, their 11th in program history.
“Having the privilege to be part of a championship team as a freshman is truly incredible,” Avery Fornaciari said. “It still doesn’t even feel real.”
Southern won the four day event by just 10 points over Assumption College. Top performances included a first place finish in the 100 meter freestyle by Katie Crochet and a 400 meter freestyle relay win by Jennifer Belanger and Sydney Fromkin.
Additionally, Lilly Martin swam to a fourth place finish in the 200 meter breaststroke. In the 200 fly, Aubrey Bailey and Fornaciari placed fifth with a time of 2:11.71.
Asked how he would describe the win, Coach Tim Quill said “it was draining.” He said, while the result was what they were looking for, “there were a lot of twists and turns in getting there.”
“We were definitely in a pretty big battle with Assumption. They were the favorites to win the meet and we performed well the first day and in Saturday’s prelims but I think we gave them a little room to breathe Saturday night,” said Quill.
The official standings for the meet went as follows: in first, Southern with 861 points, followed by Assumption College at 851 points, Bentley University at 602 points, The College of Saint Rose with 476 points, Pace University with 388 points and Le Moyne College with 341 points.
“We thought we had lost,” said Quill. “There was a little computer glitch in the scoring of the meet and we thought that we had lost by five points. However, two and a half hours later we had found out we had actually won by 10.”
In addition to the women’s win, the men’s squad placed as runner-ups right behind Bentley. Back four years ago, the men and women both won the NE-10 title, Quill said. He was not necessarily predicting the men’s win, but that it definitely was not a surprise either.
“I continue to try relive the whole weekend over and over in my head,” Fornaciari said. “It was so amazing being able to compete and watch all my teammates excel. It was one of the greatest moments in my life, no doubt.”
Fornaciari said coming to Southern she was “super excited” to compete, and she said that right away the goal to win the conference meet was in place. She was one of eight freshmen on the team, including Megan Garner, Erin Leirey, Hannah Morse, Kiersten Snyder, Alizabeth Sullivan, Marisa Tutone and Emily Waehler.
“Coach Tim and Coach CJ are incredible, always pushing us to our limits. They have always been there to listen to our goals and to help to plan and execute them,” she said. “We really couldn’t have won NE-10s without their constant motivation and belief in us.”
Quill reiterated that the team went into the year with the goal to win the conference championship and that they are “very fortunate” that it did happen. He credited the women’s team’s extraordinary work ethic throughout the course of the entire season, which began Sept. 30 with a meet at home against West Chester and Shippensburg and went until the aforementioned final day of the conference championship on Feb. 19.
Photo Courtesy: John Steady