Matt Gad – Sports Writer
After a strong season in which the program won their second
consecutive women’s Northeast-10 Championship and their 13th men’s title overall, men’s
swimmers Leonardo LaPorte and Tyler Prescott qualified for the NCAA Division II
“It felt pretty overwhelming at first,” LaPorte said. “It seemed like any other USA meet but at
the same time it was very big; I think the biggest I’ve been to.”
LaPorte, a sophomore, competed in the 100 and 200-meter butterfly at nationals, held this year in
Greensboro, N.C. At this year’s NE10 Championships he was first in that event at 1:48.95.
Head Coach Tim Quill said it is “no easy feat” to qualify for nationals. He said that, for LaPorte
and Prescott to qualify for a national meet, it is not just a great accomplishment for them but also
for the entire team.
Tyler Prescott, who is in his junior season, spent this year as his first with the Owls. He
transferred from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga. During his time there
he was part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, a 246-member athletic
“I wasn’t as overwhelmed because I had been to other meets on this scale before, like the arena
Pro Swim Series,” Prescott said. “Going in I wasn’t as confident because [Leo and I] were really
tired [from the long season] but I told him that we were just going for fun and the experience.”
Prescott was competing in the 200-meter backstroke, where he ended up winning All-America
honors and placing a new school record. He finished in 11th place in the event. LaPorte also
received All-America honors after a fifth-place result in the 200 fly, racing 1:47.21.
“For them to swim even faster in NCAAs is a great accomplishment for our team. For us to be
represented at NCAAs is just a tremendous accomplishment for our team because not everyone
gets an opportunity,” Quill said. “Only 157 qualified this year in all of Division II and two of
them were our guys and they were fast enough to score in the Top 15.”
Prescott said he is now just a half a second away from his best time, something that will serve as
a personal motivator as he prepares for next year’s slate.
LaPorte said that he had to be confident in the meet to do well. And after his performance he said
he was pretty surprised with the end result. He went to the ECAC Championships after NE10s to
improve his chances to qualify for the national meet since the team had a gap with NE10s being
earlier than some of the other Division II schools’ championships this year.
Just being a sophomore, he said there’s still a big window of opportunity ahead of him. He was
one of four sophomores on the men’s side this year, with him being John Gaudio, Max Padro and
Photo Courtesy: southernctowls.com