On Saturday, Feb. 15 in Buffalo, NY the Fairfield University women’s swimming and diving team won the 2020 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships for the third year in a row. They maintained their first-place standing for the final three days of the competition, and finished victoriously with 581 points. The Stags edged out Iona College who tallied 557 points in second place, and Marist College whose 549 points placed them in third.
The two-time reigning champions were humbled after the opening day of competition on Wednesday, Feb. 12, when it wrapped up with the Stags in fourth place out of the ten participating teams, behind Marist, Canisius College and Rider University. They managed to claim a win in the 800 Yard Freestyle Relay, and finished in second place in the 200 Yard Medley Relay, which earned the Stags a total of 88 points to close out day one. The powerhouse 800 Yard Freestyle Relay made up of juniors Sara Ostensen, Maria Nitti, Rachel Landry and Morgan Hansen stopped the clock at 7:32.25. First year Alexandra Miko-Rydzaj, Colleen Young ‘20, Hansen and Nitti finished the 200 Yard Medley in 1:43.03, which was a performance second to Rider’s team who clocked in at 1:41.79.
On the second day, Fairfield felt a sense of urgency to climb back to the top, and a trio of second place finishes plus a first place win did just that. Nitti was a force to be reckoned with, and her contributions were pivotal for her team. She claimed the top spot in the 50 Yard Freestyle, finishing in 23.17. Sophomore Shannon Feeley (5:00.29) landed second place in the 500 Yard Freestyle, while Ostensen (5:00.37) followed shortly behind. Hansen (2:05.62) had her hand in a number two finisher in the 200 Yard Individual Medley. The 200 Yard Freestyle wrapped up day two, and representing the Stags in the pool were Nitti (23.20), Emily Holman ‘21 (24.18), Sam D’Alessandro ‘22 (23.70) and Ostensen (23.98). The women finished in 1:35.06, tabbing them in second place. Finally, Fairfield had come back to defend their title. They shot up to first place with 228 total points.
On the third day, Hansen shattered the 54.97 MAAC record for the 100 Yard Butterfly when she finished in 54.65, winning the event. Nitti carried on the winning mentality which Hansen modeled, and she won the 200 Yard Freestyle in 1:51.34. After that, Fairfield’s Miko-Rydzaj, Young, Hansen and Ostensen finished the 400 Yard Medley Relay in first place at 3:48.36. The Stags took home a pair of third-place nods earned by Feeley (4:32.59) in the 400 Yard Individual Medley and Young (1:04.37) in the 100 Yard Breaststroke. For the second day in a row, the Stags were in the lead with a cumulative total of 419 points. On their heels, just 20 points behind was Marist with 399 points. It all would boil down to the next evening, during the final day of competition.
Nitti’s momentum from the days prior picked up when she claimed the number one spot in the 100 Yard Freestyle with a finishing time of 51.09. Hansen was another athlete who continued her hot-streak. She secured first place in the 200 Yard Butterfly, finishing in 2:01.76. Ostensen (17:12.74) came in second in the 1650 Yard Freestyle. Young (2:23.08) took third in the 200 Yard Breaststroke and Krivitsky (2:23.69) placed fourth. The final race which insured the Stags’ victory was the 400 Yard Freestyle Relay comprised of Nitti, Ostensen, D’Alessandro and Hansen who sealed the deal in 3:27.83, upending Iona College by less than a one second margin.
The Fairfield women’s swimming and diving team earned their title as champions for yet another year when Fairfield racked up a grand total of 581 points over the four days of competition. Runner up Iona gathered 557 points and in third place was Marist, who counted 549 points. Head coach Anthony Bruno of Fairfield was awarded the 2020 MAAC Women’s Co-Coach of the Year alongside Iona’s head coach Nick Cavataro. This distinction was chosen by the other coaches and their selection was indicative of the men’s commendable efforts throughout the season and during the championship meet. Other special honors were given to Nitti after she had three individual wins under her belt, along with contributions in two relay events. She was named the MAAC Championship’s Women’s Most Outstanding Swimmer.
The Stags will next hit the water on Thursday, March 12 for the 2020 College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America National Invitational.