The UNH swimming and diving team competed at the America East Championships at Worcester Polytechnic Institute over the weekend and with gold performances by Liza Baykova, record-setting times by Colby Harvey and a historic win by diver Hailee Miller, the Wildcats claimed a tightly contested second-place finish behind the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) who was able to win the title for the third consecutive year. Head coach Josh Willman was satisfied with the team’s performance over the four-day championship weekend.
“It was a great finish to the weekend,” Willman said. “We were able to grab a second-place finish fighting with Vermont.”
On Sunday, Baykova was able to win multiple individual medals after she took gold in the 100 and 200-yard freestyle races. The junior has now retained the title for the last three years in those perspective events. Her time in the 100 was 50.22-seconds and in the 200 she swam a strong time of 1-minute, 48.06-seconds.
The Wildcats also saw great performances out of Harvey and Vivienne El-Sibay. Harvey claimed gold in the 100 butterfly with a time of 53.67. In doing so, Harvey not only captured gold, but was able to shatter a seven-year meet record in the event. In the 200 butterfly, Harvey also won with El-Sibay right behind her at a time of 2:03.08. It was one of the more dominating events of the weekend for the Wildcats.
“I had some goals and really wanted to break the school record and meet record was defiantly one of them and I took it out as fast as I could and tried to hold on just hoping to get that :53,” Harvey said in an interview with America East tv.
One of the more notable wins on the weekend came courtesy of Miller. Miller became the first diver in UNH school history to win gold in the America East Championships after she battled to take the 3-meter dive top spot.
“I’m just really happy I could pull it out for my team and help them out. It’s exciting overall,” Miller said in her interview with America East tv.
Throughout the events it was tough for UNH to stay on top as the two-time defending champion UMBC Retrievers kept finding ways to swim past the competition, but in one of the most exciting races that was witnessed, the Wildcats prevailed with a victory in the 400-meter freestyle relay.
“We won the last 400 [freestyle] relay by .01 [seconds] with Harvey, Carbone, Moffatt and Baykova anchoring and coming from behind for the narrow win,” Willman said.
With depth being a factor in this year at the championships, the Wildcats swam hard and fast to achieve many individual goals and push for runner up. When it was all said and done, the team was happy with the results and some new accolades are coming back with the team to the Swasey Pool. Miller took home Diver of the Meet and Carbone in her freshman year impressed many by winning the 400 individual medley and was awarded the Rookie of the Meet award.
Next on the schedule for UNH will be the ECAC Championships. The Wildcats will hope to send delegates to the championship weekend down in Annapolis, Maryland starting Friday, Feb. 24.