NEWARK, N.J. — Nothing could go wrong for the University of New Hampshire (UNH) swim & dive as they traveled to New Jersey to compete in the America East (AE) Championships. UNH finished the Championship meet with 817 points, while also winning 15 out of the total 18 events. This performance continued the dominance the ‘Cats have had on the America East. This title extends the Wildcats record of the most America East Championships with nine.
The Wildcats won by a near-200 point margin as UMBC finished second with 621.5 points and Vermont came next with 613.5.
UNH started their day on the right track when sophomore Paige Edmier won the first event of the day. Edmier swam a time of 19.54 seconds and set a new personal record in the 1000 yard freestyle. Finishing right behind Edmier was first-year Wildcat Hannah Devine who came short of first place with a time of 10 minutes, 20.02 seconds. This was, however, a new personal record for Devine.
Their success continued to the 200 yard freestyle where UNH captured four of the top six spots in the event. Leading the pack was junior Anna Metzler with a mark of 1:58.21. Coming in third was the first-year athlete Michaela Herwig who finished with a time of 2:01.27.
The Wildcats dominated once again in the 100 yard freestyle with sophomore Oliva Stille setting a new personal record and winning the event with a time of 50.65 seconds. Finishing behind Stille was junior Cate Wardinski who took home the bronze medal while setting a new personal record of 51.33 seconds.
Sophomore Jamy Lum continued to handle business in the 200 yard breaststroke for the second year in a row. Lum has back-to-back victories in this event, setting a time of 2:14.19 this time around. This was about one second slower than last year’s time of 2:13.36.
In the last event of the day, the ‘Cats took home one more victory in the 400 yard freestyle relay. This team consisted of Stille, Wardinski, Lum and Metzler. This group ended up swimming a time of 3:25.72.
After the events wrapped up, the Wildcats were the recipients of several awards for their dominant performance this season and over the weekend. Lum was the standout before being named the Championship’s Most Outstanding Swimmer after winning three individual titles in the 100 and 200 breast, and the 500 yard freestyle. Lum can now add this honor to her America East Rookie of the Year and team Rookie of the Year from a season ago.
Head coach Josh Wilman and his coaching staff were named America East Coaching Staff of the Year for the 15th time in program history. Wilman is the most decorated coach in the conference and has been at the helm of each of the Wildcats’ nine AE titles. This year’s championship is the program’s fifth over the last nine seasons.
Willman gave credit to his group after their conference-record ninth title.
“Everyone did great throughout the day, scoring points in the 100 free, the two backs, just a lot of great things were happening. The women are really excited about the win, they worked really hard for this chance and they deserved it, so we are really proud of ourselves,” Willman explained.
The Rookie of the Year went to first-year athlete Abby McKinney.
Metzler won the Elite 18 award which awards the student-athlete with the highest GPA. Metzler had an outstanding GPA of 3.93 in Biomedical Science. The junior was named as the AE Rookie of the Year in 2019, 2020 AE Swimmer of the Year and 2020 All-American.
Photo courtesy of UNH Athletics.