There was a light at the end of the tunnel for the swimming and diving teams, and it was bright, too. Even after posting historically poor regular season records, with the women finishing 2-9 and the men finishing 0-10 overall, the Hoyas managed to rewrite a hefty portion of Georgetown’s record book at the Big East championships in East Meadow, N.Y., recording 13 new school marks. The men’s and women’s squads finished 11th and 10th, respectively, out of 12 teams. Notre Dame was victorious on the women’s side, while West Virginia took the men’s title. Twenty-four Georgetown athletes competed in the Big East championships – more than ever before in Hoya history. “I don’t think records were the focus of this meet,” Interim Head Coach Steven Cartwright said. “It was going out and achieving lifetime-best times and if that just so happened to get you back in the finals, that’s where we needed to be. We needed to get people back in scoring position, and if people did that, records were going to fall.” And fall, they did. On the second day of competition, freshman Laura Stark was the first Hoya to score in the Big East championship since 2002. And, for the first time in Georgetown history, three athletes were called back to the finals and scored in four events. “For the team, it’s a huge step forward,” Stark said. “We had a lot of firsts at this meet -getting a lot of people back and the first time getting someone back in five years. We’re only going to get better next year. ” Stark finished the 200-yard individual medley in 2:05.85 to set a new school record and place 15th at the meet. Freshman Laura Alito swam the 100yd butterfly event in 56.38 to earn 10th place honors. In the preliminary round, she broke the school record in the event with a time of 57.08. Sophomore Goran Bistric placed 13th in the 200yd backstroke after finishing in 1:51.25, breaking the previous Georgetown record. He also posted a 16th place finish for the Hoyas in the 100yd backstroke with a time of 51.90. Sophomore co-captain Daniel Robinson and freshmen Eric Mooney and Wes Going joined Bistric to place 10th in the 200yd freestyle relay with a time of 1:26.66. On the women’s side, the quartet of junior Caitlin Colling and freshmen Lindsay Vickroy, Emma Porteus and Alito finished ninth in the 200yd freestyle relay with a new Georgetown record of 1:37.80. “I think the biggest difference between last year and this year was preparation,” Cartwright said. “We were prepared going into it. Swimming [against] teams like West Virginia got us prepared. Going down and competing with a team like West Virginia that comes in the championships and wins it, you have a dual-meet against the potential Big East champions. It gets you prepared and gets you focused for what you’re going to be encountering at the championships.” For the women, Alito set an additional record in the 50yd freestyle, and teamed up with Porteus, Stark and junior Tori Maffey to earn the Hoyas’ best-ever performance in the 400yd medley relay. Colling, Stark, Porteus and Vickroy broke records in the 800yd freestyle relay and 400yd freestyle relay events. Junior Claire Nugent broke the Georgetown record in the 200yd butterfly. As the season winds down, Cartwright looked at the impact the Hoyas’ performances will have on the future of Georgetown’s swimming and diving program. “This is huge, he said. “This is huge in preparation for next year. Not only huge in the aspect of recruiting, but also huge in the sense of preparation for what is to come not only next season, but after that as well.” But, to the athletes, this post-season success is a reflection of the tremendous adversity the team has overcome together this year, from having lost upperclassmen veterans coming into the season, the resignation of former Head Coach Bethany Bower in December and a season full of losing. “It’s not really about records – it’s not really about how many best times or what we placed,” Bistric said. “I think overall as a team, we matured and that’s what really mattered the most to everyone. We went into the season a young team – we still are a young team – but throughout the season we matured. . We have good leaders, we have good people and we can make an impact.”

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