WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - A first and second place finish by the Plymouth State University Panthers swimming and diving team in the 16th and final event, the 200-yard freestyle relay, catapulted them ahead of the University of Saint Joseph Blue Jays for a, 146-141, come-from-behind dual meet victory inside Bruyette Natatorium on Friday night. With the setback the Blue Jays slide to 1-1-1 in dual meet action on the season, while Plymouth State improves to 4-3.
Leading 139-131 heading into the final event, USJ needed either a first place finish or a second and third place result to secure the victory, but the Panthers, who trailed the entire meet, snatched the victory after they placed first and second. The foursome of freshmen Olivia Jean (Dracut, Mass.) and Casey Allaire (Mattapoisett, Mass.), senior Kelsey Cronan (Framingham, Mass.) and junior Addie Schumaker (Haymarket, Va.) took first in the deciding event, while sophomores Julia Mazza (Belchertown, Mass.), Stephanie LaBeck (Oakville, Conn.), Samantha Labens (Berlin, N.H.) and junior Alexandra Ambrosino (Holden, Mass.) took second.
Despite the tough loss, the Blue Jays had an excellent overall meet led by sophomores Veronika Latawiec (Newington, Conn.), Gabriella Alberino (East Haven, Conn.) and Annmarie Masayda (Watertown, Conn.). Combined, the trio accounted for seven individual first place finishes, two second place finishes and were all on the first place 400-yard medley relay team.
Latawiec posted three first place finishes touching the wall first in the 1,000-yard freestyle with a season-best time of 12:32.51, 50-yard backstroke (31.14) and 100-yard backstroke (1:07.57). Alberino also secured three first place results topping the field in the 50-yard freestyle in 28.34, 100-yard freestyle (1:01.34) and 200-yard IM (2:32.64). Masayda grabbed the last first place individual finish on the night in the 100-yard breaststroke turning in a time of 1:15.59 and also snagged a pair of runner-up results in the 50-yard breaststoke (35.23) and 50-yard butterfly (30.91).
All three were also memebers of the 400-yard medley relay team along with freshman Taylor Houghtaling (East Hartford, Conn.) that cruised to victory in the first event of the night, combining for a final time of 4:45.92.
Houghtaling also had a productive meet for the Blue Jays. In addition to the medley relay victory, the rookie recorded an individual second place finish and two third place marks. She swam to a second place finish in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:32.19 and posted third place marks in the 50-yard free (30.21) and 100-yard free (1:07.42).
On the diving board, senior Luz Holmes (East Hartford, Conn.) posted a pair of second place finishes in two separate 1-meter diving events. On her first six attempts the veteran posted a score of 119.80 before improving her final mark to 148.50 across her six dives in the second session.
The University of Saint Joseph swimming and diving team will return to action next on Monday, Jan. 16 with its final home meet of the season in a dual meet against Eastern Connecticut inside Bruyette Natatorium at 6 p.m. Prior to the meet, USJ will honor its four seniors Raelynne Andrews, Luz Holmes, Rachel Mauthe and Lillian McKenzie.