KINGSTON, R.I. - Junior Gabriella Alberino (East Haven, Conn.) broke the school record in the 100-yard IM to highlight the action for the University of Saint Joseph swimming & diving team on the fourth and final day of the 2018 New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association (NEISDA) Championships held at the Tootell Aquatics Center on the campus of the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I. on Sunday evening. The Blue Jays completed the four-day meet with a total of 282 points which was good for a 13th place finish out of 20 teams. The result was 106 points and three places better than USJ's finish from the 2017 NEISDA Championships a season ago.
Alberino, who already owned the 100-yard IM school record which she set at 1:06.03 on the final day of last year's NEISDA Championships, picked up right where she left off a season ago and lowered her school record mark to 1:05.27 en route to winning the B-Final on Sunday night. By topping the B-Final field she earned herself a ninth place overall finish in the event and 20 points toward the Blue Jays' score. The result would be the best individual finish for USJ on the entire weekend.
Senior Veronika Latawiec (Newington, Conn.) was the first member of the USJ swimming & diving team to compete in a final on Sunday night. The veteran kicked off the action for the Blue Jays contesting in the 50-yard backstroke B-Final after qualifying in the preliminaries with the ninth fastest time (29.98). Latawiec slightly trimmed her time down to 29.94 in the B-Final which ended up earning her an 11th place overall finish in the event and 16 points for USJ.
In the 200-yard breaststroke, junior Annmarie Masayda (Watertown, Conn.) qualified for the B-Final after touching the wall tied for 13th at 2:39.57 in the preliminaries on Sunday morning. She would later improve upon that time by over two full seconds and posted a career-best mark of 2:37.51 in the B-Final to earn a 12th place overall finish in the event and 15 points for the Blue Jays.
The final event for USJ on the weekend was the 400-yard freestyle relay which featured Latawiec, sophomore Taylor Houghtaling (East Hartford, Conn.), Masayda, and Alberino. The brilliant quartet all weekend long continued their excellence and qualified for the B-Final with the 14th fastest time (4:02.32) and then went on to smash their qualifying time in the B-Final by more than four seconds down to 3:57.89. The time still resulted in a 14th place overall finish but earned them 26 points toward the team's score.
Houghtaling also competed in an individual event earlier in the day on Sunday competing in the 100-yard freestyle preliminary round. She posted a career-best swim in the event turning in a time of 1:00.84 to finish with the 31st fastest time out of 40 competitors.
USJ finished with a total of 282 points which was good for a 13th place finish out of 20 scoring teams. They were edged by just 13 points from finishing inside the top-12 but finished ahead of GNAC rival schools Norwich University (14th), Husson University (15th) and Saint Joseph's College of Maine (17th). GNAC member Simmons College won the 2018 NEISDA Championships with a total team score of 1,504 points. Roger Williams (1,465) and Keene State (10.83.5) rounded out the podium for the team standings.
Although it was a well-rounded team effort, Alberino was the top individual swimmer for the Blue Jays on the weekend collecting a total of 45 points for the team. Masayda was second with 44 individual points and Latawiec grabbed 41, while the five relay teams recorded a total of 152.
The 2018 NEISDA Championships concludes the 2017-18 season for the University of Saint Joseph swimming diving team.