Swim & dive finds success at Patriot League and ECAC Championships
Mimi Watts leads Eagles to first conference title in 12 years
The American University swim and dive team competed at the Patriot League Championships hosted by Bucknell from Feb. 15-18. Swim and dive team members also competed at the ECAC Championships hosted by Navy from Feb. 24-26.
On the first day of competition at the Patriot League Championships, sophomore Aidan Delehanty and juniors Will Deitch, Caleb Farris and Nick Buckley set a new school record in the men’s 200-medley relay. The team beat their own record from earlier this season and finished seventh in the event with a time of 1:30.07.
Sophomore diver Griffin Batt posted a personal best score of 254.35 points in the final of the men’s three-meter event and took ninth place overall. Additionally, his personal record ranks ninth in AU program history.
Kicking off day two of competition with a bang, junior Mimi Watts won the women’s 50 freestyle with a school record time of 22.52 seconds. This gold medal was American’s first since 2011. Watts is the AU women’s program’s first individual conference champion since 2009, and she is the first American women’s team swimmer to win the 50 freestyle at the Patriot League Championships.
Watts, freshman Sophia Hemingway, junior Maddie Mara and sophomore Marissa Kleckner also set a new school record in the 400-medley relay, beating the previous record by almost three seconds with a time of 3:44.43.
For the second time this meet, Watts won gold. She was victorious in the women’s 100 butterfly with a time of just 52.76 seconds, beating her own school record. It was also a pool record for Bucknell’s Kinney Natatorium.
On the final day of the Patriot League Championships, Watts won her third gold medal and was named Patriot League Women’s Swimmer of the Meet. Setting school records in each of her medal wins, Watts is the first AU swimmer to win this title in 17 years. She set a school record in the prelims of the 100 freestyle with a time of 50.17 and then broke this record again with a finals time of 49.80.
Watts was part of another school record with the 400 freestyle relay, the final event of the championships. Watts, freshman Avery Barber, junior Sasha Uspenskaya and Kleckner placed seventh in a school-record time of 3:26.68.
The women’s swim and dive team finished seventh overall at the Patriot League Championships with a score of 221, tying their best finish since 2015. The men’s team finished seventh as well with 148.5 points. The team as a whole won three medals, all gold and belonging to Watts. The team also set six new school records thanks to Watts in three individual races and another three from relays, two of which were women’s and included Watts.
Some members of the AU swim and dive team competed at the ECAC Championships. Watts won the 100 butterfly with a time of 53.41. Sophomore Amaya Tomma finished in seventh place in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:06.07. Overall, the AU women’s swim and dive team finished 14th out of 23 teams and the AU men’s swim and dive team finished 21st out of 21 teams.
“This season we definitely built on last season, and we had a much better dual meet season than last year,” said head coach Garland Bartlett. “We were able to build and get a little better to really show everything that we've worked for at Patriot League Championships.”
This article was edited by Delaney Hoke and Nina Heller. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Natasha LaChac.