Nashville, Tenn. — The Western Kentucky University women’s swimming team won its first Sun Belt Conference Championship in three years on Saturday at the Tracy Caulkin Pool at Nashville Centennial Sportsplex. However, the Lady Toppers have claimed the title six of the last eight seasons. The Hilltoppers finished third behind champion Missouri State and second place finisher Denver.
“Obviously, it is a great feeling,” head coach Bruce Marchionda said. “To not win it the last two years and to bring it back home this year is indescribable.”
The women scored 775 points to second place Florida Atlantic’s 725 points.
Claire Donahue broke the SBC and school record in the 200 Fly on her way to victory in 2:01.26.
Raichelle King broke a school record on her way to second place in the 1650 Free in a time of 16:55.54. Krista Mantay finished fifth in 16:58.15.
The Lady Toppers took three spots in the finals of the 200 Breast as Brittany Doss finished fourth in 2:19.96, Kelly Hargather was fifth in 2:21.45 and Kathryn Sutton placed eighth in 2:27.48.
Emily Waits took home the top spot in the one-meter dive, tallying 249.15 points and Charlotte Martin was fourth with 230.55 points. Bob Benson was named Diving Coach of the Year for his student-athletes performance.
Claire Alexandre hit the wall second in the 100 Free in 51.22.
Jessica Aspinall (2:02.57) and Mallory Neltner (2:04.02) finished fourth and fifth, respectively in the 200 Back.
The 400 Free Relay of Donahue, Jennifer Adams, Neltner, and Alexandre broke the SBC record and finished second with a time of 3:26.05.
For the men, Francis Gilmore broke his own Sun Belt Conference record by .01 second in the 200 Back in 1:47.31, winning the title.
Sean Penhale took second in the 1650 Free with a time of 15:23.19, which broke a school record and a SBC record held by former Hilltopper Karl Swanson. Sean Shannon was fifth after hitting the wall in 15:46.76.
Brian Lewis and Wes Brown finished in the top eight in the 200 Fly. Lewis swam in 1:49.58 and finished fifth while Brown was seventh with a time of 1:50.70.