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Swim and dive wins big as Escobedo breaks records

Despite ending the season with a loss at the University of East Carolina, UMBC swimming and diving team still finished strong. Facing Howard University first in their last two home meets, UMBC possessed the home pool advantage and secured wins on both the men and women’s teams. The men racked up 121 points to Howard’s 110 and the women received 112 to Howard’s 95. However, in the case of woman’s swimming and diving, they refused to let this detour them on their way to a third straight America East Championship win.

After returning from winter break, women’s swimming and diving competed and defended their title at the America East Championships over the weekend of Feb. 11. Scoring 936.5 points, UMBC was the first team to soar past 900 on their way winning the America East Championship for the third year in a row.

In her last America East Championship, senior Emily Escobedo continued to do what she always does: outperform the competition. Escobedo’s time of 2:06:20 in the 200 breast broke, finishing 12 seconds quicker than second place finisher and teammate, senior Kayla Lily. Her time broke a trifecta of records and is now the best in history for school, conference and meet.

Escobedo and her team finished the day in an exhilarating in the 400 free relay along with junior Allie Caulfield, freshman Haylee Committe and sophmore Laura Massicotte. By the narrowest of margins, .01 seconds to be precise, the University of New Hampshire beat out UMBC, but the Retrievers were the ones to leave the meet with the overall win. Escobedo also picked up the Most Outstanding Swimmer award for her fourth time and received the Dave Alexander Coaches Award.

The Retrievers also impressed prior to the championships, as the men’s team secured both relays by placing first. Sophomore Alexander Gliese, junior Philip Adejumo, senior Gregor Spoerlein and freshman Luis Galvan finished the 200 medley with a time of 1:34.23. Sporlein continued the day’s success with two solo wins, along with sophomore Connor Ganley, junior Nikola Trajkovic and sophomore Ahmed Wahby, who ended the meet with a stunning finish by coming in with a time of 3:11.05 in the 400 free relay.

Freshman Haythem Abdelkhalek showed up huge for the Dawgs and demonstrated his ability to endure by securing points for his team in both the distance events. He touches in with a time of 9:43.31 in the 1000 free and takes first in the 500 free with a time of 4:44.73.

Sophomore Hania Moro helps the women’s team take their win in three individual events. Placing first in the 1000 and 500 free with impressive times of 10:16.72 and 5:04.99, she then finished her day with another win in the 200 free in a time of 1:51.91 as well as the 400 free relay alongside Escobedo, Committe and Caulfield, sprinting in with a time of 3:33.75.

Freshman Emily Vance and senior Kayla Lilly both win two individual events as well. Vance takes first in the 100 and 200 back, with times of 57.32 and 2:04.33. Lily claims the 200 breast with a time of 2:23.13 and the 200 IM with a time of 2:09.15.

UMBC returned on Jan. 21 to journey to and face off against East Carolina University, led by Escobedo, who is continuing to have an outstanding career at UMBC, to secure another win. Escobedo won three individual events in the 100 and 200 breast and the 200 IM with times of 1:02.93 for the 100, 2:10.73 for the 200 and 2:02.07 for the medley.

For women’s diving, freshman Abby Biddulph earned third place in the meter (181.10) and three meter dives (198.15).

For the men’s side, Adejumo placed first in the 200 fly, a very arduous and consuming race, at 1:53.20 and Gregor Spoerlein takes first in the 50 free with at time of 21.32. Rattsev, Wahby, Spoerlein and junior Jared Vance compete together to snag a win in the 400 free relay, at a time of 3:05.30.

Sophomore Elijah Wright took third for the Retrievers in the one meter (259.72) and three meter (262.65) dives.

Despite the impressive effort against East Carolina, UMBC was unable to prevail against them. Both men’s and women’s suffered losses to East Carolina, with the men losing 178-117 and the women losing 166.5 to 131.5.

Women’s swimming diving will next compete at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship in Annapolis over the weekend of March 3. The men’s next competition will be the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association Championships beginning on Feb. 15 and ending on Feb. 18.