by Tyler Roaix
The Central Connecticut State University swimming and diving team has had a quiet winter break, having just two events since the Winter Nationals in December. In fact, they haven’t swum as a complete team since Nov. 19.
However, the annual trip to Florida put the Blue Devils back in the pool looking to start 2018 out right.
CCSU opened the trip with a match-up against Florida International on Jan. 11. Despite some solid individual performances, the Blue Devils struggled as a team, falling 155-63.
Valentina Gomez continued a strong sophomore campaign with second-place finishes in the 1,000-yard freestyle and the 200-yard butterfly with times of 10:41.30 and 2:08.58, respectively.
Gomez also joined Kaitlyn Troy, Maddy Garber, and Lauren Czulewicz in the 400-yard relay. Their 4:03.82 finish time was good enough for third place in the event. CCSU had a second team run the 400-yard, which included Aidan Devers, Erika Maercklein, Luna Milne, and Gracie Regan. Their time of 4:11.11 was good enough for a fifth-place finish.
Devers and Garber also deserve notable mentions. Devers, a junior, finished fourth in the 200-yard IM (individual medley), posting a time of 2:12.61. Garber, in her senior season, swam a second-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke in 2:23.80.
Senior Annemarie Durham tallied a score of 240.25 in the 1-meter diving event to snag second place.
The Blue Devils finished their short road trip Jan. 13 when they swam against Florida Atlantic and Fordham at FAU. Central dropped both decisions, falling 172-87 to Fordham and 164.5-94.5 to FAU.
The Troy/Garber/Gomez/Czulewicz team had another strong showing with a second-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay.
Garber took first in the 100-yard breaststroke, edging out teammate Maercklein by just over a second. Regan took a fourth-place finish in the event as well. Garber also won the 200-yard breaststroke to giver her two wins on the day.
Devers and Gomez also rounded out strong weekend performances. Devers took home a victory in the 200-yard backstroke, while Gomez finished third in the 200-yard butterfly.
Yet, while the team tried to stay focused on the pool, swimming was not the most important thing on their minds this winter break.
During the fall semester, the Blue Devils found out that sophomore Katelyn Mann was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
The Blue Devils are aiming to raise at least $1,000 for cancer research. They have set Feb. 20 as a deadline for themselves to reach their goal. If they reach their goal, the team says Mann will shave head coach Bill Ball’s head at the NEC Championships, which take place Feb. 21 to 24.
The CCSU Athletic Department has a link available for those who wish to donate up on their website. Also posted is a tribute video the rest of the team made in Mann’s honor.
The Blue Devils will be back in the pool Jan. 20 when they travel to Boston to take on Northeastern University.