Women’s swimming and diving claim ninth straight title at BIG EAST

LONG ISLAND, NY — With seven medals on the final day of competition, including five gold, Villanova Women’s Swimming and Diving won its ninth consecutive BIG EAST Championships on Saturday, taking the program to 14 titles since 1992.

The Wildcats won 14 events throughout the week and totaled 24 medals. They scored 1,498 points throughout the four-day event, trailing runners-up UConn by 75.5 points. The Wildcats swept the relay action, winning gold in all five events of the week, adding nine individual wins.

Kelly Montesi was named the most outstanding female swimmer, her third title in the past four years and second in a row. She is the second Villanova swimmer to be chartered three times in her career, the other being Darby Goodwin from 2016-2018. The senior won three individual gold medals, the last on Saturday night when she set the BIG EAST record at the 200 Back with an NCAA-B cut time of 1:53.25, breaking the previous conference mark of three tenths of a second for his second title in the event. She also won her fourth 400 IM title and a third 200 IM title. In relay, she participated in four victories, including the 200 QN, 800 Free, 400 QN and 400 Free.

The head coach rick simpson and her staff were named Women’s Coach of the Year for the ninth straight season. He accepted the honor alongside his assistant coaches Laura McGlaughlin, Nate Brown and Evan Anthony and diving coach Michael Todd.

The final day began with Montesi resetting a program record she set for the 200 Back at the WVU Invitational earlier this season. She clocked 1:54.93, beating her previous record by two hundredths of a second to secure first place in the preliminaries. With her latest time, she now holds five of the event’s top 10 times in team history. She, Audrey Pastorek and Hannah Wasmuth all shot in times good enough for the A-Final spots. In the final, Montesi was joined by Pastorek at the top of the podium, taking bronze with a 1:58.67 to become the third fastest in program history while Wasmuth became fourth fastest with a fourth-place finish in 1: 59.30!

Nicole Welch won the second 1650 freestyle gold of his career with a time of 16:42.08. Brenna McLaughlin finished fourth at 16:55.90.

Milly Routledge won the 100 freestyle for the third straight year, this time in 50.00. She was closely followed by Berloco Abbey who tied the mark for the tenth fastest performer in Villanova history with a money time of 50.41. Lexi Elkovich hit the wall seventh with a time of 51.55.
In the preliminaries of the 200 Fly, Elizabeth Bailey was the top swimmer with a time of 2:01.36, making her the ninth fastest performer in Villanova history. In the championship final, she moved up to fourth on that list with a performance of 2:00.28.

The Berloco Relais 400 Libre team, Cara Stapleton, Montesi and Routledge cemented the ‘Cats victory with a winning time of 3:20.68. This mark now stands at the fifth fastest time in Villanova history.

Kaitlin Gravel became the sixth fastest 200 Breast performer in Villanova history with a time of 2:16.73 for fourth place. Perri Stahl reset his personal best in fifth at 2:20.52.

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