Athenas Finish 5th, Stags 41st; Perizzolo Wins Two Titles
This past week, as many celebrated Spring Break, the top aquatic Stags and Athenas took to the pool at the at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center for the Division III national championships hosted by Beloit College and the College of Wooster.Annie Perizzolo CMC '11 won the 100 and 200 breaststroke events, with CMS and SCIAC record times of 1:01.84 and 2:14.83 respectively. Perizzolo is the third Athena to win a national swimming title and the first Athena to win two events. Katie Bilotti CMC '12 finished second and third in the 1o0 butterfly and 100 backstroke respectively, earning All-American honors, also establishing herself as one of Division III's best swimmers, according to Coach Griffiths. Perizzolo said, "Winning two national titles is amazing and I still don't think it has fully hit me yet, and it will probably take me awhile to fully realize everything that happened last week," but noted her greatest swimming achievements have been as part of relay teams.
On Perizzolo, Coach Griffiths noted, "When you add the significance of her medley relays splits this year and her body of work over three seasons at the SCIAC and NCAA level, there’s no doubt that Annie is one of the elite student-athletes in CMS history."
Both medley relay teams earned All-American honors as well, and set CMS and SCIAC records with their times. The 200 medley relay team (Elsa Cheng CMC '13, Perizzolo, Bilotti and Emma Jones CMC '12) took second in 1:43.09, while the 400 medley relay team (Tessa Dover CMC '11, Perizzolo, Bilotti and Jones) swam the relay in 3:44.60, also taking second place. Dover finished sixth in the 200 backstroke earning All-American honors and broke CMS and SCIAC records in the prelims.
Tessa Dover was awarded an NCAA Elite 88 award for having the highest cumulative GPA of all the competitors at the Division III Championships.
The 200 free relay team (Jenni Rinker HMC '11, Elica Sharifnia CMC '12, Bilotti and Jones) and Bilotti in the 50 free received honorable mention All-American honors for their finishes in the top 16. The Athenas' 5th place finish is their highest ever and the fifth straight top 15 national finish.
For the future of the Athenas, Coach Griffiths has a lot of goals, "We’d like to see our All-Americans continue to improve; we’d like to see some more current team members take the next step and qualify for nationals; we want to recruit incoming swimmers who will be great fits at our colleges and are excited about getting faster."
The Stags netted a 41st place finish at the meet. Blake Weber CMC '13 earned honorable mention All-American honors with an 11th place finish in the 200 freestyle. The 800 free relay team (Austin Hallett CMC '12, Jeff McNerney CMC '12, Andrew Cosentino CMC '11, Weber) finished 14th, earning honorable mentions as well.