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Swimmers dive into event

By Jesse Navarro
On March 9, 2012


It all came down to three days, Feb. 17, 18 and 19.

Norwich University swimming and diving showcased their talents in White River Junction, Vt., for the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association Championship (

The team had a solid first day of the championships, highlighted by a pair of fifth place finishes in the relays (

In the 200 freestyle relay, the team of Mike Zemanek, Kevin Weber, Chris Hevey and Brandon Kelly got things rolling for Norwich.

As they finished the relay with a time of 1:29:82, Brandon Kelly knew this would set the tone for the next few days.

"I felt good about the race," said Kelly a 19- year- old electric and computer engineering sophomore from Centreville, Md.

"I knew coming into the race that a good race was in order and we left it all (in the pool)," Kelly  said.

The team also got a strong performance in the 400 medley relay which was made up of Kelly, Zemanek, Webster and Bowden.

The relay team ended up with a time of 3:41.44. "I was very surprised (and pleased) with the time drops I saw," said Coach Laura Dunn.

Individually, Webster and Zemanek ended up in fourth and fifth in the 500 freestyle. Kelly sported a seventh place in the 100 butterfly and Bowden a seventh in the 50 breastroke.

For the women, they earned a pair of 20th place finishes in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays to cap off the first day of competition.

On the second day of competition, the Cadets put up a strong performance by both the men and women.

Zemanek was the highlight for the Cadets with a second place finish in the 200 freestyle finals, a couple of seconds behind the winner.

Zemanek's time of 1:45.36 in the 200 freestyle was his fastest time ever, dropping three seconds from his previous best.

"It was basically unheard of at that point in his career," said Coach Dunn.

The 200 medley relay team ended up taking fifth with a time of 1:40.96 and the 800 medley relay landed in  fourth.

The women got a couple of top-25 finishes in the 800 medley relay which took 19th and the 200 medley relay with 21st.

The second day was finished off by a fourth place performance in the 800 medley relay for the men with a time of 7:22.58.

"We had a solid (day two) performance as a team," said Andrew Grubbs, a 21-year-old mechanical engineering junior from York, Pa.

By the end of the second day, the women had jumped over Husson and the men were in the top five.

Day three was no different from the last two days of championship competition in terms of effort put up by the team.

Freshman Lance Webster won the 1650 freestyle in a time of 16:56.63. That was the first individual champion since 2010 for the cadets.

"I was really surprised the way he performed," said Coach Dunn. "I was just amazed by the way he performed."

The team of Zemanek, Kelly, Webster and Bowden grabbed another top-five finish at relays with the 400  freestyle.

Individually, Kelly and Bowden secured another top-10 finish in their respective events for the cadets.

Kelly finished eighth in the 200 butterfly while Bowden also finished eighth in the 100 intermediate.

The ladies meanwhile, with the team of Polacek, Sabel, Stein and Vitale, notched a 20th place finish in the 400 freestyle relay competition.

In the end, the men finished the season in fourth place at the championships with a total score of 398 points.

The women ended their season in 21st place with 50 points. The cadets ended the season on a positive note and look forward toward next season.

"This was the first time I was in the championships," said Giovanna Stein, a 19-year-old sophomore majoring in biochemistry from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"I really had fun and it was a great experience overall for me personally." Giovanna said.

 Adam Vaughn, a 19-year-old sophomore majoring in English from Glendale, Ariz., said he also enjoyed the championship weekend.

"It was 10 out of 10. The chance to spend time with the team and compete with other top quality swimmers" was great, said Vaughn.

Vaugh looks to take the experience from championship weekend to prepare himself for his junior year, as do  the rest of his teammates.

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