Feb. 22, 2014
SEWELL, N.J. - The Villanova women's swimming & diving team won three events on the final day of the BIG EAST Conference Championship on the way to winning the conference title Saturday evening. Smith earned his second individual title while the men's team placed fourth.
The team last won the BIG EAST Championship in 1996. This is head coach Rick Simpson's first conference title. Simpson was named Women's Coach of the Year while Fiona Hardie earned Co-Women's Most Outstanding Swimmer honors alongside Seton Hall's Kerrie Kolackovsky.
The Wildcats dominated the meet, winning 14 of the 18 events.
Wildcat women took the top four times in the 100 freestyle, with Katrin Heider on top of the podium at 50.36. She was followed by Kaisla Kollanus (50.48), Sara Jurek (50.72) and Jessica Randolph (51.04).
Hardie earned gold in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:00.57, while Erin Merkle took bronze in the event (2:05.46).
The women finished the event with a time of 3:23.12 and first place in the 400 freestyle relay, with Randolph, Heider, Kollanus and Jurek coming in more than six seconds before the second place Xavier squad.
Ben Smith, fresh off beating a 25-year-old program record and winning the 100 butterfly, earned his second BIG EAST individual title in the 200 fly.
Tony Sipala shaved 1.27 off of his preliminary time to take fourth place in the 200 breaststroke finals with a 2:05.63.
The 400 freestyle relay team placed fourth with a time of 3:06.48.
Women's Coach of the Year: Rick Simpson, Villanova
Men's Coach of the Year: Brent MacDonald, Xavier
Women's Most Outstanding Swimmer (tie): Kerrie Kolackovsky, Seton Hall; Fiona Hardie, Villanova
Men's Most Outstanding Swimmer: Chad Thompson, Xavier
Men's Final Scores
Seton Hall 492.0
Women's Final Scores
Seton Hall 530.0