Berry closes out at SAA Swimming Championships

Berry closes out at SAA Swimming Championships

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Berry Vikings capped off their 2013-2014 season in Birmingham, Alabama this past weekend at the annual SAA Conference Championship meet. The event featured six other Division III teams and hosted a substantial amount of talent on all sides. Conference Championships took place over a span of three days with prelims and finals on each day. Full Results

A few highlights will not be enough to cover every swimmers stellar performance, but it should be noted that lifetime bests and record breaking swims were a common occurrence throughout the meet.

Senior Graydon McCrite competed in the 50 freestyle (20.63), 100 freestyle (46.37), and 100 backstroke (52.17), and finished at the top of the podium in each event. McCrite's 50 freestyle qualified for the upcoming DIII National meet in March, and also set a new SAA conference record.

Junior Conor Monaghan placed 1st in the 100 and 200 butterfly (49.50 & 1:51.37, respectively), and placed 2nd in the 200 IM (1:52.24). Each of Monaghan's swims were fast enough to earn a DIII national cut. Monaghan also time-trialed the 100 freestyle and finished in a 45.28, which resulted in yet another qualifying time for the upcoming national meet.

Berry's men swept the 50 freestyle event, taking first, second, and third place on the podium. Graydon McCrite finished first (21.06), Johnathon Purdy finished second (21.55), and Cameron Grant finished third (23.62).

Freshman twins Joey Ellwanger and Robbie Ellwanger both finished top 8 overall in their respective events. Joey competed in the 100 and 200 fly (53.60 & 1:56.33), and Robbie competed in the 100 and 200 breaststroke (1:01.18 & 2:14.20). A fourth place finish in each event is a proud accomplishment for freshman in such a tough field of competition.

Johnathon Purdy, Graydon McCrite, Cameron Grant, and Conor Monaghan won the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:22.74, a DIII National cut, and a new SAA conference record. The same men's relay also tied Birmingham Southern for first place in the most exciting event of the competition- the 400 freestyle relay. Berry tied Birmingham Southern with a new, and shared SAA conference record of 3:05.75.

Senior Rachel Sandoval won the 50 and 100 freestyle (24.13 & 52.44) with new SAA records and NCAA qualifying times.

Sophomore Janelle Spanjers set a new Berry school record in the 100 breast with a time of (1:08.98). She also placed 6th in the 200 breaststroke (2:30.27) and 4th in the 500 freestyle (5:14.57).

The women's 200 freestyle relay of Hannah Johnson, Stephanie Stadnick, Janelle Spanjers, and Rachel Sandoval set a new school record with a (1:53.20). With the addition of senior Kaitlin O'Brien the women's 400 medley relay school record also fell (4:11.28).

The Viking team put up nearly countless lifetime bests in each of their events during the conference weekend. The men finished 4th overall, and the women 6th.

"I am extremely proud of how our team performed this weekend. They worked harder than anyone this year and I am thrilled to see all of that time and dedication pay off." –Graduate Coach Ehrenheim