BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Marist women's swimming and diving teams leads after the first day of competition at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship at the Burt Flickinger Athletic Center on the campus of Erie Community College. In a day of dominate performances, the Red Foxes garnered victories in five of the six events to earn a 99-point lead. Seniors Kate Conard (East Setauket, N.Y.) and Chelaine Eliazar (Honolulu, Hawaii), and junior Maddie Arciello (Missoula, Mont.) all collected individual titles.
The 200-yd. freestyle relay team of freshman Bridget Curley (Endwell, N.Y.), junior Emily Miles (Long Valley, N.J.), Conard and Arciello started the finals off with a come-from-behind win with a time of 1:35.57. Arciello's anchor leg of 23.17 helped the Red Foxes overtake Rider (23.71) down the stretch for a 0.09-second victory.
In the next event, the 500-yd freestyle, Marist had three swimmers in the Championship Final: Conard, Bonnie Orr (Fresno, Calif.) and Shannon Toal (Rye Brook, N.Y.). Locked in from the blocks in her first preliminary race, Conard cruised to a 6.71-second victory at 4:53.78 in the Championship Final; she was the top seed from the morning by 6.17 seconds. Orr earned a second place finish as she swam away from her next closest competitor by 2.56 seconds at 5:00.49, while Toal took seventh at 5:05.54.
The third event final was the 200-yd IM, in which three Red Foxes saw A Final action; seniors Katie Larkin (Huntington, N.Y.) and Erica Vitale (Sterling, Conn.) and Miles. In a close race, Miles overtook Larkin in the final 50 to earn second place at 2:07.51. Larkin came in 0.38 seconds later in third at 2:07.89, while Vitale finished in seventh at 2:10.12.
After two consecutive third place finishes in 50-yd freestyle MAAC competitions in 2011 and 2012, Arciello earned her first-ever MAAC individual crown with a 23.77 result in the sprint event. She cleared the field by 0.25-second margin. Her teammate Curley finished in seventh in the A-Final at 24.39.
In diving action, Eliazar took a page out of Arciello's book and finally broke-through during the 2013 Championships. After back-to-back runners up finishes in 1-meter MAAC events, the senior finished her six dive competition this evening with 230.04 points. Sophomore Kimberly Tobias (San Jose, Calif.), the top seed after morning action, finished in second with 212.28 points. In the Consolation Finals, freshman Renata Diotalevi (Madison, Conn.) finished first with 194.88 points.
The final event of the night was the 400-yd. medley relay, in which Kate Conard tied a school record for the fastest 100-yd backstroke. The senior opened up the Red Foxes' fifth win of the night with a 57.22 100-yd split that tied Sarah Wagner's 2011 mark. After Conard, the trio of Larkin, Miles and Arciello closed out the race to give Marist the 4.25-second victory at 3:50.64.
After the first day of the championship, Marist leads the way with 269 points. Rider is second with 170 and Canisius is third with 135.
The 2013 MAAC Championship will continue on Friday morning at 10 a.m., with the qualifying heats of events 17-26. The finals for the same events will be held Friday evening, with the first race scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
Women's Standings (Through Event 11) 1. Marist - 269 / 2. Rider - 170 / 3. Canisius - 135 / 4. Iona - 103 / 5. Loyola - 100 / 6. Saint Peter's - 94 / T7. Niagara & Siena - 89 / 9. Fairfield - 79 / 10. Manhattan - 28