MANSFIELD, Texas - Emily Adamczyk won UC San Diego's first national title of the 2012 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday, winning the 200 breaststroke in school-record time on the final day of the meet at the ISD Natatorium.
Overall, UCSD placed second in the men's team standings with 400 points. Drury collected 473 points to win its fourth consecutive title, while Florida Southern placed a distant third with 316.5 points. It was a huge improvement for the Tritons, who finished more than 250 points behind Drury in 2011.
On the women's side, UCSD came in third, totaling 451.5 points. Wayne State was first with 497 points, edging the Drury women, also looking for a four-peat, who placed second with 496 points.
Adamczyk led wire-to-wire to claim the 200 breast crown with a school-record time of 2:13.18. The junior out-paced second place finisher Ekaterina Alyabyeva (2:14.87) of Drury by over a full second. Grand Valley State's Lauren Dorsey was third (2:14.95). It was the icing on the cake for Adamczyk, who had a solid outing in Texas, finishing third in the 100 breast in a personal best time of 1:03.57. She was also part of the 400 medley relay squad that took second on Thursday.
"I just really wanted to break the school record, that was my goal going in," said Adamczyk. "I was really excited to finally break 2:14-I've been stuck there for a couple of years.
"I started to feel like I had it at the 100 yard mark," continued Adamczyk. "The back half is the strongest part of my race and I felt that I had a lot of energy left and could sustain it to the finish. I really feel great right now. All the work I put in paid off. I had so much support from my teammates, coaches and parents. All of that put together is why I'm here right now."
Senior Alex Henley was seeded first in the 200 backstroke and swam a 1:57.58 to take second place behind Wayne State's Ana Azambuja, who posted a winning time of 1:57.08. It was Henley's third second place finish of the meet as she took the same standing in the 200 and 400 individual medleys.
In the 200 backstroke, sophomore Anji Shakya swam a 2:00.64 to place fifth. The Davis native placed first in the 100 freestyle consolation final, logging a 50.94. Junior Olivia Fountain was 11th in 51.12.
Senior Neda Nguyen won the 200 breast consolation final (2:18.23), while freshman Eva Chen was 12th (2:19.58).
The women's contingent finished on a high note as the team of freshman Sierra Robbins, Fountain, Shakya and Henley posted a school-record time of 3:23.42 to finish second in the 400 free relay.
"I felt like we were really warriors-very tough," said co-head coach Corrie Falcon. "Coming off a difficult end to the first night, they could have easily had a million excuses, but they didn't. They just focused on getting up, racing and just doing the very best they could do. There aren't many meets where you feel almost everyone on the team had an incredible meet, but that's how I feel right now."
Sophomore Nick Korth, the defending national title holder in the 200 breaststroke, led halfway through the event Saturday but ended up placing third in 1:57.45.
Senior Matt Herman was not able to defend his title in the 1650 freestyle, finishing third in 15:21.02. Sophomore See Han Lee also made the finals, placing eighth (2:02.09), while junior Jacob Lammott swam in the consolation finals and finished 10th overall (2:00.28).
Three Tritons scored points in the men's three meter dive. Tyler Runsten placed 10th (487.05 points), Luke Calkins was 11th (485.20 points) and Patrick Cohen was 15th (452.50 points).
"To go from 265 points out of first place to 73 in one year, I'm very, very happy and proud of these guys," said first year co-head coach Matt Macedo. "It was a great performance and gives us something to shoot for in the future.
"It's going to be hard to replace the seniors we lose but we're going to keep improving," continued Macedo. "Our success is just a credit to the hard work we put in all year-we met almost all the goals we set going into the season. Adam Rice was so versatile at this meet. He stepped up in every situation."
It was the second straight year that the Triton men placed second in the team standings, matching their best ever finish. For the women, it was the 10th time in 12 appearances at the NCAA Division II Championships that they captured third place.
Over the four-day meet, UCSD swimmers broke a total of 10 school records including:
Adam Rice: 200 IM, 1:46.99
Adam Rice: 400 IM, 3:53.72
Eric Owens, Nick Korth, Adam Rice, Blake Langland: 200 medley relay, 1:28.56
Eric Owens, Nick Korth, Adam Yen, Blake Langland: 400 medley relay, 3:14.67
Alex Merrill, Julius Espiritu, Adam Rice, Michael Lorch: 800 free relay, 6:37.68
Emily Adamczyk: 200 breaststroke, 2:13.18
Jaclyn Amog: 100 butterfly, 55.47
Alex Henley: 200 IM: 2:01.41
Anji Shakya: 500 freestyle, 4:51.14
Sierra Robbins, Olivia Fountain, Anji Shakya, Alex Henley: 400 free relay, 3:23.42
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS NOTES
Members of the UCSD camp were definitely impressed by Emily Adamczyk's tour de force in the 200 breaststroke. With former national champions Alex Henley and Nick Korth poised to perhaps repeat tonight, Adamczyk, despite being the No. 1 seed out of the prelims, came in with relatively little fanfare. People are noticing now after she took down six-time NCAA champion Rosanna Delurgio's seven-year-old school standard with a clocking of 2:13.18.
"I told Emily before the race that no one in that field would be as tough as she was coming home," said co-head coach Corrie Falcon. "She had established a slight lead at the midway point and in the third 50, she just found this other gear and started pulling away. I knew then we would have something very special."
Korth, a sophomore who finished third in the men's 200 breaststroke, a race he won in 2011, was equally impressed. "Spectacular," said Korth when pressed to describe Adamczyk's effort. "Especially since she almost got the national D-II record as well. Right out of the gate she was going after it and it was exciting to see her just keep putting distance between herself and everyone else. Jacob (fellow breaststroker Lammott) almost cried watching her swim."
Senior Alex Henley had a meet that was equally incredible and frustrating. Three times an NCAA individual champion over the past two years, the team captain from Thousand Oaks recorded three seconds and a fourth in Mansfield, coming up just short even when she broke her own school record in the 200 individual medley on day one. She displayed just the right amount of competitiveness and team spirit while looking back on the four days in Texas.
"Not winning does sting a little, but honestly, I think this is the most fun I've had at a meet in a long time," she said. "I'm here with 13 other girls who swam lights out and we had a great time doing it. I never thought I would come this far. I'm just happy that I got to be a part of UCSD Swimming and Diving. It's the most special team in the country-at any school, in any sport. I don't think it's really hit me yet that my college career is over."
Falcon was understandably appreciative of the role Henley has played in the development of the program. "A big reason our women's team is at the level it's at is because of the leadership and mentoring that Alex has established, really since the first year she was here. She sets the bar high in terms of expectations and is probably the hardest worker and most committed to the team's success. We're going to miss her."
UCSD has plenty of history in terms of winning NCAA titles. On the current team, Henley has three, senior Matt Herman two (both won last year), Korth and now Adamczyk one apiece. Co-head coach Matt Macedo earned two as an undergrad at Cal. But the person with the most hardware in this year's travel party is first-year assistant and former Triton sprinting great Daniel Perdew. In a three-year span that ended in 2010, he captured five sprint freestyle crowns, taking the 50 free twice and 100 free three times. Now he's on the deck instead of in the water and has found the switch an interesting one.
"I like it a lot. It's definitely been a learning experience in my first year-a big transition and I've found there were a lot of things I had taken for granted when I was on the team," says Perdew, who helps coordinate much of the team's strength and conditioning program/dryland training and serves as an assistant with the sprinters. "I kind of ‘assumed and did,' without thinking about all the behind-the-scenes stuff.
"I've found that sometimes things that were natural for me are sometimes difficult to teach. As a sprinter, I was more of a doer than a thinker. As a coach, you can't be a doer-you have to be more of a thinker. It's been a process being able to vocalize many of the things that in the past I've only thought about internally."
Macedo feels fortunate to have Perdew on the staff. "I think he's done a great job," says the first-year head man. "The toughest thing I think is having to deal with athletes who were his teammates-he's had to take on a role where he separates himself from that which can be tough. For having zero experience, he's been a valuable contributor to our program. He really knows the pulse of the group which is important."
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