COMMERCE, Calif. — The University of La Verne swimming and diving teams broke five school records and Scott MacKay sealed a trip to the NCAA Regional Diving Meet at the 2014 Collegiate Winter Invitational, held on Dec. 12-14, at the Brenda Villa Aquatic Center.
The women finished second in team rankings behind NAIA Concordia (Calif.) with 1750 points and the men finished fifth with 979.
MacKay smashed his own school record on the 1-meter board with an 11-dive total of 482.85 points. With the score, he qualified for the NCAA regionals on both the 1-meter and the 3-meter boards.
He scored 475.30 points on the 3-meter.
Last season, MacKay did not qualify for the regional meet until the very last day of the 2014 SCIAC Championships.
"It feels awesome to get it out of the way early," MacKay said. "Last year was suspenseful and it will be more fun and less stressful to compete the rest of the season."
La Verne diving coach Jim Luci says getting the qualification out of the way early will relieve MacKay of pressure later in the season and allow him to focus on skills—not score—the rest of the way.
"Now we can work on more difficult dives in our remaining meets and use them at the regional and the national meets. That's the biggest thing," Luci said. "Our mindset is to still 'qualify' at every meet and treat the remaining meets like nationals."
Krislyn Cha highlighted the first day of events with a record-breaking performance in the 400 yard individual medley. The sophomore touched the wall at 4:50.42, slashing more than four seconds off her own school record set at the 2014 SCIAC Swimming and Diving Championships (4:54.97).
Jarrett Peterson, Harry Bennett, Mike Sanchez and Daniel Carpenter combined to notch a pair of top-five finishes in the 200 medley relay and the 800 freestyle relay. The quartet touched third in the 200 medley relay at 1:37.21 and came in fifth in the 800 with a time of 7:15.50.
Sanchez added a fifth-place finish in the 400 IM (4:12.48).
The women's relay teams had a good day as well. Maddie Lovrensky, Jacqueline Rojas, Krislyn Cha and Melanie Consiglio teamed up to take second in the 200 medley relay with at time of 1:48.44, which was just shy of the school record and ranks second all-time. Karla Fuertez replaced Rojas in the 800 freestyle relay and La Verne finished sixth in the event with a time of 8:08.69.
Lovrensky claimed the women's 100 backstroke with a crisp 56.04 and broke the school record in the 200 IM with a time of 2:12.25 to headline the second day of events. She also added a second-place finish as she swam the backstroke leg in the 400 medley relay and a fourth-place finish as the anchor leg of the 200 freestyle relay team.
Consiglio was a part of the same relay teams and registered a pair of solid individual performances as well. The senior came in third in the 50 freestyle (24.79) and 16th in the 200 freestyle (2:01.10).
Daniel Carpenter shined in the men's freestyle events. The sophomore took fourth in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:45.74 and was sixth in the 50 freestyle (22.14).
Freshman Mary Hanna continued to impress in backstroke. The Claremont native finished sixth in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:03.46.
Sanchez qualified for the NCAA Division III 'B' cut with a time of 57.11. He finished second behind Concordia's Hunter Sa-Nguansap.
Rojas also claimed second in the women's 100 breaststroke. She finished 1:07.75.
On the final day of the meet, Rojas shattered her own school record in the 200 breaststroke by more than four seconds. She cut about half a second off her pervious record in the morning trials and proceeded to slice an incredible four seconds off that time to finish at 2:24.53 in the final. The time is .14 seconds shy of the NCAA Division III 'B' cut.
Lovrensky dominated the field in the 200 backstroke. She beat her nearest competitor by more than five seconds and touched at 2:05.88.
Consiglio went 54 seconds flat in the 100 freestyle in the morning preliminaries and bettered her own school record in the event by one-one hundredth of a second.
Sanchez cleared the NCAA 'B' cut in the 200 breast as well after snagging the cut in the 100 on Saturday. He finished behind Sa-Nguansap to take second with a time of 2:05.78.
From head coach Pat Skehan
On Scott MacKay: "He has really grown over that past couple of years and become more consistent. He's a huge asset to the men's program. We are really proud of him."
On the meet: "There was a lot of improvement and dropped times across the board and it is great to see everyone moving in national direction. … This meet is about preparing for the future and we put them in a lot of tough situations. We responded and it will get us ready for later in the season when it really counts."
On the trip to Colorado Springs: "Our performance at this meet really showed me that we are ready to go to Colorado Springs and get something out of it."
The Leopards will travel to Colorado Springs this week to participate in a camp at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center. On Wednesday, La Verne will face Colorado College in a dual meet. The meet is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.Follow La Verne Athletics on Twitter @ULV_Athletics Follow La Verne Athletics on Instagram @ULV_Athletics
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