Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wingate Bulldogs win SCAD Invitational Saturday night

Savannah, Ga.----The Wingate University men’s and women’s swimming teams defended their titles, taking first place in the Savannah College of Art and Design College Invitational Saturday night. The annual event is held at the Chatham County Aquatics Center.

The Wingate men won six of the eight contested events Saturday, posting a final score of 1246 points. Blue Grass Mountain Conference rival SCAD was second with 1103 points. Darton (Ga.) College was third with 443 points. The Bulldog women accumulated 1217 points. The SCAD Bees were second with 871 points, while Converse College was a close third with 857 points. The Wingate women’s team won four gold medals Saturday.
           
“Every year with our season set-up…we look at the (SCAD Invitational) meet as a mid-term exam…the halfway point from the start of our season,” Wingate head coach Kirk Sanocki says. “We give some rest to our swimmers over Thanksgiving so we are ready to go into this weekend. It is important we see where we are as we enter second semester.”
           
The biggest individual splash for the Wingate men belonged to freshman Marko Blazevski (Skopje, Macedonia), who cut five seconds off the Bulldog team record on the way to a victory in the 200 Butterfly. Blazevski finished in 1:51.62, besting the Wingate team record of 1:56.95 held by three-time national champion Gus Chagas. Blazevski also recorded a meet record Saturday.

Bulldog sophomore Rory Julyan (Cape Town, South Africa) had a hand in three victories (one individual, two relay). The 2010 national champion (400 Freestyle Relay) experienced a measure of déjà vu, as he teamed with three new partners to conclude the meet with a victory in the same event. Julyan, junior Lee Sousa (Cornelius, N.C.), freshman Tim Kniffler (Mulheim, Germany) and sophomore Spencer Waganaar (Satellite Beach, Fla.) posted a winning time of 3:06.52.

Julyan, Waganaar, Sousa and senior Dwight Richardson (Newport News, Va.) started the day with a victory in the 200 Medley Relay (1:34.82). In between, Julyan won the 100 Breaststroke with a time of 57.00. Waganaar was second with a 59.32 posting. Waganaar also finished second in the 100 Freestyle with a time of 46.58.

Wingate senior Marcelo Machado (Recife, Brazil) won the 200 Individual Medley Saturday, recording a triumphant time of 1:55.51. Kniffler was right on his heels with a time of 1:55.78.

Kniffler won the 200 Backstroke with a meet record time of 1:52.49. The Bulldogs were 1-2-3-4 in the event, with junior captain Danny Palmiotto (Brookfield, Conn., 1:56.51), Sousa (1:56.65) and junior Santino Viselli (Windsor, Ontario, 1:56.74) completing the clean sweep.
           
Wingate junior Malin Kersmark (Malin-Bjarred, Sweden) led the Bulldog women, as she contributed to three first-place finishes Saturday. Individually, Kersmark won the 200 Backstroke with a time of 2:07.78. She barely missed her own meet record of 2:07.11.
           
Kersmark started the day by swimming the first leg in Wingate’s victorious 200 Medley Relay. She teamed with freshmen Beatrice Svensson (Lomma, Sweden) and Valerie Dembny (Bremen, Germany) and senior Cheryl Vaccaro (Charlotte, N.C.) to touch first with a time of 1:48.84.
          
In meet’s last event, Kersmark, Vaccaro, Svensson and senior ESPN Academic All-America® Nicole Moody (Grovetown, Ga.) won the 400 Freestyle Relay with a meet record time of 3:36.60. The old record was established by Wingate in 2009.
           
Wingate sophomore Paige Schmidt (Clearwater, Fla.) collected the Bulldogs’ other individual victory Saturday, touching first in the 500 Freestyle with a time of 5:06.44. Classmate Elly Speer (Sydney, Australia) was third in 5:10.75. Speer finished second in the 200 Butterfly with a time of 2:10.99, only 0.36 off the victorious time.
           
Svensson had two second-place finishes Saturday. She was second in the 100 Freestyle (53.26) and 100 Breaststroke (1:06.44). Dembny collected a silver medal in the 200 Individual Medley with a time of 2:09.48.
           
“Our team responded tremendously this weekend,” Sanocki says. “This is one of the best mid-season meets during my 10 years at Wingate…judging by what we were trying to accomplish.”
           
Following the SCAD event, the Bulldog swimming teams will take a break for final exams Dec. 8-14 before departing after Christmas for their annual Florida training trip. Wingate will compete in the Winter College Invitational (Daytona Beach, Fla.) on Jan. 5, 2011. The annual January event is hosted by Daytona State College.

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