July 8, 2010
A-10 Women's Swimming & Diving Photo Gallery - Day Two | A-10 Women's Swimming & Diving Photo Gallery - Day Three | A-10 Women's Swimming & Diving Photo Gallery - Day Four | Championship Presentation & Celebration Photo Gallery
Bronx, N.Y. - Continuing the series of looking back at the major stories from Fordham Athletics for the 2009-10 season, this edition takes a look at the Fordham women's swimming & diving team, which won the 2010 Atlantic 10 Championship. It was the first ever team title for the program, as well as the first A-10 title for a women's sport at Fordham, and capped off a magical undefeated season for the Aqua Rams.
When the Atlantic 10 preseason poll for women's swimming & diving came out back on October 15th, something happened that had never happened before: The Fordham women were selected as the preseason favorites for the conference title. After finishing second at the 2009 Atlantic 10 Championship, the team's highest-ever finish, the Atlantic 10 coaches picked Fordham to snap the eight-year title run of the Richmond Spiders. Since joining the Atlantic 10, Richmond had won every women's swimming & diving championship.
The task of knocking off Richmond as the Atlantic 10's best was the goal for the team. The Rams began that mission by running rough shot through their regular season schedule. The Rams had 12 scored meets against other colleges, which included Boston College, Marist, Massachusetts, and Williams College. None of those teams could put a dent in the team's record, as Fordham went undefeated through their regular season schedule at 12-0. On average, Fordham won their meets by an 89-point margin.
Having lost only one scorer from the 2009 team, Fordham had a perennial list of All-Atlantic 10 performers coming back for the 2009-10 season. Seniors Caitlin Napoli
, Tressa Dunn
, and Nicole Marshall
all earned multiple All-Conference accolades over their careers, while also having juniors Christina Cosentino
and Alexandra Alessi
as All-Conference honorees on the Fordham relay teams. The Rams also had a strong group of sophomores coming back as well, which included 2009 Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year Courtney Collyer
, Kelly Bunster
, Andrea Krok
, and Elizabeth Dorger
Like a number of other Fordham teams, this year's women's swimming & diving team had quality talent to compete with the top teams, but in order to reach the ultimate team goal, the Rams needed scoring depth, which included seniors Kim Bouton
, Katelynn Gray
, and Marina Montoya
, and junior Natazia Fistrovic
, who have all scored points at the Atlantic 10 Championship in previous seasons, and a team-first mentality, which was fully embraced by the whole squad and led by co-captains Napoli and Cosentino.
With upwards of 13 possible returning scorers for the 2010 Championship, the Rams still needed that infusion of newcomer energy to push the returnees to get better, stronger and faster. Fordham got that addition from junior transfer Megan McGorry, who solidified Fordham in the distance freestyle events, and freshmen Brienne Ryan, Kellie Lyver, and Brittany Salas, who all became major contributors as the season progressed. Ryan would become the biggest addition, earning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week honors an Atlantic 10 record six times during the season, while setting the school's 100 backstroke record an amazing five times, as well as new marks in the 200 backstroke and 50 freestyle.
With talent, depth, and team unity all there, Head Coach Steve Potsklan and the rest of the coaching staff took their undefeated team to the 2010 Atlantic 10 Swimming & Diving Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. in hopes of making the preseason prognosticators correct and take home their first A-10 Championship.
On the first night of competition, the Rams knew they would have to get out to a fast start to have a chance to win the team title and they did, producing two event wins in two school record & NCAA "B" cut times. In the opening race of the championship, the women's 200 medley relay of Ryan, Marshall, Bunster and Dunn posted the second-best time in Atlantic 10 history, winning the event in a school record time of 1:40.89.
The other event on day one was the 800 freestyle relay where the Rams defended their title as Dunn, Bunster, Ryan, and Napoli won the event in a new Atlantic 10 record time of 7:20.82. The previous mark of 7:24.25, set last year.
On day two, Napoli looked to defend her 500 freestyle title from 2009, and did just that, posting the Rams' third event win of the championship with a season-best time of 4:55.45. Following her home was teammate McGorry, who took second in her best time of the season at 4:57.85.
The next event saw two more Rams in the "A" final, as Collyer and Marshall qualified second and fourth respectively in the 200 individual medley. Collyer ended up breaking the school record in the preliminaries with a time of 2:03.55, breaking the old mark of 2:03.81, which was held by Marshall. In the final, Collyer earned Second Team All-Atlantic 10 honors, placing second in a time of 2:03.66, while Marshall took fifth overall.
The championship then turned to the sprinters in the 50 freestyle, where, in the "A" final, Ryan broke the school record in the 50 freestyle, taking third overall in 23.57 seconds, with Dunn taking fifth in a season-best time of 23.63 seconds. Ryan broke the previous record of 23.71 seconds, set by Bunster last year.
The last of the individual events was the one-meter dive competition, where all three Fordham divers qualified for the finals for the first time since joining the Atlantic 10. Krok was Fordham's top diver, taking second overall with a finals score of 245.30 with Dorger placing fourth (241.60) and Salas ending up seventh (202.10).
The Rams then finished the night with a bronze medal performance in the 200 freestyle relay. Lyver, Cosentino, Alessi, and Napoli finished third in a school record time of 1:35.21, breaking the old mark of 1:35.85, set last year.
On day three, both Collyer and McGorry scored in the 200 individual medley with Collyer placing second in a school record time of 4:21.37, bettering her school record from last year (4:22.16) while McGorry was fifth (4:31.30).
In the 100 butterfly, Bunster took bronze, clocking in at 56.35 seconds while in the 200 freestyle, four Rams qualified for the finals, including three in the "A" final. In the finals, Napoli and Dunn would take second and third respectively in 1:50.63 and 1:51.90, followed by Alessi in sixth (1:53.90).
Fordham increased its lead in the standings after the 100 breaststroke, as Marshall placed second overall in a time of 1:03.90, getting touched out by just .05 seconds for first.
The Rams lead got cut back in the final two events of the night, despite record breaking performances by Fordham. In the 100 backstroke, Ryan once again set the school mark in the 100 backstroke, placing second overall in an NCAA "B" cut time of 54.21 seconds. Cosentino also scored in the "A" final for Fordham, taking sixth in 57.40 seconds.
The final event was the 400 medley relay, where Ryan, Marshall, Bunster, and Dunn posted a school record and NCAA "B" cut time of 3:42.86, taking second to Richmond's time of 3:42.11.
After leading the competition throughout the first three days, Fordham's excitement, eagerness, and hopes came down to one day, and by the day's end, the Fordham women proved the preseason poll correct, winning their first ever Atlantic 10 Championship.
Fordham and Richmond had separated themselves from the other eight competing teams over the last three days of competition, but it was the Rams finishing with 676 points to take home the crown. The Spiders took second with 596 points.
The night of finals started in the 1650 freestyle, where the Rams had two scorers, highlighted by McGorry placing second overall in a school record time of 16:58.64, breaking the old mark by close to ten seconds. Giulia Kaftan also scored in the event, placing 16th in 17:52.94.
Up next was the 200 backstroke, where Ryan earned All-Atlantic 10 honors for the fifth time during this championship, as she placed second in a time of 1:59.56. Earlier in the preliminaries, she broke the school record in the event in an NCAA "B" cut time of 1:58.42. Cosentino also made her way into the "A" final, as she placed fifth in 2:02.63.
Despite the strong start in the first two events, Fordham found their lead dwindling as Richmond tied the Rams with 536 points following the 100 freestyle event. In that event however, Fordham had three swimmers in the "A" final and one in the "B". Dunn led the charge as she placed second in the in a school record time of 51.04 seconds, followed by Bunster in seventh (52.03) and Alessi in eighth (52.53). Rounding out the finals, Lyver was fourth in the "B" final (12th overall) in 52.42 seconds.
Fordham regained the lead thanks to Marshall, who placed third in the 200 breaststroke in a school record time of 2:18.32, breaking her old mark of 2:19.25, set last year.
Leading by nine points, Fordham entered its strongest event with four finalists in the 200 butterfly. The "B" final saw Bouton win the heat in a time of 2:08.78, while Gray was third in 2:09.27. In the "A" final, Fordham pulled off their second one-two finish of the championship, as Collyer defended her 200 butterfly title with a time of 2:01.52, followed by Napoli in second place in 2:02.17.
With the two heat wins, Fordham took a 48-point lead into the final two events: the three-meter dive and 400 freestyle relay.
In the three-meter dive, all three Ram divers, Krok, Dorger, and Salas, once again made the finals of the event. Krok finished fourth with a score of 238.15, followed by Dorger in seventh (213.60) and Salas in eighth (211.40).
The final event was the 400 freestyle relay, which Dunn, Bunster, Ryan, and Napoli finished off in style, placing second in a school record and NCAA "B" cut time of 3:23.72, securing Fordham's first Atlantic 10 title in a women's sport.
In all, eight Fordham female athletes earned All-Atlantic 10 honors finishing in either first or second place in their respective events, while breaking 14 school records and one Atlantic 10 record. Fordham also posted a total of six NCAA "B" cut qualifiers. In addition to the team, Potsklan was named Atlantic 10 Women's Swimming Coach of the Year for the second straight year.
More accolades came to the team following the conclusion of the season, as Ryan was selected as a 2010 Division I Mid-Major All-American by CollegeSwimming.com, while Napoli received Fordham's top honor at the 76th Annual Block F Dinner, as co-recipient of the Hobbs Family Award, as Fordham's female student-athlete of the year. Napoli was also selected as one of 11 Atlantic 10 nominees for the 2010 NCAA Woman of the Year award. The top 10 honorees from Divisions I, II and III will be honored, and the 2010 NCAA Woman of the Year announced, at a dinner in Indianapolis on October 17, 2010.
Potsklan was also honored with his third Iron Major Award, as Fordham's coach of the year at the Block F Dinner.
The dream of an undefeated season and the expectations of an Atlantic 10 Championship had come to pass. Another turning point in the story of Fordham women's swimming & diving.
All-Atlantic 10 Honors & Records Set at Atlantic 10 Championship
First Team All-Atlantic 10
Women's 500 Freestyle - Caitlin Napoli
Women's 200 Butterfly - Courtney Collyer
Women's 800 Freestyle Relay - Tressa Dunn, Kelly Bunster, Brienne Ryan, Caitlin Napoli
Women's 200 Medley Relay - Brienne Ryan, Nicole Marshall, Kelly Bunster, Tressa Dunn
Second Team All-Atlantic 10
Women's 100 Freestyle - Tressa Dunn
Women's 200 Freestyle - Caitlin Napoli
Women's 500 Freestyle - Megan McGorry
Women's 1650 Freestyle - Megan McGorry
Women's 100 Backstroke - Brienne Ryan
Women's 200 Backstroke - Brienne Ryan
Women's 100 Breaststroke - Nicole Marshall
Women's 200 Butterfly - Caitlin Napoli
Women's 200 Individual Medley - Courtney Collyer
Women's 400 Individual Medley - Courtney Collyer
Women's 1M Dive - Andrea Krok
Women's 400 Medley Relay - Brienne Ryan, Nicole Marshall, Kelly Bunster, Tressa Dunn
Women's 400 Freestyle Relay - Tressa Dunn, Kelly Bunster, Brienne Ryan, Caitlin Napoli
Atlantic 10 Records
Women's 800 Freestyle Relay - 7:20.82 (Tressa Dunn, Kelly Bunster, Brienne Ryan, Caitlin Napoli)
Women's 50 Freestyle - Brienne Ryan - 23.57
Women's 100 Freestyle - Tressa Dunn - 51.04
Women's 1650 Freestyle - Megan McGorry - 16:58.64
Women's 100 Backstroke - Brienne Ryan - 54.29
Women's 200 Backstroke - Brienne Ryan - 1:58.42
Women's 100 Breaststroke - Nicole Marshall - 1:03.68
Women's 200 Breaststroke - Nicole Marshall - 2:18.33
Women's 200 Individual Medley - Courtney Collyer - 2:03.55
Women's 400 Individual Medley - Courtney Collyer - 4:21.37
Women's 200 Freestyle Relay - 1:35.21 (Kellie Lyver, Christina Cosentino, Alexandra Alessi, Caitlin Napoli)
Women's 400 Freestyle Relay - 3:23.72 (Tressa Dunn, Kelly Bunster, Brienne Ryan, Caitlin Napoli)
Women's 800 Freestyle Relay - 7:20.82 (Tressa Dunn, Kelly Bunster, Brienne Ryan, Caitlin Napoli)
Women's 200 Medley Relay - 1:40.89 (Brienne Ryan, Nicole Marshall, Kelly Bunster, Tressa Dunn)
Women's 400 Medley Relay - 3:42.86 (Brienne Ryan, Nicole Marshall, Kelly Bunster, Tressa Dunn)