The University of Connecticut Swimming and Diving team had a solid showing at the Bucknell Invitational in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania this weekend. They finished on the podium, taking the third spot behind only the hosts of the meet, Bucknell, and the big surprise of the weekend, Towson.
In a quick summary, the rankings went as follows: Towson finished first with 1448.5 points, Bucknell at second with 1306.5, UConn at third with 1266.5, Fordham at fourth with 1084, Davidson at fifth with 956, La Salle at sixth with 541.5, and Rider coming in last with a lowly 215.
Friday was a slow day for the women. Top three placements did not necessarily come often, but when they did, they came mostly by way of the underclasswomen. Sophomore Niamh Hofland put UConn on the podium for the first time with a second place finish in the 500 yard freestyle. Freshman Maggie Donlevy followed that with a third place conclusion in the 50 yard freestyle, and sophomore Analaura Faoro made a triumvirate by getting the gold in the 3-meter dive. The biggest win of the day, however, came by way of the Huskies’ A-team for the 400 medley relay: sophomore Kayla Mendonca, senior Katelyn Walsh, senior Linnea Anderson, and Donlevy combined for the top spot.
UConn came into Saturday with a chip on their shoulder, and it showed in their dominance throughout the day. The A-team struck again, with Mendonca, Walsh, Anderson, and Donlevy ending No. 1 in the 200 yard medley relay, followed by a barrage of great individual performances. Most notably, junior Charlotte Proceller ended up third in the 100 yard butterfly, while Anderson took fourth; Walsh finished second and senior Angela Gombardella finished third in the 100 yard breaststroke, respectively; and the women absolutely dominated the 100 yard backstroke, stealing first, second, fourth and fifth place finishes. Those top swimmers were none other than Mendonca, Donlevy, senior Catherine Fazio, and freshman Paige Sugra. Freshman Julia Pioso finished off the day with a second place conclusion in the 1-meter dive, capping off a brilliant day of swimming and diving for the Huskies.
Sunday was less dominant but still a solid day for UConn, as they preserved their third place spot and cruised their way to the finish of the Bucknell Invitational. On their way to the finale of the meet, Hofland took first in the grueling 1650 yard freestyle, Mendonca finished second in the 200 yard backstroke, the young gun Donlevy placed on the podium once again by ending third in the 100 yard freestyle, and senior Grace Ali took the gold in the 200 yard butterfly.
The best performers this weekend were Niamh Hofland and Maggie Donlevy. Hofland displayed excellent poise placing in a top heat multiple times, showing how great she is at freestyle. Donlevy really killed it this weekend, anchoring the top-placing relay teams and achieving a little personal glory on the side. With both these athletes being underclasswomen, it will be exciting to follow their development as their swimming careers continue.
After ending the weekend trials in the bronze position, the UConn Huskies have a well-earned break ahead of them, with their next meet only being on December 4th at home against Southern Connecticut State University.