Story provided by Thomas Chasanoff, Cumberlands Athletics
KINGSPORT, Tenn. - The fifth-ranked University of the Cumberlands women’s swim team captured its third straight Mid-South Conference Championship after the final day of competition at the Mid-South Conference Championships taking place at the Kingsport Aquatics Center. Christina Klouda garnered Swimmer of the Year accolades, while Grace Moffat earned Freshman of the Year honors.
Klouda claimed her third MSC Title in the 200 backstroke, touching the wall in 2:06.77. That time ranks her fourth in the NAIA and clinched the Mid-South Conference Swimmer of the Year honors for the second year in a row. Dasha Korostina finished runner-up in the event with a time of 2:09.94 to earn second-team all-conference honors for the second time in the meet. Nicole Ceausu swam 2:15.14 to finish fifth in the event.
The Patriots also went first and second in the 200 butterfly as Moffat complete her sweep of the individual events winning the race with a time of 2:08.46. That time was a new conference record and is the second fastest time in the NAIA this season. Moffat becomes the second straight Cumberlands swimmer to earn Freshman of the Year honors as Klouda took those honors in 2016.
Casey Walin earned a pair of second team all-conference honors after finishing runner-up in both the 200 butterfly (2:11.72) and the 1650 free (18:23.36). Walin 1650 time was a 12 second improvement over her previous season best. Jessica Pope finished fourth in the 1650 free with a time of 19:00.03.
In the 100 freestyle, Brittany Litke outreached teammate Katy Smeltzer to earn a third place finish. Litke hit the wall in 54.04, while Smeltzer swam 54.60. In the consolation heat, Falon Bell hit a “B” cut as she swam 57.54, while Maria Nogueira finished 11th (59.04) UC’s final individual performance came from Tara Maletin and Rachel Palazzo in the 200 breaststroke. Maletin finished fourth with a time of 2:31.13, while Palazzo swam 2:51.95 to finish tenth.
In the final event of the meet, the 400 free relay, Smeltzer, Moffat, Klouda and Litke teamed up to swim 3:36.38. That time earned the relay second team all-conference honors after a runner-up finish.
Eighth-ranked Lindsey Wilson finished as conference runner-up with 397 points, while Lindenwood-Belleville finished third with 333 points. Campbellsville and Loyola rounded out the top five.
The Patriots will return to the pool Wednesday, March 1, when they travel to Columbus, GA for the opening day of competition at the NAIA National Championships. Diving will begin at noon. For more information about the championships stay tuned to www.cumberlandspatriots.com or www.naia.org.
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