Swimming and Diving Sets Six School Records on 1st Day of Metropolitan Championships


New Brunswick, NJ (2/18/11) – The Montclair State swimming and diving teams set six new school records punctuating a very successful first day of action as the Red Hawks men and women sit in fourth (of 17 teams) and seventh place (of 19 teams), respectively at the 2011 Metropolitan Conference Championships at Rutgers University.

The men set three of those records as they registered 188 points through the first 12 events contested on Friday. Meanwhile the women’s team sits in seventh, but is just 3.5 points from sixth place as they totaled 142.5 points. College of St. Rose is ahead of MSU at 146 points.

Last year, Montclair set five records total in the championship meet but that matched that mark and added one more on Friday with the first falling in the men’s 50 freestyle as sophomore Zak  Westerberg (Hamilton, NJ / Hamilton North) broke a 24-year-old record in the event during the preliminaries. Westerberg  swam 21.54 breaking the mark of 21.57 set by All-American Rich Taylor in the 1987 NCAA Championships. Westerberg would come back later in the evening and reset the mark posting a time of 21.14 in the finals to finish ninth overall in the event.  Senior Blaise Lacca (Sewell, NJ / Washington Township) was 17th with a time of 21.86 in the finals.

Records No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 would also fall during the morning preliminaries as the 400 medley relay squad of freshman Kelsie Donahue (Egg Harbor, NJ / Egg Harbor Township), seniors Laura Spadoni (Nazareth, PA / Nazareth Area) and Galina Loutchouk (Richboro, PA / Council Rock) and sophomore Ashley Vallone (Park Ridge, NJ / Park Ridge) recorded a time of 4:05.28 to break the old mark of 4:06.07 reached in 2010 at the same meet. The four would go faster in the finals to reset the mark at 4:03.57 to place fifth.

Like Westerberg did, Vallone broke a record in the morning and then reset the mark in the finals as she placed fourth in the 50 freestyle Vallone swam 24.36 to break Kristine Bates’ 2008 record of 24.52 set at the Metropolitan Championships. Vallone then lowered that mark to 24.28 in the finals.

Sophomore Michael Smith (Cherry Hill, NJ / Cherry Hill East) made it four record in the prelims as he broke former All-American and newly elected MSU Hall of Famer Billy Blomn's record in the 500 freestyle Blomn set the mark at the 1995 NCAA Championships, however Smith would erase that with a time of 4:39.80. He would place sixth in the finals at 4:42.74.

The remainder of the new records would come during the Friday evening finals. Westerberg would anchor the 200 freestyle relay team to a new mark as the quartet finished fourth in the event. Nikolas Lumkong (Byrum, NJ / Pope John XXIII), Thomas Long (Morristown, NJ / Morristown), Lacca and Westerberg reset their own standard going 1:25.17, besting their previous record of 1:26.02 set at last year’s Metropolitan Championships.

Donahue capped off the outstanding day by MSU with an individual record of her own finishing 17th in the 500 freestyle.  Donahue broke Loutchouk’s 2009 record going 5:22.53, six-tenths of a second better than Loutchouk, who swam 5:23.15 two seasons ago.

Elsewhere in the meet, Spadoni and Kelly Abner (Glenwood, NJ / Vernon) finished 17th and 18th, respectively in the 200 individual medley with time of 2:15.37 and 2:15.54. Chris Lee (Morris Plains, NJ / Parsippany Hills) was 18th in the men’s 200 IM (2:02.31) with Shawn Chambrovich (Allenhurst, NJ / Red Bank Regional) placing 20th at 2:03.12.

The women’s 200 freestyle relay team of Christina Crossin (Milton, CT / Lauralton Hall), Jacky Moe (Rutherford, NJ / Rutherford), Abner and Spadoni placed ninth with a time of 1:43.14 with the men’s 400 medley team finishing in the same spot. Chambrovich, Lee, Lumkong and Lacca combined on a time of 3:37.62.

The Red Hawks continue action in the Metropolitan Championships on Saturday and Sunday.