SEWELL, N.J. – The Butler Bulldogs competed in their first ever BIG EAST Swimming Championship event over the weekend at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology. BU finished the competition with 230.50 points placing them sixth overall.
"I am very proud of the overall team performance and team spirit at our first Big East Conference Championships," Head Coach Maurice Stewart said. "This young team really came together and bonded well as a close family. It really showed this week in the pool at the championship meet."
The four-day event came to a close on Saturday afternoon with the 200 Back, 100 Free, 400 Free Relay, 200 Breast, 200 Fly, and the 1650 Free. Multiple school records would once again be broken as the Bulldogs set three new fastest times in the 200 Back, 100 Free and 400 Free Relay.
Emma Green's lifetime-best effort in the 200 Back highlighted the Butler group as she swam a 2:06.14 in the prelims followed by a 2:06.19 in the finals to place eighth. She reset the school record by shaving off three seconds from her previous record set at the HOC Invite in November (2:09.11).
Cecilia Rose, Abby Cutler and Emily McCutchan also competed in the 200 Back finishing in a group to take 23rd, 24th, and 25th. Rose now sits at seventh on the all-time Top 10 list with a time of 2:13.22. Cutler posted a lifetime-best result finishing at 2:16.51 and McCutchan swam a season-best 2:17.46.
Claire Butkus posted yet another outstanding performance for Butler in the 100 Free on Saturday as the freshman broke a 14-year old school record. Butkus finished at 52.71 in the prelims to set the record and then finished the day with a time of 53.35 to place eighth in the finals.
Other top performers for Butler in the 100 Free included Helen Heimark, Kaitie Ring and Abby Gibbons. Heimark posted a season-best time of 54.83 for 18th place. Ring and Gibbons finished back-to-back at 20th and 21st with lifetime-best finishes of 54.95 and 55.03 respectively.
The 400 Free Relay team of Green, Butkus, Heimark and Ring set a new school record with a time of 3:35.93 to finish sixth overall. Green led-off the race with a 54.33 split and then Butkus hit the water for a time of 52.45. Heimark was the third swimmer to enter the pool as she posted a 54.57 split and Ring posted a 54.58 split in her final swim of her BU career, a lifetime-best.
"I am also proud of our three team captains, Hayden Engstrom, Meg Boebinger, and senior Kaitie Ring," Stewart added. "Their leadership and experience played a big part in our team success this season, and at the Big East Championships."
Two Bulldogs performed well for BU in the 200 Breast with Amanda Wagner placing 10th overall in the B-Final with a lifetime-best swim of 2:27.74. That result places her fourth on the Butler All-Time Top 10 list. Teammate Mary Cerajewski also had a lifetime-best result finishing the B-Final in 15th place (2:38.48).
Top performers in the 200 Fly included Elizabeth Miller and Genevieve Pena. Miller tied for 13th in the B-Final with a lifetime-best result of 2:11.15. She now ranks 6th overall on the BU All-Time Top 10 list. Pena will join Miller on the list as her time of 2:12.51 in the prelims places her 10th all-time. She placed 16th in the B-Final on Saturday with a time of 2:13.47.
The 1650 Free featured Sarah Gibbons taking 13th place with a time of 18:02.49. She posted a 10:51.04 split in the 1000 Free to place her 2nd all-time at Butler in the event.
BIG EAST AWARDS
Women's Coach of the Year: Rick Simpson, Villanova
Men's Coach of the Year: Brent MacDonald, Xavier
Women's Most Outstanding Swimmer (tie): Kerrie Kolackovsky, Seton Hall; Fiona Hardie, Villanova
Men's Most Outstanding Swimmer: Chad Thompson, Xavier