DARTMOUTH, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Dartmouth freshman Sarah Murphy (Braintree, Mass.) and senior Kendra Hebert (Lowell, Mass.) both achieved All-Little East Conference status, as the Corsair women's swimming and diving team earned third place with 240 points at the 2017 Little East Conference Championships at the Tripp Center Natatorium on Saturday.
Women's Score: 3rd (240) of 7 teams
Murphy becomes the first UMass Dartmouth swimmer since Meaghan Coache in 2006 to win multiple events in a LEC Championship, as she exceeded her seed in both of her victories. In the 200 breaststroke, the freshman flew through her last 25 yards, seizing a photo-finish over two Keene State swimmers with a time of 2:36.03, edging Owl Olivia Pechulis' time of 2:36.25.
Four events later, Murphy erased the mid-point lead held by top-seeded Alexandra McCafferty of Keene State in the 400 IM. With two strokes left, she overtook McCafferty and held strong through the freestyle, topping the field in 4:50.15 and bettering her seed time by more than eight seconds. Murphy additionally added individual points for UMass Dartmouth with a sixth-place finish in the 100 breaststroke at 1:14.12, and teamed with Brienna Harrison (Lakeville, Mass.), Carly Cahill (Charlestown, Mass.) and Yulyssa Diaz (Dorchester, Mass.) to place fourth in the 200 medley relay with a time of 2:03.28.
Hebert secured both diving events for the second-straight season, closing her UMass Dartmouth career with four league titles. She registered a score of 233.93 in the 1-meter dive before cruising to a 235.70 total in the 3-meter, topping the field of five in both events. Hebert joins Kelly Kidd as a four-time LEC diving event winner, as Kidd claimed both events in back-to-back seasons from 2004-05.
The duo of senior Kaya Flanagan (Fairhaven, Mass.) and junior Chrissy Deveaux (North Andover, Mass.) combined for five top-five placements in individual scoring. Deveaux stayed true to seed in the 1,000 freestyle, taking third in 11:14.75 and cutting down her seed time by 19 seconds before closing her long-distance day with a third-place time in the 500 freestyle at 5:27.16, 10 ticks better than her seed mark. She later timed in at 5:00.35 to place fourth in the 400 IM in her first swim in the event on the season.
Flanagan shaved two seconds off her seed time in the 200 butterfly, gathering a third place finish in 2:27.03 prior to wrapping up a fifth-place time in the 200 backstroke at 2:18.63. The senior captain and Deveaux then bookended the second-place 400 freestyle relay squad to close the meet, joining with freshmen Alissa Hall (Westborough, Mass.) and Abigail Wilson (Newburyport, Mass.) for a time of 3:58.30.
Diaz held true to her seed in the 100 freestyle to earn fifth place and touch the pad in 59.53, and additionally collected two top-10 finishes in the 1,000 and 500 freestyle events, taking seventh and 10th, respectively.
- 240 points is the highest score for a UMass Dartmouth team in the LEC Championship meet since the Corsairs posted 259 points in 2010.
- In 2006, the last time a Corsair won multiple swimming events in the league meet, Coache swam to victory in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly.
- UMass Dartmouth secures a top-three finish in the LEC Championship for the fifth-straight season.
- The top finishers in each event are named to the All-LEC team, with the major awards voted nominated and voted upon by the league's head coaches.
- Keene State prevailed with a team score of 557, followed by Eastern Connecticut in second place at 288.
- UMass Dartmouth celebrated its four women's swimming and diving seniors, including Flanagan, Diaz, Hebert and Jillian Boyle (Westport, Mass.), and both men's swimming seniors, Brian McCauley (Franklin, Mass.) and Grayham Ronan (Millis, Mass.) following the meet.
Both the Corsair men and women will be back in the pool for the regional meet on Feb. 16-17, traveling to the University of Rhode Island for the 2017 New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association (NEISDA) Championships.