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February 16, 2004

Swimming and Diving Gets Ready for Its First-Ever America East Championships

After dominating the East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) and Northeast Conference (NEC) for the past several years, the UMBC men's and women's swimming and diving teams prepare to extend that dominance into the America East Conference.

Participating in their first ever championship in the new league on February 20-22, the Retrievers enter the post-season boasting a 12-1 record on both sides, setting a new school record for single-season wins for the men's and women's teams, individually as well as combined.

“It's great to have our teams be the one people fear,” said Head Coach Chad Cradock. “When we come into meets, other teams look at us as the team to beat. It shows that we have gained the respect of the swimming world.”

During his three years as head coach at UMBC, Cradock has posted an incredible 62-15 combined record, good for a .805 winning percentage.

This year, the women's only loss came at the hands of East Carolina, while the Retriever men's lone defeat came from a heartbreaking one point loss to state rival Navy. Entering the final event with a 117-109 lead, UMBC generated just four points in the 400 freestyle relay, while the Midshipmen claimed 13 points, and the Retrievers saw themselves on the short end of a 122-121 decision.

“I'm upset about the loss to Navy, but that loss helped our men focus and be more competitive,” said Cradock. “As we went into the rest of the season, that one loss pushed us to win others.”

Next week, UMBC will continue to push as they take on new their new league foes at the America East Championships in Orono, Maine. The Retriever men look to get their seventh consecutive conference title (ECAC Champions 1998-2003), while the women go for their third straight and fifth in the last six years (NEC 1999-2000, 2002-2003).

“It was great to have both men and women break school records and I am so proud to be working with such dedicated and loyal athletes,” said Cradock. “They definitely deserved every victory that they have gotten so far, but they remain aggressive and I know they have the drive to win the conference title.”

Posted by dwinds1 at February 16, 2004 12:00 AM