Freshman Oliver Keegan shattered an Atlantic 10 record Saturday in the 200-yard fly, earning his first gold medal at the Atlantic 10 Championships in Geneva, Ohio.
Keegan made three trips to the podium during four days of competition, helping to lead GW to a fourth-place finish overall. For a team that placed sixth out of seven teams in the tournament last year, it’s an exciting improvement.
“The records obviously stand out, but they all showed a lot of focus and determination throughout the four-day competition. I’m proud of how they handled themselves,” head coach Dan Rhinehart said in an email.
Keegan’s race was “probably the single most exciting race of the entire meet,” Rhinehart said. In the final individual race of the competition, he won in the last six inches. Keegan also took home bronze in the 500-yard freestyle, and joined seniors Phillip Graeter and Niklas Glenesk and freshman Jordan Sharples, to place third in the 800-yard freestyle relay, breaking the school record Graeter and Glenesk helped set last year.
Graeter matched Keegan in trips to the podium, placing third in the 200-yard individual medley and winning his first gold medal in the 200-yard fly.
The 200-yard medley relay team of Keegan, senior Luke Quimby, junior Jake Mortensen and sophomore Garrett Cottingham placed sixth with a time of 1:31.32, but managed to break a 14-year-old school record. Cottingham went to the podium for the first time Saturday with a third-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke.
“The success of this kind of competition depends not only [on] the champions, but more often, the scorers ‘in the trenches,’ ” Rhinehart said.
On the women’s side, the team placed fifth of 11 teams. Junior Lindsay Moore made her first career trip to the podium Saturday, tying for third in the 200-yard backstroke. Moore broke her own school record twice, once in the preliminary heat and again in the finals, with a time of 2:00.12. Moore also broke her own school record Friday, placing fourth in the 100-yard backstroke.
“Friday was a big day as we continued to build on our standing from the first two days, but ultimately, it comes down to what happens on the final day,” Rhinehart said. “Where you place on Day One doesn’t really count – the last day is the key.”
Freshman Lauren Steagall placed fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke, also breaking a school record. Classmate Remy Neville placed first in the B final, good for ninth overall, breaking another school record. Rhinehart said both races were some of the most exciting races of the weekend.
The Colonials 400-yard freestyle relay team of juniors Sloan Saunders, Melissa Fernandez and Sydney Saunders and freshman Kally Vanderbilt placed fourth, breaking a school record from 2011 which Sloan and Sydney Saunders helped set. Junior Caroline Myers placed fourth with a season best time of 4:54.43 in the 500-yard freestyle. It was an important finish in order to keep the Colonials ahead of Rhode Island, which finished in sixth.
“The fatigue obviously increases and can become a factor as you head into the final day – they fought off the fatigue factor and ‘toughed it out’ and were able to hold off charges on the final day,” Rhinehart said.