At right: Erin McVeigh
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- Junior Michelle Schapp (Torrington) broke her own record in the 100 yard backstroke and Katie King (Barkamsted) broke the program record in the 100 breaststroke in becoming the first Eastern Connecticut State University freshman to win an individual event in eight years at the 12th Little East Conference Championships Saturday at the Tripp Center Natatorium on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Eastern placed second for the fifth straight year in the eight-team meet, collecting 326 points - its second-highest total ever and the fourth time in the last five years that it has reached at least 300 -- for a 139-point win over third-place Massachusetts Dartmouth. Keene State College won its seventh straight title and tenth overall with 630 points.
Seeded second, Katie King broke Jessica Wilson's three-year-old record by just over a half-second with a time of 1:09.32, becoming the first freshman since Sarah Barber in 2004 to claim a gold medal in the meet. Seeded fourth, Schapp placed third in the 100 backstroke in a time of 1:01.45, improving her own record set as a freshman at the New England Championships by just under one second.
At left: Katie King accepts her first-place ribbon from LEC Commissioner Jonathan Harper.
The 200 medley relay (1:53.85) and 400 freestyle relay (3:50.82) both captured second place, with senior Stephanie O'Kelly (Westport) also registering a top three finish by taking third in the 200 breaststroke in a time of 2:35.15. Members of the 200 medley relay were Schapp, Katie and junior Colleen King (Barkhamsted) and freshman Macaire Jones (Danbury), while junior Marissa Colley (East Haven), sophomore Abby Arisco (Wallingford), junior Morgan Charlow (Branford) and senior Erin McVeigh (Windsor) teaming on the 400 freestyle relay.
The 200 medley relay - which opened the meet - was a two-team race between Keene and Eastern, with the Owls edging the Warriors by less than two seconds.
The two relays netted Eastern 52 points, with four individuals combining for 37 points in the 200 breaststroke, three swimmers collecting three of the top six spots for 35 points in the 100 breaststroke, and five individuals placing among the top 12 for a 32-point haul in the 200 backstroke.
At left: Abby Arisco (middle) receives a hug from sister Amy following her sixth-place finish in the 100 butterfly.
In all, 16 different individuals contributed points. Katie King and McVeigh recorded 32 points each in three individual events, plus contributed to a relay, with Arisco totaling 27 points (plus swimming one relay) with sixth-place finishes in three events and Schapp and Macaire Jones adding 25 points and also swimming on a relay. In addition to claiming the 100 breaststroke in record time, Katie King was fourth in the 200 breaststroke and eighth in the 400 IM. McVeigh was Eastern's top seed in three events and picked up fourth-place finishes in the 200 and 500 freestyle and a fifth in the 100 butterfly; Macaire Jones was fourth in the 50 freestyle, fifth in the 100 freestyle and ninth in the 100 butterfly, and Schapp third in the 100 backstroke in record time, fifth in the 200 backstroke and tenth in the 500 freestyle.
Seventeen of the 18 Eastern swimmers in the meet swam their fastest times in at least one event and contributed to the team's 39 fastest times in the meet. Recording fastest times in all three of their events were junior Vic San Pietro (Stratford), freshman Rachel Borden (Milford), Charlow, Colley, Katie King, McVeigh, O'Kelly and Schapp. Five Eastern swimmers in the 100 freestyle, and 100 and 200 breaststroke posted fastest times, as did four competitors in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly.
A total of 13 personal career bests were also established by swimmers who had swam the event prior to this year, with Arisco, San Pietro and Tromp producing two each.
The top two individuals in each event and first two relays are accorded All-LEC honors, with the top 12 individuals and all eight relays scoring points.
Katie King becomes the fourth different Eastern individual to win a gold medal at the meet, following Amy Arisco, Sarah Barber and Julie Motolo. Arisco won the 200 freestyle and 400 IM in 2010, Barber the 1,000 freestyle and 1,650 freestyle in 2005, and the 500 and 1,000 freestyle and 400 IM in 2004, and Motolo the 50 freestyle in 2004.
Eastern visits Bridgewater State University Saturday at 1 p.m.