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Owl Swimmers Defend NEISDA Crown

KEENE, N.H., 2/16/10 - Keene State College men’s and women’s swim teams will look to defend their crowns when they compete this weekend (Fri.- Sun.) at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association (NEISDA) championships at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center in White River Junction, Vt.

The Owl women are going after their fourth-overall and third-consecutive championships, while the KSC men are hoping to make it back-to-back titles.

“Everyone has worked hard and raced really well this season, so I’m hoping our championship performances will be better than last year,” said KSC swim coach Jack Fabian.

The Keene women will be led by the senior trio of Kristine Trutor, Jackie Foster, and Alea Paddock. Trutor, who was named Swimmer of the Meet at last year’s championship, specializes in the backstroke, Foster shines in distance freestyle, and Paddock is a top competitor in breast stroke races.

Jillian Whitaker, a sophomore sprinter, and freshman phenom Kaila Umbarger will also be key factors in the Owls retaining their title. “The performance list came out on Monday, and we like where we’re at,” said Trutor. “This is my senior year, so I hope we can do it.” The chances of an Owls three-peat will be determined by their ability to overcome the depth of Bentley University. The Falcons, runner-up the past two years, also come into the meet with a 79-point lead after the diving events, which were held at Bentley last weekend. Despite being outnumbered 20-9 in competitors, Keene State defeated Bentley (156-141) in a head-to-head dual meet back on January 23.

“Going into the season, I wasn’t sure we could beat them,” said Foster. “But with our recent victory, we feel like nothing can stop us.”

The Keene State men have a formidable line-up that includes seniors Domingo Rose (breast stroke) and Cody Larrimore (sprints) as well as juniors Dan Morse (distance freestyle) and Connor Pennoyer (butterfly). Rose and Morse set meet records in the 50 breast (29.69) and 1,000 free (9:46.76), respectively, last year.

“We’re coming in as defending champs, so we’re really excited to get things going,” said Rose, who was named the Swimmer of the Meet at last year’s championship.

Like the women, the KSC men’s biggest challenge will also come from Bentley. The Owls beat the Falcons 154.5-126.5 in a dual meet earlier this season.

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