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Underclassmen to key St. Bonaventure's Atlantic 10 women's swimming and diving championship hopes

Underclassmen to key St. Bonaventure's Atlantic 10 women's swimming and diving championship hopes

Feb. 18, 2003

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. - After finishing second to Richmond at last season's Atlantic 10 Championships, the St. Bonaventure women's swimming and diving team has one goal in mind entering this year's meet: a championship.

"Richmond is still the team to beat," said St. Bonaventure head coach Lance Brennan. "We want to beat Richmond, but we have to also worry about Fordham, Massachusetts and George Washington taking us out of second."

The Bonnies will rely heavily on underclassmen, including their eight freshmen, at the Feb. 20-22 meet. St. Bonaventure will host the championship for the ninth consecutive year at the Flickinger Aquatic Center in Buffalo, N.Y.

One of those first-year swimmers, Paige Crimmin, is among the favorites in the 50, 100 and 200-yard freestyles. She also will compete in the 100 backstroke. Freshman Elise Gaillard enters the championship with the A-10's best time this season in the 100 breaststroke and the second best time in the 200 breaststroke.

Sophomore Aime Gingras is among top three in the A-10 in the 1,650 freestyle. Sophomore Ayse Diker, who participated in the 2000 Olympics for Turkey, joined the Bonnies two months ago and could score points. She will compete in the butterfly races.

Veteran leadership will come from juniors Karyn Schachinger and Maureen Theis, who both competed strongly at the Championships last year. Schachinger finished 15th in the 100 breaststroke and was on the 200 free relay which placed fourth. Theis is the only Bona diver with experience at A-10s. In 2002, she finished fifth in the one-meter competition and seventh in the three-meter. She should compete for the titles on both boards.

Freshmen Jackie Babich and Stephanie Karnas join Theis among the contenders in both diving events.

Junior Mary Roth will be expected to lead the Bonnies as well. Last year at St. Francis (Pa.), Roth was the Northeast Conference runner-up in the 200 and 400 individual medleys. "Everything relies on the girls at this point," Brennan said. "If they go in nervous and self-doubting, it could be a long meet. At a time like this, it is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. They are physically ready, but if the mind decides it isn't ready the body won't go."