Black Knights Set For PL Championships

Head Coach Mickey Wender

Head Coach Mickey Wender

Feb. 15, 2012

WEST POINT, N.Y. - After a nearly three-week hiatus, the Army swimming and diving teams return to action this weekend (Feb. 16-18) when the Black Knights travel to Annapolis, Md., to compete at the 2012 Patriot League Swimming and Diving Championships.

The three-day event will be contested inside Lejeune Hall on the campus of the United States Naval Academy. Trials all three days begin at 10:30 a.m., while the finals will start at 6 p.m.

Tickets for the championships are on sale now through the Navy Ticket Office. All-session passes are being offered for $35, while individual trials session ($8) and individual finals ($10) tickets are also available. College students who present a valid student identification card upon entrance to Lejeune Hall will be admitted for free. Tickets are available in advance of the meet by calling 1-800-874-6289.

Fans that are planning on attending the championships are encouraged to park at Navy's football stadium ($5 per car) and ride the free shuttle bus to and from Lejeune Hall.

All nine sessions (including the three mid-afternoon diving trials) will be video streamed live online via Patriot League All-Access. Those fans that are already subscribed to ITT Exelis Knight Vision will also be able to access the video streamed broadcasts. Live results will also be posted online at the Patriot League's official web site (www.patriotleague.org).

The Army men (12-3, 4-2 PL) finished their third straight 12-win campaign two weeks ago with a sweep of conference rivals Colgate and Lafayette. The Black Knights enter this weekend's Patriot League Championships with great confidence after placing runner-up at the conference meet last season.

The Army women (6-9-1, 3-3 PL) authored their second six-win season in a row, and are intent on improving on last year's fifth-place finish at the Patriot League Championships.

The Colgate women are seeking their second straight league title and third crown in the last four years, while the Navy men aim for their ninth consecutive conference championship.

"The preparations for this year's championships have been great," said sixth-year head coach Mickey Wender. "Having had our mid-season experience in Akron (competing at the Zippy Invitational) has given the team a deeper understanding of what they need to do in order to be ready for a three-day meet. I think they're a little bit more evolved and a little bit more mature in their approach. They're focused, they're very business-like in their approach and they're ready. I am very excited and very confident."

The Army men return a pair of athletes who were named to the All-Patriot League first team following last season's championships. Junior Chris Nguyen, last season's Diver of the Meet, collected first-team accolades after shattering the Academy records off both boards. Nguyen has dominated the boards this season as well, having taken home six Patriot League Diver of the Week awards.

Nguyen has been challenged on the boards this year by freshman Zachary Woods, who broke the plebe record off the one-meter earlier this season.

Junior Ayman Andrews earned first-team honors last season by virtue of winning the 100-yard butterfly at the conference meet. The talented third-year swimmer has picked up right where he left off last year, having forged the Black Knights' top times in the 100 fly, 200 fly and 200 IM.

Freshman Will Viana has emerged as one of Army's most versatile swimmers this season, having authored the Black Knights' fastest times in the 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard backstroke and 400-yard individual medley. He shattered the Academy record in the 200 back earlier this season.

Fellow freshman Casey Woudenberg has established himself as Army's best distance freestyle specialist after recording the Black Knights' best times in the 500 free, 1,000 free and 1,650 free.

Junior Dan Foky, meanwhile, enters the championships as Army's most accomplished freestyle sprinter, having posted the Black Knights' fastest times in the 50 free and 100 free.

Sophomore Kenny Yacynych owns Army's best times in the 50 free and 100 free, while sophomore Ben Quay boasts the Black Knights' fastest times in the 100 breast and 200 breast.

Senior Paige Brink, who already owns four individual school records and has a hand in five relay marks, will look to cap her career in style at this weekend's Patriot League Championships. The versatile swimmer is in the midst of an outstanding final campaign, having authored Army's fastest times in the 200 free, 200 fly and 200 IM.

Junior Alyssa Tran, who was tabbed to the All-Patriot League second team last year, has turned in a solid third season at West Point. The talented swimmer has recorded Army's top times in the 50 free and 100 fly.

Freshman Keeli McNeary burst onto the scene as Army's top backstroker, having authored the Black Knights' fastest times in the 50 back, 100 back and 200 back. Fellow freshman Sam Allen has registered Army's best times in the 100 breast and 200 breast.

Freshman Audrey Brown, meanwhile, has recorded Army's fastest times in the 1,000 free, 1,650 free and 400 IM.

Sophomore diver Rita Snyder, who earned All-Patriot League second-team honors last season, is looking to improve on her 2011 performance. She will be joined by fellow sophomore Danielle Ullman and freshman Maggie Churchill. All three have excelled off the boards this season.

Following this weekend's action, Army will send several athletes to the ECAC Championships (Feb. 24-26), which will also be hosted by Navy.

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