COBLESKILL, N.Y. – The second of the three days of the North Eastern Athletic Conference swimming and diving championships hosted by SUNY Cobleskill are in the books and the Gallaudet University women’s team sits in fourth place with 187 team points. Wells College, the defending champions, are in first place with 369 points, followed by Cazenovia College (329), College of Saint Elizabeth (228), Gallaudet and SUNY Cobleskill (170).
Sophomore Alexandra Polivanchuk (Orebro, Sweden) won her second event of the championships as she finished first in the 100-yard butterfly when she touched the wall in 1:03.79. Junior Valerie Farr (Fremont, Calif.) and junior Katie Giles (Gaithersburg, Md.) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 100 breaststroke with times of 1:21.49 and 1:21.52.
GU’s 200 medley relay of Brianna Stroud-Williams (Tucker, Ga.), Farr, Polivanchuk and Giles finished third with a time of 2:09.29.
The moment of the night may have been during the women’s 400 IM when Gallaudet junior Lisa van der Mark (Mijnsheerenland, The Netherlands) swam by herself in the second heat. Van der Mark, who is deaf and legally blind, has Ushers Syndrome, which is a rare genetic disorder that is a leading cause of deaf blindness due to a mutation of any of 10 genes. This is an incurable disease. Last season, she was honored with the NEAC’s Inspirational Award. She drew a large cheering section as all of the swimmers and coaches at the championships lined the pool and cheered on van der Mark as she finished with a time of 7:22.39. To cap the moment off, all of the swimmers broke out signing and singing her happy birthday.
The final six events will take place Sunday with preliminaries at 10 a.m. and the finals at 5 p.m. The Bison will try and rely on their depth to secure valuable team points down the stretch. The events consist of 1,650 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly and 400 freestyle relay.