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Men's Swimming & Diving

CAC Championships: Gallaudet rallies past Hood to take 6th place, Bennett sets two more records

CAC Championships: Gallaudet rallies past Hood to take 6th place, Bennett sets two more records

ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. - The Gallaudet University men's swimming team needed to make up eight points entering the final day of the 2010 Capital Athletic Conference championships if the Bison wanted to upend Hood College for sixth place. The Bison did just that as they accumulated 47 points in four of the final six events on Sunday to finish with 169 points, three points ahead of Hood, on the campus of St. Mary's (Md.) College.

University of Mary Washington waltzed to its 10th straight championship, 16th overall, as the Eagles clobbered the competition with 984 points. The Eagles dominated Sunday's final six events as UMW won five and had several performances where they took the first two, three and even five spots in certain events. York (Pa.) College was second with 664 points while St. Mary's followed with 390 as the Seahawks edged Salisbury University by one point for third-place. Marymount (Va.) University was fifth with 293 points.

Sophomore Brian Bennett (Colorado Springs, Colo.) collected another two team records on Sunday and they both came in the same event. Bennett set the tone for the Bison in the evening's first event the 1,650-yard freestyle. He erased Raymond Clark from two more Gallaudet records as his time at the 1,000-yard mark of 10:18.38 bested Clark's 10:23.23 set in 2005. Bennett's final time in the 1,650-yard freestyle was nearly 12 seconds better than Clark's 17:17.02 set in 2003. Bennett finished in 17:05.39 breaking the seven-year-old record. For his efforts Bennett collected 14 team points for Gallaudet. Over the course of the three-day championship Bennett had a hand in five team records.

Gallaudet had seven swimmers, between the men's and women's teams, compete in a CAC championship finals evening for the first time in program history. Four of those swimmers were from the men's team and two of them competed in the same event. Junior Daniel DiDonna (Parsippany, N.J.) and senior Joseph Lopez (Riverside, Calif.) finished 14th and 15th, respectively, in the 200-yard breaststroke. DiDonna touched the wall in 2:38.86 while Lopez held off Hood's Thomas Williams by one second as he finished with a time of 2:52.12. For Lopez that was his last swim as a member of the Gallaudet program.

Junior Kris Lauderbaugh (Painesville, Ohio) finished 13th overall in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:27.54. UMW took the top two spots paced by junior Stephen Clendenin (1:52.39). In the 200-yard butterfly the Eagles swept the first five spots.

The final event of the evening featured the 400-yard freestyle relay. The sophomore team of Bennett, Kyle Sexton (Peoria, Ill.), Zsolt Plaszko (Budapest, Hungary) and Grady Gallagher (Las Vegas, Nev.) just barely missed a new school record with a time of 3:34.42. Last year, the Bison set a program record with a time of 3:34.25. Gallagher and Plaszko were on that record setting team along with DiDonna and Jimmy McGowan.

Clendenin was named the 2009-10 CAC Men's Swimmer of the Year for the second straight year. He also earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2007-08. UMW freshman Nick Eckhoff was named CAC Rookie of the Year while Eagle coach Matt Sellman repeated as Coach of the Year.

2010 CAC Swimming Championships