Swim teams finish strong on first day of Sun Belt championships

Lucas Aulbach

The WKU men’s and women’s swimming teams got off to a good start at the Sun Belt Conference Championships Wednesday night.

The Toppers finished day one in first place with 119 points, while the women’s 72 points put them in second behind Denver.

On the first night of competition, the women’s team won the 200-yard medley relay in a performance which set new school and Sun Belt records.

The race included a 50-yard butterfly split by senior Claire Donahue which, at 22:95, is the fastest recorded in the country this year. The men’s team took second in the event.

In the 200 freestyle relay, the men finished in second place behind Denver. The women’s team finished third in the same event.

The diving teams also did well, with sophomore Jonathan Field winning the men’s 3-meter dive. He and junior Jim Ritter were also named as NCAA Zone Championship qualifiers. The zone championship is the precursor to the NCAA National Championships.

Head Coach Bruce Marchionda said he was pleased with the teams’ performances Wednesday, calling it a “great start.” The conference championships continue through Saturday.

“We’re going to use it as motivation over the next three days,” Marchionda said.