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WORCESTER, Mass. – The Merrimack College women’s swimming team posted a strong two-day performance at the WPI Gompei Invitational in Worcester, Massachusetts, as freshmen Maeve McGowan (Mansfield, Mass.) and Samantha Towle (Chalfont, Pa.) combined to advance to the finals in eight individual events. Eight swimmers competed in the invitational, while six swimmers posted multiple personal records over the weekend.

What They Said
Head Coach Erin Cammann: “It was great to get to race against many of the other teams in the NE-10. This was a prelims/finals meet, like NE-10s, and it was especially rewarding to see Sam Towle and Maeve McGowan both making it back to swim at night.

This was also the first time the team had a chance to race rested. They’ll have a full taper for NE-10 champs in February, but we had a light training week last week so we could take stock of where we were at this point in the season. The entire team had some season-best times, so we know we are heading in the right direction. And as a coach, I have a better sense of some of the work we still need to do. We have six more weeks of heavy training, and we plan to put them to good use.”

The Basics
Top Performers: Maeve McGowan
 (Finals | 14th – 50 backstroke, 17th – 100 IM, 20th – 100 backstroke, 22nd – 50 freestyle, 23rd – 200 backstroke), Samantha Towle (Finals | 13th – 100 IM, 19th – 100 freestyle, 28th – 200 freestyle) 
Team Score:
 11th (111)
 Worcester Polytechnic Institute | Worcester, Mass.

How It Happened
McGowan advanced to the finals in five individual events over the weekend, as she placed 14th overall in the 50-yard backstroke (career-best time of 29.81), 17th in the 100-yard individual medley (career-best time of 1:05.53), 20th in the 100-yard backstroke (1:04.74), 22nd in the 50-yard freestyle (career-best time of 26.11) and 23rd in the 200-yard backstroke (career-best time of 2:16.50). The time of 2:16.50 in the 200-yard backstroke was actually the 21st-best time in the finals and the time of 1:04.74 in the 100-yard backstroke was the 24th-best time, but because of the grouping system, McGowan ranked 23rd and 20th, respectively, in the two events.

In the preliminaries, the Mansfield, Massachusetts, native placed 14th overall in the 50-yard backstroke (29.93) and 20th in the 100-yard backstroke (career-best time of 1:03.67) on Sunday.

Towle excelled over the two days, as she advanced to the finals in three individual events. The Chalfont, Pennsylvania, native finished 13th overall in the finals of the 100-yard individual medley, as she posted a career-best time of 1:05.02. The mark was good for the 12th-best time in the finals but she was ranked No. 13 because of the grouping system. In the finals on Sunday, she placed 19th overall in the 100-yard freestyle (56.15) and 28th in the 200-yard freestyle (2:05.04). The mark in the 100-yard freestyle was good for the 18th-best time in the finals, as she swam faster than one competitor in Group A.

Towle also performed sensationally in the preliminaries on Sunday, as she finished 17th overall with a personal-best time of 55.80 in the 100-yard freestyle. She also tallied a 28th-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle with a career-best time of 2:04.44.

Sophomore Ireland Wilson (Niantic, Conn.) continued to swim with a purpose on Sunday, as she posted a career-best time of 37.52 in the 50-yard breaststroke. Additionally, she competed in the 200-yard breaststroke for the first time in her collegiate career and tallied a time of 2:54.73.

Sophomore captain Kendra Van Pelt (Burlington, Iowa) posted a career-best time of 36.30 in the 50-yard backstroke and a season-best time of 2:18.06 in the 200-yard freestyle. The Burlington, Iowa, native also posted a time of 1:05.82 in the 100-yard freestyle.

Junior Sydney Frerichs (Andover, Mass.) competed in the 50-yard backstroke for the first time in her collegiate career, as she posted a time of 35.36. She also tallied a time of 1:16.28 in the 100-yard backstroke.

Sophomore Alana Appel (Salt Lake City, Utah) concluded the weekend in style, by posting a pair of career-best times in the 100-yard freestyle (1:06.73) and the 200-yard freestyle (2:22.03). The Salt Lake City, Utah, native additionally posted a time of 43.46 in the 50-yard breaststroke.

Junior Coral Robinson (Methuen, Mass.) competed in the 100-yard freestyle for the first time in her collegiate career, as she posted a time of 1:21.31. The Methuen, Massachusetts, native recorded a time of 42.51 in the 50-yard backstroke. Sophomore Genesis Garcia (Lawrence, Mass.) posted a season-best time of 1:16.10 in the 100-yard freestyle.

McGowan, Wilson, Van Pelt and Towle worked together to finish sixth overall in the preliminaries of the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:55.71) and 26th in the finals of the 200-yard medley relay (2:03.50), which trimmed 2.30 seconds off the group’s performance earlier this season at Saint Michael’s.

Up Next
The Warriors will compete in a double-dual meet against Bentley University and Pace University on Saturday, Jan. 9.

Mike McMahon is in his 13th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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