Keene State took the LEC championship by storm

Keene State’s swim and dive team had a victorious performance at their three-day Little East Conference (LEC) Championship meet. The meet took place from Sunday, Feb. 20 to Tuesday, Feb. 22 at the Boston Sports Institute. This competition is the first time the Little East Conference sponsored a swimming championship for men.

Sunday night brought strong performances from the Owls. The evening started off with sophomore Kiley Young, sophomore Jillian O’Neil, first-year Gina Nunziata and junior Jaelin Jang teaming up to win the 200 freestyle relay event in 1:40.50. The Owls took three of the top four places in the 500 freestyle event, as sophomore Alice Loucraft placed first with a time of 5:12.98, junior Emily Rogers placed third with a time of 5:37.28 and junior Laura Chaffee placed fourth with a time of 5:40.35. Jang also added a win to her belt in the 100 butterfly event, finishing in 1:00.63. Senior Paige Carey was also victorious, finishing the 50 breaststroke event in 30.41. Young won the 200 backstroke event with a time of 2:09.07. Loucraft won the 200 individual medley, with an eight second lead, finishing in 2:10.69. The evening ended with another Owl win, this one in the 400 medley relay as Young, Carey, Jang and Loucraft swam to victory in 4:04.28. The Owls totaled up 313 points on the first night of competition, cruising ahead of second-place Bridgewater State by 66 points.  

The men also dominated the 200 freestyle relay, with first-year Aaron Turgeon, sophomore Jeremy Bartley, senior Tomas Langland and senior Tyler Young winning in 1:28.04.

First-year Aidan Urnezis won the 500 freestyle event in 4:50.94. Tyler Young captured an individual win in the 100 butterfly event, touching the wall in 52.46 to nip Christopher Anastasiades of Bridgewater State by .19 seconds. Senior Andrew Daur picked up points in the 200 backstroke event, winning by .17 seconds with a time of 2:04.10. The Owl men are in second place after day one, picking up 319 points to trail Bridgewater State by two points. 

The Owls came back on Monday night with charisma. The Owls picked up a win in the first event of the day, as Kiley Young, Carey, Jang and Loucraft captured the 200 medley relay in 1:51.32. Kiley Young also won the 400 individual medley in 4:38.20, and the 100 backstroke event in 59.90. Carey won the 100 breaststroke event in 1:07.93. The lady Owls closed out the evening with a dominating performance in the 800 freestyle relay, finishing the event in 8:16.17, winning by more than six seconds over Eastern Connecticut State. The Owls increased their lead after day two of the championships, racking up 579 points. Eastern Connecticut State came second with 508 points, and Bridgewater State, which was second after the first day of competition, was now third with 478 points.

Tyler Young won the 400 IM in 4:16.39, posting a near 10 second victory over Joe Sylvester of Eastern Connecticut State. Turgeon won the 200 freestyle event in 1:45.82. Urnezis won the 1,000 freestyle event, finishing with a time of 10:04.85. The evening ended with a win in the 800 freestyle relay, as Turgeon, Urnezis, Tyler Young and senior Quint Kimmel swam to victory in 7:15.09. The Owls stayed close behind Bridgewater State heading into the final day of the championships. The Bears lead with 640 points, while the Owls were in second place with 612 points.

Tuesday night saw the Owls fighting for the win. Sophomore Emily Rogers dominated the 1,650 meter race, finishing in 19:00.43, nearly a 10 second win over Eastern Connecticut’s Kerry Buchanan. Jang captured the 200 butterfly event in 2:17.76. Loucraft won the 100 individual medley in 59.77. Kiley Young, Carey, Jang and Loucraft teamed up for a win in the 400 freestyle relay, finishing in a meet record 3:39.45. Keene State’s 2013 relay team had set the mark at 3:39.56. 

The Owl men captured the top three places in the 1,650 meter race. Urnezis took first place with a time of 16:57.31, Kimmel came in second with a time of 17:31.41 and first-year Samuel Galipeau came in third with a time of 17:51.25. Turgeon came second in the 100 freestyle event, in 48.22, just .16 seconds away from first place. Turgeon also came in second in the 100 individual medley with a time of  56.30. Bartley came second in the 50 backstroke event, finishing in 25.93, a mere .32 seconds behind the winner. Bartley, Tyler Young, Turgeon and Kimmel comprised the 400 free relay team that came in second with a time of 3:15.04.

The women’s team, with 855 points, was well ahead of second place Bridgewater State, who finished with 719 points. For the 18th time in school history, Keene State College came out on top in women’s swimming and diving in the Little East Conference. 

The Keene State men’s team finished second with 858 points, just behind winners Bridgewater State, who won the championship with 945 points.


Piper Pavelich can be contacted


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