COLLEGE PARK, Maryland – UNCW senior Michael Baric and William & Mary’s Will Manion both touched the wall in a time of 48 seconds to tie for first place in the men’s 100 Backstroke on Friday at the Colonial Athletic Association swimming and diving championships at the Eppely Recreation Center.

The Seahawks enter the final day of the meet trailing front-runner William & Mary, who overcame a 31-point deficit entering the session, by 26 points. On the women’s side, UNCW sits in fourth, 12.5 points behind William & Mary.

“We knew going into the meet that it was going to be a real challenge,” said Head Coach Dave Allen. “William & Mary has a very solid, deep men’s team. My hope was to go into the last day and be in a position to win the meet. I really feel that 26 points is not a lot, but we have to come tomorrow and be ready. We’re still in the meet and have an opportunity to win.”

In the 100 Backstroke, Baric, who tied the school record held by junior Valtteri Halonen, was joined by Halonen (48.30) and Eric Conrad (48.47) in the top five with fourth and fifth-place finishes, respectively. All three Seahawks posted NCAA B cut times in the event.

In the men’s 100 Butterfly, Halonen posted a NCAA B cut time of 48.04 to finish second while sophomore Zach Sowers (48.35) finished fourth and junior Ned Tyler (48.93) was seventh. Their times were fourth and sixth all-time on UNCW’s records list, respectively.

Junior Cat Gargula scored for the UNCW women with a fifth-place finish, clocking in at 54.67, good for second all-time on the women’s 100 Butterfly list.

Casie Boyle gave UNCW points in the women’s 400 IM with a sixth-place showing.

In the Men’s 200 Freestyle, senior Gabe Thran set a school record with a time of 1:37.48, but it was Alex Labonge who stole the show with a third-place finish with a time of 1:38.08, second all-time.

UNCW placed three in the top-eight of the 100 Breaststroke as Jenson Engen (1:01.62) was edged for second by .01 of a second. Freshman Kathryn Ostrum raced to a fifth-place finish with the third fastest time in UNCW history at 1:02.41. Christine Souther was seventh with a time of 1:02.86, fourth all-time.

Daniel Dozier earned the UNCW men points in the 100 Breaststroke with an eighth-place finish.

In the women’s 100 Backstroke, Hannah Stephenson, who set a meet record in the event earlier in the day, finished second with a NCAA B cut time of 54.29. Chelsea Tomko (55.87) finished seventh after a strong effort in the preliminaries advanced her to the finals.

In the Men’s 400 Medley Relay, the Tribe took first-place honors with a time of 3:14.12 to push its advantage going into the final day to 26 points.

UNCW’s 400 Medley Relay of Stephenson, Engen, Gargula and Rachel Sears finished fourth and set a program record with a time of 3:43.04.

“The guys have seven events tomorrow and the women have six. Our goal is to catch William & Mary’s men and win this thing. On the women’s side, we have our sights set on getting the 12 points we need and moving up to third. Both teams have a lot of work to do tomorrow.”

The meet concludes on Saturday with the preliminaries at 10 a.m. and the finals at 6 p.m.

Team Scores
Women: Towson 583, James Madison 494, William & Mary 303, UNCW 290.5, Delaware 240, Northeastern 235.5, Col. of Charleston 186, Drexel 151

Men: William & Mary 499.5, UNCW 473.5, Towson 348.5, Delaware 288, Drexel 269, Col. of Charleston 229.5