Six members of the Middlebury College men's and women's swimming and diving teams will compete in the 2018 NCAA Championships from March 21-24. The event is taking place at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis, Indiana, with Franklin College and the Indiana Sports Corporation serving as the hosts.
The Panther women will send five athletes to the Hoosier State. Individually, sophomore Maya Gomez (Madison, Wis.) will compete in the 100 breaststroke and 200 breaststroke events as well as the 50 freestyle. Classmate Frances VanderMeer (Elmira, N.Y.) will swim in the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle.
Gomez, the school record holder in the 100 breaststroke, is seeded seventh with her time of 1:02.92, which she swam in the morning preliminary swim at the NESCAC Championship. She finished second in the evening's final. In the same meet, Gomez earned her spot in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:21.10 and will enter the championship as the No. 22 seed. She will also compete in the 50 freestyle with a time of 25.21.
VandeerMeer set the school record in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.51 during the conference championship to finish second. She is in a three-way tie for the No. 11 seed, as just 0.53 seconds separate the top-13 seeds in the event. VanderMeer will also compete in the 100 freestyle with a time of 51.70 established during the conference meet She finished in the runner-up spot in both events during the NESCAC event. VanderMeer will take part in the 100 butterfly with a mark of 57.03, set while winning the consolation final at the league's event.
The Panthers will battle for a national title in three relay events. Gomez and VanderMeer will team with senior Stephanie Andrews (Pittsford, N.Y.) and rookie Erin Kelly (Kirkwood, Mo.) in the 200 freestyle relay, while Gomez, VanderMeer, Andrews and senior Sarah Bartholomae (Dover, Mass.) are set to compete in the 200 medley relay. Gomez, VanderMeer, Andrews and Kelly will also take part in the 400 freestyle relay. With the team establishing the qualifying marks during the NESCAC meet back in mid-February, the Panther women will enter the 200 freestyle relay as the 14th seed in 1:34.75. The 200 medley is 22nd with a time of 1:44.87, while the 400 freestyle relay is the 28th seed in 3:31.78.
On the men's side, sophomore diver Mike Chirico (Dover, Mass.) will compete in both the 1-meter and 3-meter events for the Panthers. During the NCAA Diving Regionals hosted by Middlebury, Chirico capped off the event with a fifth-place finish out of 20 entrants in the 3-meter event, posting a total of 456.45 points during his 11 dives. The previous day, he was eighth overall in the field of 23 participants on the 1-meter board with a score of 453.15 points. Chirico finished second on the 1-meter board (468.10 points) and third in the 3-meter event (447.90 points) during the NESCAC Championships.
The four-day meet is scheduled to begin Wednesday, March 21 with preliminary swims starting at 10:00 a.m. with finals each night at 6:00 p.m.