March 15, 1999
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Ten members of the University of Virginia women’s swimming team are scheduled to compete this week (March 18-20) in the NCAA Championships at the University of Georgia, in Athens, Ga. The Cavaliers are coming off their second consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference Championship and an undefeated (9-0 overall, 6-0 ACC) regular season.
Virginia, ranked 14th in the nation, hopes to improve on last year’s 18th place finish at the NCAA Championships. The Cavaliers established six ACC Meet records, five ACC records, seven school records and 10 pool records in winning the ACC Championship February 18-20 at the University of Maryland. UVa head coach Mark Bernardino was named the ACC Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year for the seventh time in his 21-year career at Virginia.
“Hopefully, we’re going to have a great performance at the NCAA Championships,” Bernardino said. “At the beginning of the season, we established the goal of finishing among the top 15 teams. Certainly we have performed like a top-15 team all season long. We had a wonderful conference meet and an outstanding dual meet season.
“My expectation and my feeling is this team is going to have a wonderful NCAA Championship Meet. Hopefully, we’ll reach our team goal of being a top-15 team at the end of the season. If we swim a little bit beyond our expectations, there’s every reason to believe we may move up a few more spots.”
Among the top performers for the Cavaliers are freshman Danica Wizniuk (Alberta, Canada) and junior Rebecca Cronk (Charlottesville, Va.). Wizniuk is ranked second in the 100-breaststroke (1:00.52) and third in the 200-breaststroke (2:11.82) entering this week’s NCAA Meet, while Cronk is ranked first in the 50-freestyle (22.52) and ninth in the 100-freestyle (49.49).
Wizniuk was honored as the Most Valuable Swimmer at the ACC Championships after establishing conference, meet, school and pool records while winning both the 100 (1:00.52) and 200-breaststroke (2:11.82) events. She also finished fifth in the 200-individual medley, and swam legs on Virginia’s victorious 400-medley relay and 200-medley relay teams. The 400 and 200-medley relay teams established conference, meet, school and pool records.
Cronk won both the 50 (22.53) and 100-freestyle (49.49) events at the ACC Championships. She established school and pool records in the 50-freestyle with a time of 22.52 seconds in the preliminaries, and established a meet record in the 100-freestyle. Cronk also swam a leg on the victorious 200-freestyle, 400-medley and 200-medley relay teams. The 200-freestyle relay team established meet and pool records.
In addition, UVa freshman Kate Slonaker (Summit, N.J.) is ranked ninth in the 100-breaststroke (1:01.90) and four of Virginia’s relay teams are ranked in the top ten entering the NCAA Meet. The Cavaliers 400-medley relay team of sophomore Megan Iffland (Wilmington, Del.), junior Meg McCubbins (Richmond, Va.), Wizniuk and Cronk is ranked fifth (3:39.28), and the 200-medley relay team of Iffland, Wizniuk, Cronk and junior Kori Forster (New Orleans, La.) is ranked sixth (1:40.69). Virginia’s 400-freestyle relay team of junior Emily Trakas (Herndon, Va.), freshman Megan Roesch (Columbia, Md.), Cronk and McCubbins is ranked ninth (3:20.09), and UVa’s 200-freestyle relay team of junior Julie Gehm (Richmond, Va.), Cronk, Iffland and McCubbins is ranked tenth (1:31.58).
Other individual winners for UVa at the conference meet were McCubbins in the 100-butterfly and junior Emily Carrig (Richmond, Va.) in the 500-freestyle.