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JMU women’s swimming & diving claims fourth straight CAA title

The James Madison women’s swimming & diving team claimed its fourth straight CAA title...
The James Madison women’s swimming & diving team claimed its fourth straight CAA title Wednesday night.(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 12:00 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The James Madison women’s swimming & diving team claimed its fourth straight CAA title Wednesday night at the Christiansburg Athletic Center in Christiansburg, Virginia.

JMU scored 829 points as a team, the highest total at the CAA Championship since 2014, according to a press release from the CAA.

Press Release from JMU Athletics - Wednesday, March 31

James Madison swimming & diving claims its fourth consecutive Colonial Athletic Association Swimming & Diving Championship title, on Wednesday night, making school history and becoming the third program in the league’s history to accomplish the feat.

Head Coach Dane Pedersen was named CAA Co-Coach of the Year, earning the honor for the fourth time in his career at JMU. Madison Cottrell was named the Most Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet after capturing two gold medals and three silver medals at the championships.

”Proud doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about this team,” said Pedersen.  “I am so happy and thrilled for them. We all understand the challenges of this season with the pandemic and have faced it in our own ways. These girls have done everything the coaches and sports medicine staff have asked of them and in doing so, they accomplish something that’s never been accomplished in our program’s history: four championships in a row.”

The finals started with the 1650-yard freestyle event, where Julianna Jones captured her third consecutive gold in the event finishing with a time of 16:39.17 recording the third fastest time in JMU’s history. Bailey Butler finished with a time of 16:50.47 to capture the silver for the second year in a row. Sidney Whitfield placed eight with a time of 17:17.52 while Jill Santiago placed 13th with a time of 17:42.53.

Cottrell claimed her second gold medal of the championships winning the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:57.10, setting a new program record in the event. Lauren Aylmer recorded a time of 1:59.25 to claim the bronze recording the seventh fastest time in JMU’s history. Alaina Park finished sixth with a time of 2:01.18, while Emily Drakopoulos finished first in the consolation finals with a time of 2:01.32 to place ninth overall.

In the 100-yard freestyle finals, Paige Assaid placed sixth with a time of 50.75 followed by Jordyn Schnell in seventh with a time of 50.96. Karen Siddoway fought to the finish in the consolation finals to record a time of 50.83 finishing ninth overall. Mackenzie Lawson captured her second medal in a breaststroke event, placing third in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:16.09, the Dukes’ fifth fast time ever. Devan Taylor had a late push in the consolation finals to claim the top spot with a time of 2:20.48 finishing ninth overall.

Morgan Whaley was the lone Duke in the 200-yard butterfly finals. She finished second with a time of 2:00.29, JMU’s third fastest time in the event. Sarah Gaudet finished tenth overall with a time of 2:04.71.For the third consecutive year, JMU finished the CAA Championships with a gold medal in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The team of Assaid, Siddoway, Gring and Schnell finished the event with a time of 3:21.72 to close out the championships.

”This senior class will leave JMU having done something that’s never been done - win four CAA titles,” continued Pedersen. “While it may be repeated, they will always carry that distinction of being the first and I couldn’t be happier for them. They’ve been amazing and have created a culture not based on winning, but on family.”

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