JMU wins third straight swimming & diving CAA title

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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – James Madison swimming and diving won the 2020 Colonial Athletic Association Championship, on Saturday night, claiming its third consecutive and tenth CAA Championship title.

Credit: MGN

The Dukes were leading the pack heading into the Saturday night finals. James Madison started the momentum with a podium sweep in the 1650-yard freestyle event. Junior Julianna Jones claimed the gold, for the second consecutive year, with a season best time of 16:21.24. Junior Bailey Butler took silver with a time of 16:50.40, followed by senior Kristie Darmody in third (16:53.24). Sophomore Sidney Whitfield placed seventh overall in the 1650 freestyle.

Freshman Isabel Anbar placed second in the 200-yard backstroke with a season best time of 1:58.54. Morgan Whaley placed fourth in the event with a time of 1:59.01. Next up was the 100-yard freestyle and Bonnie Zhang took the block. Zhang claimed the silver with a time of 48.91, her fastest time this season.

JMU swimmer Mackenzie Lawson battled in the 200-yard breaststroke finals. Lawson placed sixth with a season best time of 2:17.08. Senior Hannah Lagod placed 11th in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:19.69. Lagod was not done yet and geared up for the 200-yard butterfly finals. She placed fifth with a season best time of 2:03.18.

The James Madison divers were next with the 1-meter finals. Emily Gross tied for the gold with a diver from North Carolina Wilmington. The two champions scored a 298.05. Senior Hope Byrum took the bronze with a score of 287.85. Faith Anderson placed fourth scoring 284.60 followed by Sarah Stim in fifth place scoring 281.75. All seven JMU divers that competed in the 1-meter had a NCAA Zone qualifying score.

The last event of the night was the 400-yard freestyle medley. The team of Megan Marsh, Zhang, MacKenzie Gring and Sydney Kirsch took the gold for the second consecutive year. The group finished with a time of 3:22.68 to claim the top of the podium.

>> Coach John Wolsh was named the 2020 CAA Diving Coach of the Year for the fourth consecutive year.
>>Senior diver Hope Byrum was named Most Outstanding Female Diver at the Meet for the third consecutive year.

JMU 716.5
William & Mary 626
Towson 557
Drexel 455
Delaware 399
UNCW 331.5
Northeastern 262

"Winning a championships is difficult and something we respect greatly," said Pedersen. "It's an honor to represent JMU and be able to bring back championship. I'm really happy for this group, especially the seniors who have given and provided so much to our program."

JMU divers that have scored qualifying NCAA Zone scores will compete in NCAA Zone A Diving Championships on Mar. 9-10 in Morgantown, W.Va. James Madison swimmers that have qualifying scores will compete in the NCAA Championships on Mar. 18-21 in Athens, Ga.