Seven members of the women’s swimming and diving team at the University of Rochester – six swimmers and one diver – will compete at the NCAA Division III National Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana from March 19-22.
This is Rochester’s largest group of NCAA swimming qualifiers in 20 years – since six women competed in the 1993-94 championships. Those six women scored 125 team points and Rochester finished eighth nationally. It is the best team finish in school history.
The six NCAA swimming competitors are junior Lauren Bailey (Ossining, NY/Ossining HS), sophomore Vicky Luan (South Surrey, Canada/Semiahmoo Seminary), senior Karen Meess (Hamburg, NY/Frontier HS), freshman Emily Simon (Olean, NY/Portville HS), freshman Khamai Simpson (Cutler Bay, FL/Coral Reef HS), and freshman Alex Veech (Binghamton, NY/Binghamton). The diver is freshman Danielle Neu (Hammondsport, NY/Bath Haverling HS).
Bailey, who was the Liberty League Women’s Swimmer of the Year for the second straight year (awarded in December), will compete in the 100 yard butterfly, the 200 yard butterfly, and swim on all three relays: the 200 yard medley relay, the 200 yard freestyle relay, and the 400 yard medley relay.
Luan, who was the 2012-13 Liberty League Rookie of the Year, will swim on all three relays – the 200 yard medley, relay, the 200 yard freestyle relay, and the 400 yard medley relay.
Meess will swim the 200 yard backstroke, and compete with the 200 yard medley relay and the 400 yard medley relay.
Simon and Simpson will swim on the 200 yard freestyle relay. Veech will compete in the 100 yard breaststroke, on the 200 yard medley relay, and the 400 yard medley relay.
Neu will compete on both the one-meter and three-meter diving boards. She already has a taste of NCAA competition. She earned her berth in Indianapolis after competing at the NCAA Regional Diving Meet at Rochester Institute of Technology on February 28 and March 1. She was one of seven divers selected from the meet at RIT.
Rochester has its first NCAA swimming competitors since the 2006-07 season. The relays are reaching a bit of a benchmark. These are the first women’s relay teams to compete at nationals since the 1994-95 season.
The top eight finishers in an event – either individual events or relays – are designated as All-Americans. Those who finish 9th through 16thare designated as Honorable Mention All-Americans.
In two of the seven swimming events, Rochester has a top-eight seeding. Bailey is seeded sixth in the 100 yard butterfly after her season’s best time of 0:55.83. The 200 yard medley relay is seeded sixth as well with a time of 1:44.46. The swimmers on that relay are (alphabetically) Bailey, Luan, Meess, and Veech.
The 200 yard freestyle relay is seeded 11th with a time of 1:35.20 (Bailey, Luan, Simon, Simpson). The 400 yard medley (Bailey, Luan, Meess, and Veech) is seeded 16th with a time of 3:50.50.
Veech is seeded 20th in the 100 yard breaststroke (1:04.91) and Meess is seeded 20th in the 200 yard backstroke (2:02.74).
Bailey and Luan will swim in the 50 yard freestyle and on the 400 freestyle relay with Simon and Simpson. Meess will also swim in the 100 yard backstroke. NCAA guidelines permit this because those swimmers were already selected for other events and they achieved a provisional qualifying time in the extra events.
The best finish by an individual Rochester women’s swimmer at nationals is third place. Irene “Patty” Rupp achieved that in the 1984-85 season (in the 100 yard backstroke) and in the 1985-86 season (in the 200 yard butterfly). She earned her bachelor’s degree in Molecular Genetics in 1987 and graduated with an M.D. from the University’s Medical School in 1991.
Rochester’s current NCAA contingent have challenging academic majors:
Bailey – Chemical Engineering
Luan – Film & Media Studies
Meess – Biomedical Engineering
Neu – Chemical Engineering
Simon – Biology
Simpson – Health, Behavior & Society
Veech – Psychology