CHARLOTTE, N.C. – One day is in the books at the Bluegrass Mountain Conference Championships in Charlotte, N.C. and the Carson-Newman swim team is off to a strong start, with Robert Griswold (Freehold, N.J.) breaking an American national record and the Eagles setting a new program best in the men's 200 medley relay on Wednesday.
Through six events, the men are in second place, just 22 points behind the top ranked team in the nation, the Queens (N.C.) Royals, and 15 points ahead of 10th ranked Wingate. The women, who are regarded as the 22nd best team in the nation according to the College Swim Coaches Association of America, have put themselves in third behind the Royals and the Bulldogs, respectively.
"Overall, I'm really pleased with the first day of the biggest meet of the season," swim coach Jordan Taylor said. "We seemed nervous and apprehensive early on, but we stepped up and raced really well. The first two races kicked it off."
During Wednesday's time trails, Griswold posted a time of 26.27 in the 50 fly and 58.03 in the 100 fly. Both of these marks topped the previous American records of 29.69 in the 50 fly and 1:01.81 in the 100 fly.
The group competitions began later that evening and C-N's night started with the women's 200 medley relay and the team of Ksenia Naydenova (Stary Oskol, Belgorod Oblast, Russia), Maggie Melhorn (Knoxville, Tenn.), Elly Culp (West End, N.C.) and Lisa Postma (Leiden, Holland) put up a time of 1.43.99, less than a second off the school record and also good enough for a third place finish.
The men did one better in their 200 medley relay, not only by finishing second, but also by breaking the previous school record. The group of Seth Hughes (Kingston, Tenn.), Andrei Roman (Medias, Romania), Pijus MacKevicius (Kaunas, Lithuania) and Sam Schechter (Knoxville, Tenn.) clocked in at 1:28.81, exactly a full second ahead of the best time logged by an Eagles quartet entering Wednesday.
C-N finished the night with strong showings in the women's and men's 1000 free and the women's and men's 800 free relays, putting themselves in position to continue battling for the meet's top spot during the next three days.
"I'm really positive about [Thursday]," Taylor said. "The first day is always nerve racking, now we've got the ball rolling. I'm looking forward to some really fast pre-lims that should set us up for tomorrow."
The BMC Championships continue on Thursday and will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and Watch ESPN, as will each day of the competition. A recap and results will be published on cneagles.com.