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1997 Swimming and Diving Season in Review

Hokies set school record for wins in a season.

June 3, 1998

There's an old saying that records are made to be broken, and the 1997-98 edition of the Virginia Tech men's and women's swimming and diving teams would certainly agree with that old adage. After all, the two teams both broke regular season marks for wins in a season and established 12 school records at the Atlantic 10 Championships.

Second-year head coach Chris Hansen began the season with the commitment of making Tech one of the premier programs in both the Atlantic 10 and in the NCAA. He finished the season with the women's team that finished second in the conference, just five points shy of the conference title and ended the season with a 12-1 dual-meet record, the most single season wins in school history.

The men's squad finished with a fifth-place finish in the A-10 Conference, one spot higher than last season. In addition, the Hokies recorded a 10-3 record in dual-meet action, also a school record for wins in a season.

In all, the Hokies received four awards from the Atlantic 10 Conference for their outstanding performances. Coach Hansen was named Atlantic 10 Women's Coach of the Year, while junior Jackie Davoud was named A-10 Women's Most Outstanding Diver. Freshman Lexie White was named A-10 Women's Rookie of the Year and freshman Steve Cromer garnered A-10 Men's Rookie of the Year honors.

Both teams looked strong in the first day of competition at the Atlantic 10 Championship meet in Buffalo as the Hokies crowned two event champions on the day. Davoud set a new A-10 record in the 3-meter dive with a score of 483.85, and White captured the women's 200 individual medley with a personal-best time of 2:06.32. Also, the women's 400 medley relay team of Jordan Huegerich, Lindsey Tew, Karen Most and Jessica Riston set a new Atlantic 10 record with a first-place time of 3:51.13, shattering an eight-year old Tech record by more than four seconds.

Freshman Ray Hrabe recorded the men's highest finish of the first day as the runner-up in the 200 IM with a senior national qualification time of 1:51.07.

Tech enjoyed another record-breaking outing on the second day of competition as White and Davoud each set Atlantic 10 records while Tew and Huegerich captured individual titles. After day two, the women held a seven-point lead over St. Bonaventure and the men remained in fifth place.

On day two, White set a new Atlantic 10 record in the women's 400 individual medley with a time of 4:26.76, breaking a nine-year old Tech school record by almost two seconds. The Hokies took a one-two finish in the event as Huegerich placed second with a career-best time of 4:27.97. Davoud set a new A-10 record in the women's 1-meter dive with a score of 439.05.

Tew tallied her first A-10 title with a new Tech school record in the women's 100 butterfly with a first-place time of 56.40, shattering a 16-year old school record. Huegerich captured the women's 100 backstroke with a career-best time of 58.43, the fourth-best time in Tech history. Most and Riston tied Tech school records in the 200 freestyle and 200 breaststroke, respectively. The foursome of Tew, Most, Meg Freese and Whitney Norton set a new Tech school record in the 800 freestyle relay with a time of 7:32.58.

For the men, Kurt Gavalier recorded a second-place finish in the 400 IM with a time of 3:58.90, the fifth-best time in school history. Senior captain Jonathan Wong added a second-place finish in the 100 butterfly. Ray Hrabe set a new school record with his time of 51.07 in the 100 backstroke.

On the final day of competition, the Bonnies edged Tech in one of the closest races in Atlantic 10 history. The Hokies held a one point lead going into the final event, but St. Bonaventure edged Tech in the women's 400 freestyle relay by a little more than a second to win the team title. The second-place Hokies finished just five points behind the Bonnies.

Huegerich continued her winning ways on day three, capturing the 200 backstroke in a time of 2:04.82. Cromer registered Tech's only victory on the men's side with a time of 15:44.37 in the men's 1650 freestyle. Riston broke her own school record in the 200 breaststroke with a third-place time of 2:20.71, while Hrabe broke a 10-year old school record with a second-place time of 1:48.99 in the men's 200 backstroke.

All in all, the Tech swimming and diving teams established 10 school records, tied two school records, crowned 12 Atlantic 10 champions and broke four Atlantic 10 Championship records in three days of competition at the 1998 A-10 Championships.

The Tech diving corps sent Davoud and Dana Nagle to the NCAA Zone B Diving Championship in Athens, Ga. Davoud made her third straight appearance at the championships and placed in both the one- and three-meter dives while Nagle also did as well.

The Hokies also excelled outside of the pool as seniors Kristi Neptun and Lindsay Della earned GTE Academic All-American honors. The duo also received Atlantic 10 All-Academic honors.

For the second straight year, coach Hansen saw much of the success come from his freshman classes this season. He has laid the foundation for both squads to do more than threaten the top spots of the conference, and this is to make the improvements to ensure that the Hokies are contenders in 1999.

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