Record-breaking swims lead Merchant Marine to Landmark Conference win
SCRANTON, Pa. -- Merchant Marine claimed its 15th consecutive league title and sixth Landmark Conference Championship in a row with a dominating performance throughout the weekend. The Mariners are the only team to win a Landmark Conference crown and took the top spot at this year's championships with a record 924 total points.
USMMA swept the hardware in 2013, earning coaching staff, swimmer, diver and rookie of the year awards. Kevin Lindgren was selected as the Landmark Conference Swimmer of the Year while freshman William Porter claimed Diver of the Year accolades. Jordan Cripe was tabbed as the league's Rookie of the Year after a strong first outing at the Landmark Conference Championships.
Merchant Marine may have saved its most impressive highlight for Sunday as Lindgren brought down the house with a record-breaking swim in the 200 backstroke. Lindgren posted a time of 1:46.70 to reestablish his own pool, meet, conference and Academy records. The time, easily eclipsing the NCAA "A" cut, was just 69 seconds off the NCAA record and is the second-fastest time in the nation this season, making Lindgren a contender at the national championships in more than a month.
The top of the podium of the 200 back was filled with KP blue as freshman Blair Roberts earned second-place with a time of 1:55.93. Blake Krell and Andrew Terselic gave USMMA four of the top five spots by coming in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Merchant Marine started the day with a victory from Cripe, who hit the wall in 16:22.45 in the 1,650 freestyle. He established a new meet standard and was less than two seconds off the current conference and Academy record. Case Kuikhoven earned sixth in the event with a time of 17:07.45 while Josh Sindorf also scored with a seventh-place finish. Terselic and Joshua McCormick also found their way into the top-16 to tally team points for the Mariners.
Chris Scott placed second in the 200 breaststroke as the senior clocked in at 2:09.49. Freshman William Kelsik also reached the final as he took eighth-place in the event.
Sean Minor and Alvaro Brice earned second and third, respectively, with times of 46.67 and 46.71 seconds in the 100 freestyle. Freshman Jamie Masterson topped the "B" final in his first Landmark Conference Championships for ninth-place overall with a time of 48.61 seconds.
Hunter Rowan and Bryce Kramer provided another silver and bronze showing for the Mariners in the 200 butterfly. Rowan touched at 1:57.53 to take second and Kramer hit the wall in 2:00.41 for third. Ben Gabbard earned seventh-place in the event as the trio accounted for 45 team points in just the one event.
The Mariners officially wrapped up their 2013 Landmark Conference Championship with another record-breaking performance, this time in the 400 freestyle relay. The team of Lindgren, Minor, Alvaro and Krell set new Academy and conference bests by finishing in 3:05.24, just .04 seconds away from adding another NCAA "B" cut to the Mariners weekend.