Wildcats win 12 events and dominate Connecticut in season opener

STORRS, Connecticut—Graduate student Milly Routledge (North Ascot, United Kingdom) and senior Kelly montesi (Greenwich, Connecticut) each won three events and Villanova (1-0) swept the freestyle races in a 166.5-133.5 victory over Connecticut (2-1) in a women’s meet at Wolff-Zackin Natatorium on Saturday. afternoon. Four different swimmers won at least two individual events for the Wildcats in their opener of the season and Villanova crowned the win by taking first place in the 400 freestyle relay in the final event of the day.

Routledge was part of four of 12 events won by the Wildcats at the competition. She finished first in the 50, 100 and 200 yard freestyle races to accompany the anchor of the 400 freestyle relay. His winning times were 23.77 in the 50 freestyle, 51.82 in the 100 freestyle and 1: 52.51 in the 200 freestyle. Villanova swept the freestyle events as a senior Nicole welch (Beverly, Massachusetts) won both the 500 freestyle in 5: 06.12 and the 1000 freestyle with a time of 10: 31.99.

The combination of Routledge, Welch and senior Berloco Abbey (Cranbury, New Jersey) dominated the Wildcats as the line totaled 60 points in the individual freestyle events. They formed a 1-2-3 sweep in the 200 freestyle with Routledge hitting the wall first just ahead of Welch (1: 54.99) and Berloco (1: 55.17) coming in second and third respectively. Routledge and Berloco also finished 1-2 in the 50 free and 100 free. Berloco finished second in both races with times of 24.37 and 52.96, respectively.

Montesi won the 100 backstroke, the 200 backstroke and the 100 butterfly. Her first event of the day was the 100 backstroke she won in 56.11 and she finished first in the 200 backstroke (2: 00.24) and 100 butterfly (54.91) later in the competition. Montesi’s victory in the 100 backstroke gave Villanova the lead for good in a close encounter that unfolded in several of the first events played. The other two-time Wildcats winner was junior Kaitlin gravell (Ashton, Maryland) who hit the wall first in 200 chest (2: 21.59) and 200 IM (2: 07.54).

Graduate student Elizabeth bailey (Brookhaven, Georgia) won the 200 butterfly in his debut at Villanova. The transfer from California posted a winning time of 2: 05.32. The day’s final victory for the Wildcats was in the 400 freestyle relay in which a Berloco, junior roster Perri stahl (La Grange, Illinois), Montesi and Routledge finished first with a time of 3: 31.16. Villanova led just over a second at the halfway point before Montesi widened the lead to the Huskies to 3.5 seconds with a solid third leg. The Wildcats’ winning margin was 2.77 seconds at the finish line.

Saturday’s game was an engaging clash between the teams that finished first and second at the BIG EAST Championships last spring. Villanova won her eighth straight BIG EAST title and competed for the first time this season, while the meeting was the third in the 2021-22 campaign for Connecticut. It was the first head-to-head competition between the teams since the Huskies joined the BIG EAST conference last season.

Villanova will be back in action on Saturday, October 30 when the men’s and women’s teams will be in action in a double competition in Georgetown.

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