The Wheaton synchronized swimming team finished in a tie for fifth place at the U.S. Collegiate Championships at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion at Ohio State University. The team concluded the competition with their best finish since the 2001-02 season with 50.5 points to rank in the top ten for the 27th consecutive season at the national championships.
“I was very excited that we finished in 5th,” said senior three-time captain Janine Kopeski ’15. “That was our goal that we set out to get in the beginning of the season and I am so happy that we accomplished what we set out to do, especially it being my senior year.”
The Ohio State Buckeyes hosted the 2015 National Championships and claimed their 29th national title with 93.0 points. Linden University placed second with 89.0 points, Stanford University placed third with 79.5 points and the University of Incarnate Word finished in fourth with 64.0 points. The University of Florida finished in fifth tied with Wheaton.
On Day One of the National Championships the team competed in the solo, duet, and trio routine preliminary rounds. In the solo prelims, two-time All-American senior Kayla Moses ’15 earned a score of 78.6333 points and a fifth place spot heading into finals of the event. Kopeski ranked eighth in the event with a score of 75.9333 points. Moses and sophomore Emma Willing ’17 competed in the duet competition and their routine earned and eighth place finish with a score of 75.1333. Junior Ann Marie Brasacchio ’16 and senior Riley Callahan-Mayo ’15 came in 11th place by registering a score of 70.1000 points. Kopeski, Willing and freshman Andreina Rojas ’18 placed ninth overall in the trio routine prelims with a score of 74.4667 to conclude the first day of competition.
On day two, Moses finished 30th overall in A-figures with a score of 72.0347 points ahead of some of the top Division I synchronized swimmers in the nation. Willing finished fourth overall in B-figures with a score of 68.9459 points, ahead of 28 other competitors. Willing was one of eight to produce a score better than 68.0000 points. Rojas, Callahan-Mayo, Kopeski, and Brasacchio placed in the top-20 in C-figures. Rojas (64.5408) finished in third place while Callahan-Mayo (64.1704) placed fifth and Kopeski (62.2149) ranked 13th overall. Brasacchio finshed in 17th place overall with 61.5851 points. Sophomore Emmeli Gordon ’17 placed third overall in D-figures with a score of 60.5244. The team wrapped up the day with a score of 74.0500 points in the team routine prelims.
On the final day of the competition Wheaton finished with the 50.5 point score to place them fifth overall in the nation. The team earned a score of 75.350 points to place ninth overall in the team routine finals. Moses placed sixth overall in the solo routine with a score of 78.3333 points and then placed eighth in the duet finals with Willing earning a score of 73.7333 points.
“We worked hard all season and despite the challenges we faced in the semi-finals at nationals, we never gave up and made sure to give everything we had in our final swims during finals day,” said Kopeski.
This season the Lyons also claimed their 29th overall top-10 placement at the U.S. Collegiate National Championships in program history. This is head coach Rebecca Ercoli’s highest placement at nationals since she took over the program in the 2007-08 season. The 2014-15 season also resulted with the program’s first ever Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) championship. The team also earned their first East Regional title since 1991.
“As a senior, being able to contribute to such a strong finish was definitely a satisfying note to end on,” said Moses. “I always love seeing the competition from the rest of the country (especially teams like the Division I schools, who have swimmers from the US and international national teams, including at least one Olympian) because it motivates us to step up our game and unlock/unleash everything we’ve been working toward.”
Kopeski and Brasacchio earned U.S. Synchronized Swimming Collegiate All-Academic team honors this season for maintaining a 3.5 cumulative grade point average or better in the 2014-15 academic year. This is the third time they both earn All-Academic team honors. Next season, Brasacchio will have the opportunity to join an elite group of former Wheaton synchronized swimmers who earned All-Academic team accolades in all four years on the team.
“I am hopeful … that the team will continue to work hard and keep the title in the coming years,” said Moses.