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Coaches Benvenuti & Beaulieu, Valerie Urban & Mary Erb Comment on Historic Week of Success at NCAA Championship

Coaches Benvenuti & Beaulieu, Valerie Urban & Mary Erb Comment on Historic Week of Success at NCAA Championship

SHENANDOAH, Texas.—The 2017 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships wrapped up Saturday night with a thrilling finish for Camel fans as first year swimmer Mary Erb of Readfield, Maine hoisted the College's seventh NCAA Crown.  Here is some post-Championship reaction from Connecticut College Coaches Marc Benvenuti and Connor Beaulieu.

Five Time NESCAC Coach of the Year Marc Benvenuti of Waterford, Conn.: 

Congratulations on your success this season Marc. What was the key to this team's terrific performance this year:

We have some great senior women who really brought everyone together and made it a full team effort.  This is a four-year journey - having Val (Urban) and Anna (Peterson) develop so much over time into leaders and competitors, finishing their careers as All-Americans is exactly what swimming on this team is all about.  

Practices were intense.  We raced and worked hard every day, but that brought them even closer together. 

This was a very coachable and adaptable team.  The more I challenged them, the better they responded.

Connecticut College Assistant Coach Connor Beaulieu: 

It has certainly been a whirlwind. The team is much bigger than I had coached in the past, and that comes with many more personalities, goals, and ways to go fast to learn. Having the level of engagement and motivation that our student athletes showed each day, as well as Coach Benvenuti's absolute want for each swimmer to achieve their goals gave me both the comfort to offer my ideas and the opportunity to learn from so many talented and smart people around me. This year exceeded all expectations, and with so many talented returners and a phenomenal incoming class, I cannot wait to build on this momentum.

Valerie Urban, Team Captain & Winthrop Scholar

Post Championship Comments:

I am so incredibly proud of what our team has been able to accomplish this season, and I couldn't ask for a better way to finish out my senior year. Coach pushed us to be our very best, and each and every woman did the work necessary to get there. We wouldn't have been able to perform as well as we did without coach and Connor to push us and guide us, but we also needed that unity as an overall team.

On maintaining a balance of time commitment between swimming and academics as a Winthrop Scholar:

Swimming has definitely been a huge time commitment, but academics have always been a priority to me. I think it's important to make the most of our education here so that our experience can hopefully lead to more opportunities in the future.

Mary Erb, NCAA Champion in 200 Yard Breaststroke

Mary, congrats on winning the program's seventh national crown. What was your mental approach going into tonight's championship final. Kate Kovenock had explained to me that Marc's technical approach to her swimming made a signficant impact on her performance. How has Coach Marc and Connor helped you make a seamless transition in the College ranks.

My mental approach was to stay relaxed and focus on my own race. In my prelims race I tried my hardest to calm my nerves and not look around while swimming, and it worked out well; so I decided to keep the same approach for my race at finals. I had my head down the entire time, and to be completely honest, I had no idea I was in the lead. 

My transition into college swimming was difficult at first. I nearly doubled the amount of yardage I had been doing and the sets were significantly harder than what I was used to. The encouragement I received from Coach and Connor is what ultimately made the transition seamless. They were so supportive every second of every practice, and I genuinely trusted them when they would remind me that everything I was doing in practice had a purpose. 

Once the conditioning part of the season was over, Coach and Connor started working with me on my technique. They had very specific things for me to focus on, and we worked on them during every practice from then forward. They paid attention to the fine details of my stroke, and changing numerous small things is what really made such a huge difference overall. 

Saturday Night's Release: 

Connecticut College first year swimmer Mary Erb of Readfield, Maine hoisted the program's seventh NCAA Crown in Shenandoah, Texas on the final night of the National Championship. Erb posted a time of 2:14.61 in the 200 yard breaststroke.

She joins her fellow stateswoman Kate Kovenock '05 as the women's swimming program's second NCAA Champion.  Kovenock posted a time of 23.32 seconds in the 50 yard freestyle to win Connecticut College's first NCAA Crown in March of 2004.  This is the first time a first year student athlete has won an NCAA Championship at Connecticut College. It's the third NCAA Championship for Head Men's and Swimming Coach Marc Benvenuti at the College. The Waterford native has instilled a sense of pride for the College and all of New London County. 

The Camel women set a program record, placing 10th with a score of 101 points. They were the second highest finishing team in the NESCAC at this week's Championship in the Lone Star State.

Senior Valerie Urban (Lancaster, Pa.) closed out her career with an All-American performance in the 1,650 yard freestyle tonight, placing eighth with a time of 17:01.34. In the 400 yard freestyle relay,  Julia Klier (Cohasset, Mass.), Olivia Haskell (Norwalk, Conn.), Juliette Lee (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) and Lily Gribbel (Pleasanton, Calif.) posted a time of  3:28 to finish 16th for the Camels. They earn Honorable Mention All-America accolades for Connecticut College. 

With their 12 points this week, the Connecticut College men finish in a tie for 37th place in the country with Gettysburg and Calvin.

Friday Night's Release:

Connecticut College senior Mike Fothergill (Medford, Mass.) posted a time of 49.43 seconds to finish 13th in the 100 yard backstroke at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship in Shenandoah, Texas Friday. Fothergill is recognized as on Honorable Mention All-American for the Camels. The Camel men are in 32nd place right now with a score of 12 points. 

The Connecticut College women's swimming team has scored 68 points in the first three nights of action to rank 12th in the country with one day to go. In the 800 yard freestyle relay, the Camel quartet comprised of sophomore Olivia Haskell (Norwalk, Conn.), Julia Klier (Cohasset, Mass.), Katie Hammond (Sea Girt, N.J.) and Valerie Urban (Lancaster, Pa.) posted a time of 7:34 to place 15th in the nation tonight. They are celebrating tonight in the Lone Star State as Honorable Mention All-Americans.  

In the first three nights of action, the Camels have turned in All-American swims in seven events. Including tonight's competition, 341 Connecticut College student athletes have now garnered All-America accolades in the program's decorated history in the NESCAC.

Thursday Night's Release:

The Connecticut College men's and women's 400 yard medley relay teams are both celebrating in the Lone Star State tonight after turning in All-American performances on the second night of the NCAA Championship. 

Sophomore Danielle Fergus (Pleasant Valley, N.Y.), first year swimmer Mary Erb (Readfield, Maine), senior Anna Peterson (Winnetka, Ill.) and sophomore Olivia Haskell (Norwalk, Conn.) posted a time of 3:47.07 to place sixth in the Championship Final.

Senior Mike Fothergill (Medford, Mass.) along with juniors Drake Freiberg (Glastonbury, Conn.), George Tilneac (New York, N.Y.) and AJ Pite (Orange, Conn.) finished 16th in the 400 yard yard medley relay with a time of 3:21.63 to earn Honorable Mention All-America honors for the Camels. 

In the 200 yard freestyle relay, Julia Klier (Cohasset, Mass.), Haskell, junior Juliette Lee (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) and Lily Gribbel (Pleasanton, Calif.) posted a time of 1:34.78 to place 14th tonight. They are all recognized as Honorable Mention All-Americans.

After two nights of action, the Camel women are sitting in 10th place with 64 points. Their highest score of 74 points was set at last year's Championship. With their eight points, Fothergill and the Camels have moved into a 33rd place tie with Linfield College. 

Wednesday Night's Release:

Five Connecticut College Camels garnered All-America accolades on the opening night of the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship in Shenandoah, Texas.

In the 200 yard medley relay, sophomore Maeve Wilber (New Marlborough, Mass.), Mary Erb (Readfield, Maine), Lily Gribbel (Pleasanton, Calif.) and sophomore All-American Olivia Haskell (Norwalk, Conn.) posted a time of 1:42.47 to place sixth in the Championship final. All four Camels are honored as All-American for placing among the top eight in the country. 

In the 500 yard freestyle, Connecticut College senior All-American and Winthrop Scholar Athlete Valerie Urban (Lancaster, Pa.) posted a time of 4:58.65 to place 14th, earning Honorable Mention All-America honors for the Camels.  Haskell garnered Honorable Mention All-America honors by placing 14th in the 50 yard freestyle with a time of 23.67 seconds for Connecticut College. is shooting this week's NCAA Championship for Connecticut College.