Eagles lead after first day of BMC Championships

ROCK HILL, S.C. – The Carson-Newman men's swim team is leading the 18th-annual Bluegrass Mountain Conference Championships after the first day of the four-day meet with a team total of 185 and lead the top-ranked Queens (N.C.) Royals by seven points with freshman Jon Lancaster (Ringgold, Ga.) taking All-BMC honors in the 1000 Free and set a school record in the process.

The 17th-ranked women's team is in third but is trailing the top-ranked Royals by over 100 points. Both of the women's relay teams finished in the top-three to garner All-BMC honors.

"Both women's relays earning all-conference is fantastic. We had a great first night," coach Paige McCord said. "All the men stepping up in the 1000 Free was exactly what we needed. We will get faster each day. I'm very proud of the team."

On the men's side, the team opened the evening with a season-best time of 1:30.55 in the 200 Medley Relay; the relay team consisted of freshman Seth Hughes (Kingston, Tenn.), freshman Ryland Darling (Arlington, Tenn.), freshman Pijus Mackevicius (Kaunas, Lithuania) and junior Sam Schechter (Knoxville, Tenn.).

Lancaster finished third in the lone individual event of the night in the 1000 Free with a time of 9:29.48; the freshman obliterated his previous school record by over 20 seconds. Freshman Josh Winn (Round Rock, Texas) registered a ninth-place finish with a personal best time of 9:50.81, while fellow freshman Carson Knox (Plant City, Fla.) recorded a personal best time of 9:55.05.

The men rounded the night with the relay team of Lancaster, freshman Garrett Stelling (Eads, Tenn.), sophomore Ben McCrary (Wodobury, Tenn.) and junior Tommy Bourgeois (Kingsport, Tenn.) with a fifth-place finish in the 800 Free in a season-best time of 6:49.01.

On the women's side, the 200 Medley Relay consisting of Knseia Naydenova (Stary Oskol, Belgorod Oblast, Russia), sophomore Maggie Melhorn (Knoxville, Tenn.), freshman Elly Culp (West End, N.C.) and junior Samantha Starnes (Knoxville, Tenn.) took home All-BMC honors with a third-place finish. The relay registered a B-cut time of 1:43.95.

Sophomore Lexy Raybon led the Eagles' charge with a seventh-place showing in the 1000 Free with a season-best time of 10:19.77; Raybon finished seven seconds off her school record time. Junior Katie Zientarski (Boca Raton, Fla.) finished 16th with a time of 10:53.86 and freshman Eliza Petersen (Watkinsville, Ga.) placed 20th with a swim of 11:10.34.

The women capped the evening with a third-place finish, All-BMC plaudits and a school record with a time of 7:27.92 in the 800 Free Relay. The relay team was comprised of Melhorn, junior Nancy Claire Smith (Franklin, Tenn.), Raybon and sophomore Margaret Stansberry (Knoxville, Tenn.). The relay reset the school record by over three seconds.

The second day of the BMC Championships begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday morning with the prelims and the finals beginning at 6 p.m. from the Rock Hill Aquatic Center.  

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