JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Two of the top teams in the Bluegrass Mountain Conference will be in the same pool on Saturday night at the Timken Aquatic Center in Gaffney, S.C. as the Carson-Newman swim team visits BMC rival Limestone for a 6 p.m. first dive.
Last season, the Eagles' women's team finished third at conference, while the Saints' women placed fifth. On the men's side, Limestone's team placed third, while the Carson-Newman squad finished sixth. This year's edition of each school's programs are currently ranked in the top-25.
The Saints have been represented at the previous two NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships and has three national championship-winning swims to their honor, while the Eagles appeared in their first NCAA meet last season.
Carson-Newman women's team enters the meet ranked 15th-nationally and the men's squad is 23rd in the nation; Limestone counters with a 15th-place ranking for the men and 23rd for the women.
"They've got a great coach and in addition to that, they are motivated like we are; they like to race. I think they are a strong program. We like to have the opportunity each year to race them," Coach Paige McCord said of the Limestone program.
The Saints already have a win over a BMC opponent as Limestone knocked off Catawba by a combined score of 262.5-195.5 on Oct. 17th.
Sophie Bosserhoff is a returning All-American for the women's team; Bosserhoff swims the Fly and Freestyle for the Saints. Senior Rachel Hickey was also an All-American on the same relay as Bosserhoff and Hickey picked up first-team All-BMC honors in the 200 Back with a fifth-place finish; Hickey swims middle distance, Individual Medley and Back.
On the men's side, Limestone's squad features a two-time 2015 first-team All-American Tobias Feigl who swims the Free and Breaststrokes. Feigl won the 2015 BMC Championship in the 50 Free and was named the BMC Swimming of the Week two weeks ago. Senior Kristofers Pone garnered All-BMC honors with a fifth-place finish in the 200 Breaststroke.
"It's going to come down to each event, each position. On the men's side, the freestyles and butterfly are pretty important, so is the I.M. and backstroke. On the women's side, the relays need to be spot on to really pick up some points there and the backstroke and breaststroke as well," McCord said. "Pretty much, that's every event. Every event, every stroke, every second really matters, but at the same time, both programs are keeping their eyes on the bigger picture, which is conference. This is a mid-season benchmark and I'm looking forward to the opportunity."
Carson-Newman has notched a win on the season at the University of the Cumberlands on Oct. 10th. Sophomores Margaret Stansberry (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Maggie Melhorn (Knoxville, Tenn.) each won four events against the Patriots to lead the women's side to a 174.5-87.5 win. All-American junior Sam Schechter (Knoxville, Tenn.) led the men's team with four wins as the Eagles knocked off the Cumberlands 182-71 victory.
Limestone knocked off C-N during the Eagles' inaugural season in Maddox Pool by a combined score of 296-218.
The Eagles and Saints start the meet at 6 p.m. on Saturday night in Gaffney with live results provided by the Limestone media relations department. A full recap and results will be available on cneagles.com after the meet.