Headlining the group is Kellie Pennington, who is the defending NCAA Champion in the women's 50 freestyle. The Monson, Mass. product is the three-time New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women's Swimmer of the Year and enters this year's competition ranked third in the 50 free (23.29) and second in the 100 free (50.76).
On the diving boards, both Jen Thompson and Kenny Pancoast are headed back to the national event. The duo was able to qualify after standout performances in the inaugural NCAA Regional Diving Championships on March 1-2. Thompson was the regional champion on both boards, while Pancoast was the runner-up in each event. Last year, Thompson was third on the one-meter and ninth on the three-meter, and Pancoast placed 11th on the three-meter and 22nd on the one-meter
Making their first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships in the pool are Michael Normoyle, Callie Phillips, Amanda Shaw, Kelsey Poole and Ashleigh Monroe.
Normoyle, this year's NEWMAC Men's Rookie of the Year, has had a terrific first year for the Pride. The Springfield, Mass. native enters the NCAA's ranked fifth in the 200 breast (2:02.20), which is the fastest time of any freshmen in the country. He will also race in the 100 breast, where he is seeded 10th with a time of 56.47. In addition, he will swim in the 200 IM, an event in which he broke the oldest standing record in program history during the conference championships, besting the old mark that was set in 1984.
In addition to Pennington, combinations of Poole, Phillips, Monroe, and Shaw will swim five different relays. The 400 free relay is seeded 14th (3:30.14) and 800 free relay ranks 16th (7:38.49). They will also compete in the 200 medley (1:47.36), the 400 medley relay, and the 200 free relay (1:36.77). Individually, Phillips will also race in the 200 IM and the 200 free.
For the the swimmers, it's been quite the layoff since their last competition, as they last raced at the NEWMAC Championships on February 15-17.