Villanova honors senior swimming and diving
VILLANOVA, Pa. — The regular season wrapped up Sunday afternoon for Villanova, honoring its senior class at the annual SprintFest.
Coach rick simpson and his team rented nine Wildcats during the festivities. On the women’s side, they thanked Kelly Montesi (Greenwich, Connecticut), Berloco Abbey (Cranbury, New Jersey), Nicole Welch (Beverly, Mass.), Grace Wielar (Richmond, Virginia), Andrea Holtz (Rosemount, Minnesota) and Elizabeth Bailey (Brookhaven, Georgia). For men it was Michael Ackert (Rye, NY), Jesse Marsh (Kingston, Jamaica) and sam fanatico (Plano, Texas).
“When they came out today, I felt like all I could do was thank them for their contribution to our program,” Simpson said. “I think we have a really good group that they’re not showing up here trying to figure out what they can get out of Villanova. They’re showing up to figure out what they can add, what they can contribute to the overall success of not only our program, but the university. So, yeah, it’s just great to have this type of group that, from day one, said, ‘Okay, what will my contribution be? What will my role be? Community service, academics, a team player, a team performer.’ This is the most important – thank you. Thank you for making this place a better place.
These nine swimmers helped Villanova win three consecutive BIG EAST women’s team titles and three consecutive top four finishes in the BIG EAST men’s championship with a second-place finish in 2021. At the BIG EAST championships, they combined for 15 individual titles, 17 relay titles and 47 All-BIG EAST performances. Ackert nabbed a BIG EAST Most Outstanding Diver nod in 2021 while Montesi won Most Outstanding Swimmer on the women’s side in 2019 and 2021.
Sunday’s SprintFest friendly match consisted of swimming events between Villanova and La Salle. The whole day ended with the traditional All-Sports Relay which brought together various teams from the Villanova family including water polo, tennis, volleyball and the swimming coaches themselves in a two-way competition sleeves.
The next event on the Wildcats schedule is the BIG EAST Championship. This five-day event begins February 23 in East Meadow, NY