As the Northeast Conference (NEC) Championships approach, the Howard University men's and women's swimming and diving teams are preparing to make a splash in the five-day event taking place at Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
The NEC Championships feature nine institutions, including Howard, Central Connecticut State, LIU, Merrimack, Sacred Heart, St. Francis-Brooklyn, Saint Francis (Pa.), Stonehill, and Wagner. In the preseason poll, LIU and HU were projected to finish first and second, respectively, in the men's division. Howard had previously defeated LIU in a tri-meet back in November 2022, and the team is looking to take the next step and win their first NEC title. On the women's side, CCSU was predicted to win the title, while Howard was picked fifth overall. The Bison women are looking to prove the doubters wrong and make a championship run.
Howard has several standout athletes to watch entering championship week. Senior Mark-Anthony Beckles from Chaguanas, Trinidad & Tobago has impressive times in the 50 Free, 100 Free, 50 Fly, and 100 Fly, while freshman Taj Benton from Baltimore has the third-best time in the league in the 200 Fly. Senior Courtney Connolly from White Lake, Michigan, has the third-best time in the NEC in the 100 Fly, and junior Isabella Fountain from White Plains, New York, has the third-best time in the league in the 50 Free. Senior Miles Simon from Atlanta has the NEC-best times in the 50 Free, 100 Free, 50 Back, 100 Back, 50 Fly, 100 Fly, and 100 IM, and the second-best time in the league in the 200 IM. Junior Michaela Spears from Chicago has the third-best time in the league in the 100 IM and the second-best time in the conference in the 200 IM. Senior Luke-Kennedy Thompson from Nassau, Bahamas, has the second-best time in the league in the 500 Free and the 50 Breast, and sophomore Zaylie-Elizabeth Thompson, also from Nassau, has the second-best time in the conference in the 50 Breast.
In addition to these individual standouts, Howard also has several impressive relay teams. Simon, Benton, Beckles, and Miles make up the second-best 200 Free Relay team in the conference, while Nwaeze, Roberson, Spears, and Fountain make up the second-best 200 Free Relay team in the NEC. Beckles, Solomon, Afrik, and Simon have the second-best time in the league in the 400 Free Relay, while Beckles, Afrik, L. Thompson, and Simon have the second-best time in the NEC in the 800 Free Relay. Simon, Johnson, Cooper, and Miles have the third-best time in the league in the 200 Medley Relay, while Connolly, Z. Thompson, Nwaeze, and Fountain have the third-best time in the NEC in the same event. Finally, Simon, Johnson, Benton, and Beckles have the NEC-best time in the 400 Medley Relay.
Fans can follow all the action via live results and watch the entire 2023 NEC Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Championships on NEC Front Row. Bison Nation can also purchase tickets online and visit the NEC Swimming and Diving Championships Headquarter page for more information on the schedule of events.
The Bison will look to make waves at the NEC Championships before traveling to Elkhart, Indiana, for the CSCAA National Invitational Championships on March 9-11.