Women's Swimming: Warriors Start Strong on Opening Weekend of 2016-17 Season

Women's Swimming: Warriors Start Strong on Opening Weekend of 2016-17 Season

WEST HARTFORD -- After breaking three program records on the final weekend of her freshman year, Mollee Lasto (Orange) has picked up as a sophomore where she left.

While Lasto is not yet in record-breaking mode – that will surely come as the season progresses – she began her second season on the opening weekend of this year as she began her career a year ago, by winning the University of Saint Joseph Blue Jay Pentathlon Friday evening at Bruyette Natatorium on the USJ campus.

Lasto compiled a composite time of 5:50.11 in five 100 yard events – backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle and individual medley – to win the title for the second straight season over Western New England University junior Erika Sheinhait (5:53.13). Eighth a year ago, USJ sophomore Veronika Latawiec (5:56.79) moved up to third while Eastern sophomore Hayley Mangan (Manchester) jumped from tenth as a freshman to fourth this year with a compilation of 6:01.23.

Neither team scores nor an official pentathlon compilation was released.

Lasto, who achieved All-NEISDA honors four times as a freshman, placed in the Top 10 of all five events. She repeated as the event winner in the 100 (1:06.17) and individual medley (1:09.10) and also added the freestyle (1:00.43) title this year. She was fourth in the butterfly (1:11.15) and tenth in the breaststroke (1:23.26). Every event had a minimum of 28 competitors, with the freestyle including 44 performers.

Lasto was just off last year's composite time of 5:46.21, as was Sheinhait (5:51.84).

Already close to mid-season form on the opening weekend of the season, Mangan set personal-bests in the backstroke (1:12.99) and individual medley (1:12.37) and was just hundredths of a second off career bests in the breaststroke (1:26.65) and butterfly (1:06.12).  She was also timed in 1:03.10 in the freestyle. Mangan captured the butterfly after placing ninth a year ago, was seventh in the freestyle and individual medley, eighth in the backstroke and 15th in the breaststroke.

Senior co-captain Natalie Stepniewski (East Haven) was third among Eastern's pentathlon participants with a composite time of 6:04.55, with senior co-captain Jessica Charron (Baltic) fourth (6:06.37). Other top individuals included sophomore Amber Albe (Wallingford) with a time of 6:15.19 and senior Sam Pimer (Northford) with a five-event time of 6:29.89.

Rhode Island College junior Sydney Curran (1:17.02), fifth overall in the pentathlon, edged Albe (1:17.82) for top honors in the breaststroke.

In the meet, Eastern also won all three relays: 200 and 400 freestyle and 200 medley. Albe, Charron, Lasto, Mangan and Stepniewski were all part of two of the winning relays, with junior Bridgett Furlong (Mansfield) and freshman Cassie Lombardo (Middletown) contributing to one each.

Warriors split tri-meet Saturday

WESTON, Mass. – Fifteen hours after completing the Blue Jay Pentathlon, the Warriors were back in the water, defeating Bridgewater State University, 147-113, and losing to host Regis College, 149-120.

In a meet consisting of 12 individual events and two relays, Mangan recorded the team's only first. Last year's leader in the 50 butterfly, Mangan was just off her best with a mark of 28.96 that just edged Regis freshman Jessica Zernitsky (28.97).

Lasto was second in all three of her events – 50 and 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley. Other taking seconds were Stepniewski in the 200 and 500 freestyle, Albe in the 50 and 100 breaststroke, Charron in the 1,000 freestyle, and Mangan in the 100 butterfly (1:08.00). Furlong took thirds in the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.

Lombardo submitted the top performances among the eight freshmen competing in the event. She took a pair of fifths in the 50 and 100 freestyle.

Teamming on the 200 medley relay which was nosed out by .38 for first place  were Laso, Albe, Mangan and Furlong.

Eastern competes in the UMass Dartmouth Louise Goodrum Invitational Saturday at noon.