Oct. 12, 2006
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The U.S. Naval Academy was chosen to win its first Patriot League Championship since 2002 in a vote by Patriot League head coaches and sports information directors in the women's preseason swimming and diving poll.
The Mids received seven first-place votes and 87 points overall. With eight titles to its name, Navy has won the most Patriot League Championships among the League teams. First-Team All-Patriot League honorees Aubra Thomas (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Jennie Spencer (Smithburg, W. Va.) and Kelly Zahalka (Richmond, Va.) return for the Mids along with Second-Team All-Patriot League selection Katie Griffin (Ellicott City, Md.). Zahalka set a Patriot League Championship Meet record in the 400-yard IM last season, while Thomas is the record holder in the 200-yard IM and the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke.
Coming in with six first-place votes was Colgate with 84 total points. The Raiders finished second to Bucknell last season. Patriot League Rookie of the Meet Emily Murphy (Syracuse, N.Y.) returns with her 200-yard and 400-yard free relay teams [(Ashley Bottger (Weston, Conn.), Chrissy Zaika (Syracuse, N.Y.), Beverly Walker (Marietta, Ga.), and Lisa Marchi (Scottsdale, Ariz.)] that set Patriot League Championship Meet records last season. The 400-yard relay team set a Patriot League overall record as well.
Reigning Patriot League Champion Bucknell received three first-place votes and a total of 83 points. First-year Head Coach Dan Schinnerman enters Bucknell women's swimming at its Patriot League height as the Bison have won four consecutive Patriot League Championships. Katherine Munson (New Fairfield, Conn.), who won the 200-yard fly at the Patriot League Championship meet last season, joins First-Team All-Patriot Leaguers Rebecca Scheffter (Mt. Airy, Md.), Nikki Woodward (Longmeadow, Mass.), Carlyn Donley (Pittsburgh, Pa.), and Laura Goeller (Wilmington, Del.) for another season with the Bison.
Army tallied 54 votes in this year's poll. First-Team All-Patriot League selection Erin Hanley (Hamburg, N.Y.) returns with Chelsey and Cora Freeman (Puyallup, Wash.), who were Second-Team All-Patriot League. The Black Knights are looking for their first Patriot League Championship since 1991.
Lafayette (46), Lehigh (42), American (38) and Holy Cross (14) completed the poll.
All teams at the end of the season will compete in the Patriot League Championship on February 15-17 at Bucknell University. The 2006-07 season opens Friday, Oct. 13 with Navy women competing at the Potomac Relay Invitational.