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Published: February 14, 2009 11:32 pm  

COLLEGE ROUNDUP (Feb. 14): O’Rourke dives into a MAAC title

Staff reports

A day after winning the 3-meter diving title, Niagara University sophomore Ian O’Rourke (Grand Island) captured the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship in the 1-meter diving event on Saturday, a happening that completed a big day three for NU’s swimming and diving team that also saw three school records broken.

After winning the three-meter diving event on Friday, O’Rourke completed the sweep of the diving events by finishing the one-meter diving event with a mark of 302.75, nearly 10 points better then that of Paul Apostolakis from Rider.

O’Rourke won the 3-meter title Friday while setting a Purple Eagles record of 498 points. Friday happened to be his diving coach’s birthday. “As a team we are excited to have Ian as a MAAC champion,” head coach Ben Nigro said. “It was his diving coach’s birthday and he delivered a great present for her.”

O’Rourke was in the lead after eight dives Friday, but after falling out of first place upon completing his 9th and 10th dives, O’Rourke needed a strong final dive to win.

This is the second consecutive year NU has had a double MAAC champion, with Pat Garvey earning two individual titles last year. O’Rourke was also named the MAAC Men’s Most Outstanding Diver.

Junior Ashley Clingersmith (Niagara Falls) broke her second school record during the MAAC Championships by finishing the 100 freestyle in 53.31 during preliminaries, beating Traci Liberi’s mark of 53.32 from 2003. The special education major re-wrote the 100 freestyle record as part of a seventh-place finish, clocking in at 52.94. Clingersmith now owns four school records.

After he broke his own record in the 1,000 freestyle event on Friday, freshman Mike Smiechowski claimed his third Niagara record, this time during preliminaries in the 200 butterfly event. The North Carolina native’s finishing time of 1:56.21 betters junior teammate Ryan O’Laughlin’s (Lewiston) mark of 1:57.67 from 2007.

In other Day Two action, freshman Mike Smiechowski shattered his own 1,000 freestyle school record by 10 seconds, finishing in sixth place with a time of 9:46.84. The foursome of Jon Matchette (Kenmore West), Lucas Shumway (Niagara-Wheatfield), Ryan O’Laughlin (Lewiston-Porter) and Evinn Drusys finished in sixth place in the 200 medley relay, setting their second Niagara record in a medley relay event in two days with a time of 1:36.38.

Meanwhile, the women’s 800 medley relay team of Dana Vernal, Hope Wiles, Kaley Pfohl and Clingersmith broke the school record by two seconds, clocking in at 8:03.79 to finish seventh.

The men’s team finished in fifth place with 318 points, while the women’s team finished in eighth place with 182 points.