DURHAM, N.H. -- After winning back-to-back America East Championships, the University of New Hampshire women’s swimming and diving team will look for the three-peat when the conference championships begin Feb. 8 on the campus of Boston University.
    UNH grabbed a share of the top spot in the America East preseason poll, being picked along with the University of Maryland-Baltimore County as favorites to win the conference championship. Since then, the Wildcats have posted a 4-5 record, including 2-2 in the conference. All of that is out the window now as the ‘Cats are in familiar territory, preparing to take home another championship.
   The Wildcats have a few weapons to help make that happen, including junior Kary Goodman (South Windham, Maine), who returned to help lead the ‘Cats this year after being named the conference’s Most Outstanding Swimmer to end last season and getting an invite to the NCAA Championships. Goodman has performed well this season in the medley relays, events that the Wildcats are very strong in and should aid them in reaching their goal. Goodman was also a standout at the Boston University Invitational on Nov. 17-19, where she won three events – the 200-yard butterfly (2 minutes, 2.18 seconds), 100 fly (55.92) and 100 backstroke (55.95) – and broke BU’s pool records in the latter two events and the UNH school record in the 100 fly.
   Junior Deanna Petchonka (Ridgefield, Conn.) has also been very impressive for the Wildcats. On Nov. 4, Petchonka propelled the ‘Cats to a 181-119 victory over the University of Vermont by winning three events including the 50 freestyle (25.27), 100 butterfly (58.94) and 200-yard medley relay (1:51.37).
   Junior Shana Dege (Lockport, N.Y.) has been the top diver on the team this season. Dege helped the Wildcats to a 133-86 victory over Siena College in the first dual meet of the season by winning the 3-meter dive (270.90) and then breaking her own record in the 1-meter (261.45).
   Also assisting in the success has been junior Christine Tartaglia (Brewster, N.Y.). Tartaglia nearly led the Wildcats to victory Nov. 11 when she was victorious in three events, including the 1000 free (10:42.56) and 400 IM (4:35.05). The ‘Cats though, ended up narrowly dropping a 123-118 decision to Central Connecticut State University.
   Seniors Caitlin Hamer (Andover, Mass.) and Michelle Garnsey (Lake Wylie, S.C.), and sophomore Katrina Maloney (Dover, N.H.) have supported the Wildcats throughout the campaign. Hamer grabbed first place in the 1000 free against Vermont, while Garnsey and Maloney have swam well in the medley relays throughout the year.
   Freshmen Mattie Fowler (Farmington, Maine) and Evelyn Yuen (Princeton, N.J.) have represented their class well this season. In a 161-74 loss to Harvard University on Jan. 26, Fowler took home the top spot in the 400 IM, while Yuen finished first in the 200 breaststroke. Both have swam well all season long with the freshman quartet of Meagan Wengrove (Arvada, Colo.), Shawna Watterson (Frisco, Texas), Katie Vance (Apple Valley, Minn.) and Lauren Sampl (Fort Collins, Colo.).
    The America East Championships run Feb. 8-11 at Boston University.
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