Women's Swimming & Diving Primed for Strong 2011-12 Campaign

DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire women's swimming and diving team comes into the 2011-12 season with high hopes of building on one of its most successful campaigns to date.

The Wildcats capped off the year in convincing fashion, winning the ECAC Championships for the first time since 2005 and earning a third-place finish at the America East Championships just the week before.

New Hampshire claimed first place with 611 points at the ECAC Championships, while taking home Coaching Staff of the Meet honors. UNH totaled 11 ECAC winners, as the 'Cats broke five school and ECAC records, while also qualifying for NCAA provisional time standards in five swims.

The Wildcats were just as stellar at the conference championships, breaking 11 school and nine conference records, while also qualifying for NCAA provisional time standards in eight swims. In addition, UNH earned America East Coaching Staff of the Year for the second straight season, taking home the honor for the 11th time in Josh Willman's 18-year tenure as New Hampshire's head coach.

Based on that success the 'Cats were tabbed third in the America East Preseason Coaches' Poll, as they welcome back 13 returners and eight newcomers into the fold, looking to pick up right where they left off last year.

Topping the list of returners is senior Jessica Little (Barrie, Ontario) and sophomore Lauren McCandless (Macungie, Pa.), a duo that took home CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major All-America Honorable Mention honors last year.

Little earned All-American status for the second year in a row, collecting first-place finishes at both the ECAC and America East Championships. She notched the top spot in the 400-yard IM with a time of 4:23.19 at the ECAC Championships. She was just as successful at the conference championships, earning a first-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke, clocking in at 2:15.50, while qualifying for an NCAA provisional cut.

As for McCandless, she contributed to three first-place finishes, helping the 'Cats break four records at the America East Championships. She also captured one individual title, while breaking a combined three records on her own, earning the conference's Rookie of the Year award. She was equally productive at the ECAC Championships, notching four first-place finishes, while breaking four records and collecting two individual titles. 

UNH opens its season on the road against Siena Oct. 15 (12 p.m.) at the Siena Swim Center.
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