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Heather Foley and Gabriella Marchetti Break Long-Standing records in UNYSCSA Championships

Written by Jack Quinn

Photo via Saints Athletics

Two St. Lawrence University swimmers set records last week at the UNYSCSA Championship meet in Ithaca. Heather Foley ‘17 and Gabriella Marchetti ‘17 both set individual records dating back decades. Additional swimmers came very close to other individual and relay records in what was an extremely impressive team performance at the championships.

Marchetti struck first, taking down the team record in the 400-yard individual medley on the second of four days of competition. She set a time of 4:40.31 in the preliminary heats of the grueling event, taking more than two tenths of a second off of the previous record set in 1989. Marchetti went on to finish eighth in the championship final of the event, scoring 22 points for the team.

Foley broke an even older record when she swam the 100-yard butterfly, also on the second day. The previous record stood since 1979 at 59.66 seconds, and Foley had approached it several times in her career swimming for St. Lawrence. In the preliminary heats of the race, just moments after Marchetti’s record swim, Foley posted a time of 59.99 seconds and qualified for the championship final, where she ultimately finished eigth. Wanting one more opportunity at the record, Foley swam the event again in a timed trial on the fourth and final day of competition. Swimming in an empty pool, after four days of brutal racing, she posted a time of 59.41 setting a new team record.

Almost as impressive as the time she posted was the record Foley broke. The 1979 record was held by Laurie Peterssen, a national champion, multiple All-American, and one of the most successful female swimmers in program history. She set that 100 butterfly record swimming to third place at the AIAW national championship, as the NCAA did not yet have a women’s swimming championship. Peterssen set several individual and relay records at St. Lawrence, and the 100 fly was one of two that still stood going into the meet last week. Foley’s margin of more than two tenths of a second was extremely impressive, and her record will likely stand for years.

Several other records were also challenged at the meet. Marchetti came within four one-hundredths of a second of the 200-yard butterfly record, and both she and Taylor McClung ‘19 were within striking distance of the 1650-yard freestyle record. The 200-yard freestyle relay consisting of Foley, Becca Raab ‘17, and Madeline Holodnik ‘20 and Christina Felchner was within two tenths of a second of the record. The 400-yard freestyle relay with the same four swimmers was also very close to the team record.

The efforts of these swims brought the team to a ninth place overall finish in the meet, a very strong performance from a team of their size. The meet marked the end of the 2016-2017 season for the team.

About the author

Jack Quinn