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LeFrois-Heath, Russ winners at SUNYACs

Brockport’s 200-freestyle relay team of Sarah Kilburn, Emily LeFrois-Heath, Emma Butler and Elizabeth Sagan with their silver medals. (Photo Credit: Kaite Wilson/Brockport Athletics)

BUFFALO, NY– Amidst Geneseo’s win at the 2024 SUNYAC Swimming & Diving Championships at Erie Community College, the Brockport women’s team took third place and the men finished sixth. The women scored 565.5 and the men posted a score of 232. Geneseo’s men’s and women’s teams each eclipsed 1,000 points, dominating the championships. 

“[Geneseo is] just a really strong program with a lot of really talented athletes,” Brockport swimmer Sarah Kilburn said. “Their athletes push our athletes to improve and because of that a lot of our swimmers got PRs, broke records, medals, and so much more that we as a team should be so proud of, regardless of who won the meet.”  

Brockport diver Kyra Russ was named Ouststanding Diver of the Meet. She was the winner of the 1-meter and 3-meter dive. Her 485.05 score in the preliminary round of the 3-meter dive is the highest in Brockport program history. Brockport coach Scott Horsington was awarded Diving Coach of the Year. 

The competition began Wednesday with the men’s 3-meter diving preliminary event. Brockport’s Ren Watson came in sixth by scoring 409.10. He improved in the finals, scoring 429.50 and finishing in fifth place. 

In the men’s 200-medley, Brockport garnered a seventh-place finish that was good for 24 points. But, the men fared better in the 800-free relay. Brockport finished in 7:17.04 and placed fifth, netting 28 points  

In the women’s events, Brockport hung tough. The 200-medley saw Brockport finish just behind Geneseo with a time just under six seconds slower. Nonetheless, Miya Vitale, Addy Martino, Kilburn, and Elizabeth Sagen earned the silver medal and 34 points for the Golden Eagles. 

“The success of our relay brought everyone’s energy levels up and helped build our confidence levels going into that 800-free relay at the end of the meet,” Vitale said. “It felt so rewarding winning that medal. It was like all our hard work paid off.” 

“We all put in so much work this season and to come out on top of Cortland in that relay was a great start to the meet for us,” Kilburn said. 

Brockport took home the bronze in the 800-free relay. Elizabeth Sagan, Emily Lefrois-Heath, Madison Parobek, and Miya Vitale combined for the third-place effort earning 32 points.  

“Having such a close bond with our team and wanting the best for it as a whole makes us put 110% into every performance,” Vitale said. 

After day one on Wednesday, Brockport’s women’s group had accumulated 64 points while the men had reeled in 66 points. Notedly, the women had completed just two events while the men had completed four. 

Thursday saw the beginning of the solo events. In the prelims of the 200-IM, Lefrois-Heath fell just short of first place. Kilburn and Sagen were each top-four finishers in the 50-free prelim with Kilburn coming in second overall. In the women’s 1-meter dive prelims Brockport’s Emma Conner and Russ finished in fourth and second place respectively. 

The first highlight of Thursday night was in the final of the 200-IM, Lefrois-Heath took home the bronze with a time of 2:12.51. In the women’s 50-free, Kilburn and Sagen got the job done in the finals. Sagan earned the bronze which netted the Golden Eagles 16 points and Kilburn’s fourth-place finish was good for 15 points.  

Russ struck gold for Brockport with a win in the 1-meter dive. She convincingly took first place with a score of 432.40. No other divers eclipsed 400. In the 200-free relay, Brockport’s crew of Emma Butler, Kilburn, LeFrois-Heath, and Sagan walked away with the silver.  

The butterfly and breaststroke events began Friday morning. Kilburn took third in the preliminary 100-butterfly competition with a 58.88.  

The lone male swimmer to finish top-eight and qualify for group-A in the preliminaries Friday morning was Mike Laviani in the 400-IM. His 4:31.01 time was good for seventh place in the race.  

Lefrois-Heath sealed the deal on her gold medal Friday evening with a time of 4:37.22 in the 400-IM. Kilburn finished third-place finish in the 100-butterfly prelim. Vitale ascended above Geneseo’s Miya Marcyan, moving up from her third-place preliminary finish to take home silver and 17 points in the 100-backstroke.  

The evening ended on a high note for the Golden Eagles women’s team when the medley team of Addy Martino, Kilburn, Lefrois-Heath, and Vitale recorded a time of 4:01.76 that netted them a second-place finish. 

“I’m really happy with it,” Kilburn said. “This was my first SUNYACS and my first season back swimming since high school…I really wanted to beat my times from high school and I was successful in that, and got PRs in every event, even in the relay splits, so I’m super proud of myself and my team.” 

At the conclusion of Friday evening, the Brockport women were in third place with 376.5 points while the men remained in sixth having built up 170 points. 

Vitale’s performance in the women’s 200-backstroke was one of Brockport’s best of the championships. She won gold and broke a Brockport program record while gaining 20 points. Her 2:10.63 time was .02 seconds faster than Geneseo’s Courtney Sorbello and .42 seconds faster than previous Golden Eagles record-holder Taylor Schaffert.  

“Thanks to the help of my coaches, I was able to overcome those this year and get a school record in the 200-back, place second overall [in Brockport history] in the 100-back and make A-finals in all my events at SUNYACs,” Vitale said. 

Kilburn and Sagan were both top-six finishers in the 100-free prelim. Sagan’s time of 53.07 amounted to third place and Kilburn slid into the sixth place slot. 

Russ picked up where she left off with a championships-high 485.05 score in the 3-meter dive prelim. In the finals, her first-place score of 476.10 secured 20 points for the Golden Eagles. 

Martino solidified her bronze medal in the 200-breaststroke in the final with a finishing time of 2:29.02. 16 points were added to the Brockport women’s total as a result. 

In the men’s 200-back, Luca Olivieri placed sixth and with his 1:57.63 finish set a program record. 

The 40th and final event of the championships was the women’s 400-free relay. The foursome of Kilburn, LeFrois-Heath, Meissner, and Sagan captured silver medals and 34 points for the Golden Eagles. Killburn believes every single member of her team is equipped to answer the call whenever it comes from head coach Zack Wahl. 

“I don’t think it’s necessarily closeness with just the medley team but I think with the whole team in general,” Kilburn said. “A lot of us get along really well and any one of us can step up whenever Zack needs us to and I think that played a big part to our success.” 

The season ends sweeter for the Brockport women than that of the men. This time next year it will not be the SUNYACs but the Empire 8 Swimming & Diving Championships that the Golden Eagles attend. 

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