Barito Becomes First NCAA Champion In Stevens History; Women’s Swimming Strong on Day 1 of NCAA’s

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (March 23, 2011) – Stevens Institute of Technology senior Laura Barito (Arkadelphia, Ark.) of the Stevens Institute of Technology women’s swimming team won the 50-yard freestyle at the 2011 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships on Wednesday evening, becoming the first NCAA National Champion in the history of Stevens Athletics.

In the 50-free, Barito carded a 23.30 and was seeded fourth heading into the final. The Ducks’ senior then notched a 22.87 to win the event and re-break her own school-record of 23.23 set at the 2010 NCAA’s. Barito edged the second-place finished by .13 seconds to earn 20 team points.

“We are all extremely proud of Laura – it is a truly amazing feat,” Head Swimming Coach Trevor Miele (New York, N.Y.) said. “She is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen and there is no one more deserving of a national title than her.”

Sophomore Marissa Douglas (Cumberland, R.I.) was the Ducks’ top finisher in the 200-yard individual medley prelims, clocking a 2:09.07 and placing 31st, while junior Sian Pearson (Foothill Ranch, Calif.) turned in a 5:04.54 and took 27th in the 500-yard freestyle prelims.

The 200-yard medley relay team of senior Gabrielle Czernik (Wanaque, N.J.), Douglas, freshman Louise Moores (Mukilteo, Wash.), and Barito placed fifth with a time of 1:44.65 to set a new school-record. That group came back in the final to place fifth again, this time touching at 1:44.10 and re-breaking its program-record from the morning session.

Currently, Stevens sits in sixth place overall with a team total of 48, while Emory University is in first with 162 points. Williams College (90), Kenyon College (76), and The College of New Jersey (56) round out the top five as a total of 35 teams earned points on Day 1.

The Ducks will return to action on Thursday afternoon in Day 2 (of 4) at the NCAA Division III Championships.