UNCP swimmers Martinez, Manning win conference titles

Staff report

CANTON, Ohio — Sophomore Mariel Mencia Martinez broke her own school record in the 50-yard Freestyle on the way to successfully defending her conference title in the event, while senior Gillian Manning set a new meet record on the way to taking top honors in the 500-yard Freestyle, as the UNC Pembroke swimming team excelled again on the second day of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference/Mountain East Conference Championships.

Mencia Martinez touched the wall in the 50-yard Freestyle just .01 seconds ahead of Hillsdale’s Marie Taylor, and broke her own five-month-old record in the process. It was the second time in 12 hours that the Dominican Republic had registered the school record-breaking time. Fellow sophomore Ketlyn Rodriguez Matos earned all-league honors in the event as well with an eighth-place tally.

Manning was equally as impressive in taking top honors in the 500-yard Freestyle, eclipsing a year-old meet record in the event with a time of 5:00.27. Nathalia Silva, who edged Manning by .31 seconds in the preliminary round of the event on Wednesday morning, finished fourth on the way to picking up All-MEC laurels as well.

Wednesday evening’s action was culminated with another school record performance as Mencia Martinez teamed up with fellow sophomore Sarah Morden, as well as newcomers Paige Seplak and Caterina Coughlin, to register a mark of 3:59.82 in the 400-yard Medley Relay. That mark was nearly 13 seconds faster than the previous school record that was set at last season’s GMAC/MEC Championships.

The Braves will continue action inside the C.T. Branin Natatorium on Thursday with the 400-yard Freestyle Relay, as well as five individual events — the 100-yard Butterfly, the 400-yard Individual Medley, the 200-yard Freestyle, the 100-yard Breaststroke and the 100-yard Backstroke. The four-day event is slated to conclude on Friday evening.