The Wells College swimming program combined to capture three North Eastern Athletic Conference annual awards at the 2020 NEAC Swimming and Diving Championships last weekend Feb. 14-16 at SUNY Cobleskill.
Wells swimming coach Trish George and Gallaudet coach Larry Curran were named the NEAC Women's Swimming and Diving Co-Coaches of the Year. George won for a second time with the last time being during the 2012-13 season.
Saoirse Murphy-Collins, a native of Syracuse, earned the Women's Swimming and Diving Rookie of the Year award.
Vincent Chen, a native of Charlestown, Mass.; earned the Men's Swimming and Diving Rookie of the Year award.
The last time Wells College had a pair of award winners in the same season was also the last time George was named coach of the year seven years ago. Matthew Sleezer took home NEAC Men's Swimmer of the Year and Hilary Feudal took the NEAC Women's Rookie of the Year for the 2012-13 season. Chen is the program's first male swimmer to capture rookie of the year, while Murphy-Collins joins Feudale and Courtney Cloutier (2015-16) as the program's third rookie of the year while competiting in the NEAC.
The pair of 2019-20 rookie of the year winners for Wells combined to take four NEAC weekly awards as swimmers of the week. Three of those went to Chen after being named Nov. 19, Nov. 26 and Jan. 14. Murphy-Collins joined Chen during the Nov. 19 weekly awards to give the Express a sweep that week.
Murphy-Collins broke into the Wells College all-time top-10 in four events with three of those coming during the NEAC Championships. The freshman ranks seventh in two events, once at eighth and once at 10th as part of a relay team. Her 59.43 time in the 100-yard freestyle on Feb. 16 earned her one of those seventh spots as well as a first-team all-conference nod. Her other seventh all-time finish also occurred at the NEAC Championships in the 200-yard freestyle with a 2:10.46 time that earned her a second-team all-conference selection. Her second first-team all-conference selection at the NEAC Championships came in the 500-yard freestyle (5:48.73) with that time being .93 seconds shy of cracking the all-time top-10 in that event.
Murphy-Collins also took the eighth all-time spot in the 1000-yard freestyle on Jan. 25 with a 12:24.44 time. Her fourth top-10 time came in the 800-yard freestyle relay during the NEAC Championships with a 9:37.26 time with teammates Hailey Onofre, Shannon Simmons and Nicole D'Aurizio with a 10th best all-time showing in that event and a third-team all-conference selection for the quartet of Wells swimmers.
Chen finished his season by appearing in the Wells College all-time top-10 list a total of nine times. His most recent appearance occured during the NEAC Championships in the 100-yard freestyle on Feb. 16 with a time of 54.03 for fifth place all-time that also earned him a second-team all-conference selection. Although not top-10 times, Chen earned a pair first-team all-conference selections at the NEAC Championships in the 100-yard backstroke and the 50-yard freestyle.
Chen is the school's all-time leader in the 100-yard IM (1:02.17) that he set on Nov. 23. On that same day, he also broke into the top-10 in the 100-yard backstroke (1:01.34) for second all-time and in the 100-yard butterfly (1:01.41) for sixth all-time. The prior week, the freshman began his crusade on the record book with a pair of top-10 finishes on Nov. 16. On that date, he finished fouth all-time in the 400-yard IM (5:04.95) and eighth all-time in the 200-yard freestyle (2:03.02). On Jan. 14, Chen cracked the top-10 at 10th all-time on the 100-yard breaststroke (1:12.23) and took an additional pair of top-10 times on Jan. 25 with a fourth-best time in the 200-yard backstroke (2:19.67) and the fifth-best time in the 200-yard IM (2:22.02).