CHARLOTTE, NC. – The Saint Leo University Swim team closed the 2009 Bluegrass Mountain Conference Championships with a total of 44 points and a 13th place showing last week at the Mecklenburg County Aquatics Center in Charlotte, NC. The Lions struggled to overcome a stomach virus which eventually sidelined a total of eight Lions’ swimmers and forced numerous scratches and defaults.

On Thursday, Sarah Tatko and Amanda Tatko highlighted the Lions day concluding the 1000 Yard Freestyle 26th and 27th, respectively.

The stomach virus struck harder than anyone could have anticipated on Friday, allowing only one group of Lions to compete during the 11-event day.  That group turned out to be the 200 Yard Freestyle relay team of Jessica Pall, Allison Cary, Alisha Adams and Erin Lucas, as they clocked in 11th place with a time of 1:45.99, two seconds ahead of Bluegrass foe Florida Southern.

Mary Strand was one of the few individuals to find the strength to swim on Friday, as she competed in the 400 IM. She closed the contest with an 18th-place finish in a time of 4:58.16. Mindy Pierce joined Strand in the pool competing in the 100 Butterfly where she finished 21st with a time of 1:04.32.

Erin Hotchkiss followed in their footsteps finishing 19th in the 200 Freestyle, while Adams was one of the few Lions to compete in multiple events on Friday. After concluding the relay portion of the day, Adams swam the 100 Backstroke and finished 18th with a time of 1:02.15.

By the time the swimmers began to feel slightly better on Saturday, Saint Leo was too far out of the meet to make a run at a top-ten finish, but the team still finished courageously. Hotchkiss and Strand each competed in the 200 Butterfly with Hotchkiss clocking in 17th with a time of 2:12.59 while Strand touched the line at 2:25.81 for a 22nd place finish.

Amanda Tatko finished 22nd in the 1650 Freestyle with a time 20:39.84, while Adams closed the four-day event with a 19th place showing in the 200 Backstroke.

The University of Tampa proved to be the strongest in the pool last week, collecting 657 total points, just 10 points ahead of Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, BMC rivals Rollins and Florida Southern finished sixth and 12th, respectively.

SLU closes its season with having seen many bright spots and the emergence of new talent which looks to take them to new heights during 2009-2010.