ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. – York College senior women's swimmer Michaela Guild captured the 1,650 freestyle title during the final day of competition at the 2012 Capital Athletic Conference Swimming Championships. Guild, who put together a fantastic performance for the Spartans throughout the meet, helped lead the Green and White to 366 points and a fourth-place finish, only the second time York has finished that well in over a decade. Mary Washington collected the overall team win with 924.5 points while St. Mary's (Md.) and Marymount (Va.) were second and third with 678.5 and 427 points, respectively.
Seeded fifth in the tough event, Guild swam a solid portion of the race in fourth-place. Making her move around the halfway point, she began steadily picking off those swimmers in front of her over the final half of the event. The senior combined quality talent with valuable experience to swim an intelligent mile. Steadily climbing the ladder, once Guild took over first she never looked back as she opened up a no-doubt-about-it lead over the final yards to finish with a 17:58.36. That mark broke her own previous program-best by nearly 15 seconds, topping the old time of 18:13.31 set during the 2011 CAC Championships. Not only did Guild establish a new record in the 1,650 but her efforts over the first 1,000 yards brought down that Spartan-best. From the flat start in the 1,650 event, the senior completed the first 1,000 in 10:58.31 as that topped 11:03.48 she recorded in the same manner last season.
In total this weekend, Guild broke three school records in the distance freestyle (500, 1,000, and 1,650), and collected two medals (first in the 1,650; third in the 500). That triumph in the 1,650 proves York's first event victory since 2010 (Heather MacLennan in the 200 backstroke) and just the second race win for York since the inception of CAC Championships.
Aside from Guild tremendous performance, junior Chelsea Ross also put together a strong day for the Green and White. Competing in the 100 freestyle, Ross established a new Spartan record in the event during the morning preliminaries with a 55.11 – topping MacLennan's record of 55.32 also set in 2010. That time allowed Ross to qualify fourth for the evening's finals where she would bring down the mark yet again. In what proved to be an overall fast race, the Spartan junior notched a record-setting 54.69 as she finished fourth overall.
In the women's closing event, Guild and Ross returned to the water as they joined with Courtney Dacheux and Anna Schuster for the 400 freestyle relay. The Spartans combined for a fourth-place 3:46.17.
Sophomore Jenny Hinkle registered a seventh-place finish in the 1,650 for the Spartans as she notched an 18:39.65 while senior Kathy Murphy won her heat and finished ninth overall in the 200 backstroke (2:18.08).
The end of the third day of competition brings the 2012 CAC Swimming Championships to a close. York bids adieu to seniors Guild, Murphy, and Kate Estes who have each proved quality Spartans during their careers. Over the past four seasons, the Green and White have registered two fourth-place finishes at the annual league championships, the program's two best finishes in over a decade.
PHOTOS: Michaela Guild stands atop the podium following her triumphant performance in the 1,650 freestyle. Guild reacts after finishing with the winning time in the event.