SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Fresh off its second-straight Northeast Conference championship, the Bryant University women's swimming and diving program gets to set embark on a three-peat when it welcomes Boston College to the Chace Athletic Center Pool on Friday evening.
Last winter, the Bulldogs cruised to the program's second title in as many seasons behind a ferocious senior class. Bryant returns enough firepower, however, that league coaches have picked the Black and Gold as the favorite heading into the 2019-20 season.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs will be the quartet of Alaina Scifo (Ipswich, Great Britain), Alyssa DiFiore (Wethersfield, Conn.), Heather Wong (Ramsey, N.J.) and Elin Svard (Falun, Sweden). Scifo was the big winner last year, taking home seven medals at the NECs, including two individual gold medals. Wong won both breast events, DiFiore won three individual medals and Svard took home an individual silver medal.
The Black and Gold also welcome back a bevy of talent that scored big points at the NEC Championships a year ago. That list includes Domenica Alcala (Cancun, Mexico), Alyvia Beaudion (Cypress, Texas), Eliza Brant (Hauppauge, N.Y.), Kayleigh Canavan (Cumberland, R.I.), Lindsey Choate (Upper St. Claire, Pa.), Alexa Rivera (Boynton Beach, Fla.), Claire Russell (Naperville, Ill.) and Meghan Veenstra (Tyngsborough, Mass.).
Rivera won a gold medal and set the school record in the 200 IM, while also teaming with Beaudion to help the 200 and 400 free relays win gold medals and set school records. Canavan finished fourth in both breast events and also helped the 200 medley to a gold medal.
Alcala earned a pair of top-eight finishes in the fly events, Brant was seventh in the 200 breast and eighth in the 200 IM, Choate was ninth in the 100 back, Russell finished fifth in the 1650 free and Veenstra was sixth in the 400 IM and eighth in the 200 fly.
The Bulldogs became the first team in league history to place six divers in the top eight of the 3-meter dive last fall and also took home four of the possible six medals in the two events last fall.
Bryant, however, graduated four divers from last year's squad and will have a new look this winter. Gabrielle Ritzer (Sutton, Mass.) returns as the veteran after winning a silver in the 3-meter dive and a bronze in the 1-meter dive last winter. She's now a three-time medalist for the Black and Gold.
The Bulldogs will also welcome back Elizabeth Cahill (Ashland, Mass.) and will welcome freshmen Kyri Chambo (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Kate Kirves (New Port Richey, Fla.) to the group. Chambo was a four-time all-state diver and Kirves was a three-time all-conference diver and a state champion weightlifter.