DARTMOUTH, Mass. –Mollee, Maggie and Megan Lasto (Orange) combined for 109 of Eastern Connecticut State University's 162 points in individual events as the Warriors placed fourth in a seven-team field at the 17th Annual Little East Conference Women's Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday at the Tripp Athletic Center Pool on the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus.
After finishing second overall in each of the previous nine years, Eastern recorded 214 points and trailed Keene State College (534.50), Westfield State University (270) and UMass Dartmouth (229.50). Keene won its 12th straight title and 15th overall.
Freshman Megan Lasto led the Warriors with 42 points by winning the 200 individual medley (2:14.41) and taking second in the 200 butterfly (2:14.24) and 200 breaststroke (2:31.93); Twin sister Maggie Lasto collected three second-place finishes and 39 total points: 200 freestyle (2:01.03), 500 freestyle (5:27.04) and 200 IM (2:15.78). Maggie trailed only Megan in the 200 IM. Junior Mollee Lasto won the 100 backstroke in a time of 1:01.88 – less than a second off her own program record – and was third in the 200 backstroke (2:15.90).
The Lastos' first-place finishes give Warriors swimmers 12 individual championships in the history of the meet. It marked the first time that two different Eastern individuals have won gold at the meet in the same season. The last individual winner prior to this year was Katie King in the 100 breaststroke in 2013/14. Mollee Lasto is the program's first 100 backstroke winner (she was second last year) and Megan Lasto the first to win the 200 IM. Mollee Lasto was seeded fifth in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:02.69.
Other Eastern swimmers collecting double-digit points were junior co-captain Hayley Mangan (Manchester), freshman Tegan Ruschmeier (Vernon) and senior co-captain Bridgett Furlong (Mansfield). Hayley Mangan was third in the 100 butterfly (1:03.95) and eighth in the 100 freestyle (59:03) for 17 points; Ruschmeier was fourth in the 200 butterfly (2:35.23) and eighth in the 100 butterfly (1:10.13) for 16 points and Furlong was eighth in the 100 breaststroke (1:17.24), and ninth in the 200 freestyle (2:09.85) and 500 freestyle (5:50.72) for 13 points.
At left: Individual winners Mollee (far left), a junior, and Megan Lasto, a freshman.
The Warriors were also credited with 52 points with second-place finishes in the 200 medley relay (1:53.89) and 400 freestyle relay (4:01.28). The three Lastos were members of the 200 medley relay, with Hayley Mangan swimming the third leg; Hayley Mangan swam the first leg of the 400 freestyle relay, followed by junior Jessica Bielefield (Torrington), sophomore Jenilee Antonetty (Norwich) and Mollee Lasto.
Unable to compete were freshman Saige Grace (East Hampton) and junior Carly Mangan (Manchester). Grace was seeded second in the 50 freestyle and second in the 100 freestyle, and Carly Mangan fourth in the 100 butterfly.
Eastern wraps up the season at the NEISDA Championships Feb. 15-18 at the University of Rhode Island.