PEABODY — Christine Shea, a 2014 graduate of Peabody High and a senior at Springfield College, has qualified for the 2018 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championship to be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, March 21-24.
Shea qualified at the New England Women’s and Men’s Conference (NEWMAC) Swimming and Diving championship meet Feb. 22-23 at the Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center Pool on the campus of MIT. During the finals on the last day of the championship, in what would have otherwise been her last race as a collegiate athlete, she swam a career-best 2:20.86 in the 200 breaststroke to finish second and meet the national qualifying standard in the event. Her time ranks Shea in the top-20 in the nation among Division III female swimmers and also earned Shea NEWMAC Second Team All-Conference honors. Shea swam 2:23.76 in the preliminaries, but knocked more than three seconds off her time to secure her spot at the NCAA meet.
Shea also finished third in the 400 medley relay (3:54.60), fourth in the 200 medley relay (1:50.04), seventh in the 200 individual medley (2:11.84) and fourth in the 100 breaststroke (career best 1:04.04).
“Christine has focused on NCAA’s for four years,” said Tanner head coach Maureen Shea, Christine’s former coach and mother. “The fact that she qualified in her last swim at NEWMACs shows just how determined she is as an athlete and as an individual. She never lost hope, and she never gave up. Her race was amazing from the start. She showed everybody what she was made of, and we can’t wait to see what she will do in Indy.”
Swimming is a Shea family affair. Christine’s high school record in the 100-yard breaststroke, which still stands, was once held by her older sister, Julie, who is a 2016 graduate of St. Michael’s College and just completed her second season as assistant coach for the Tanners. Julie Shea had a breakout season for the Purple Knights her senior year in 2015-2016, setting school records in four individual events. She currently is the school record-holder in the 50 breast (30.74), 100 breast (1:06.76), 100 IM (1:00.64) and 200 IM (2:14.02). Sibling Sara Shea specialized in the IM and breaststroke events at the University of New England from 2008-12, while brother Patrick Shea swam freestyle distance events at Marist College, also from 2008-12. Sara Shea set several school records at UNE during the 2008-2009 season including the 50 (33.02), 100 (1:10.59), and 200 (2:31.92) breaststroke events, the 200 (2:20.77) and 400 (5:01.41) IM events, and both the 200 and 400 medley relay. In 2012, she set new marks in the 100 breast (1:08.97), 200 breast (2:27.20), 400 IM (4:51.99) and 200 (1:54.69) and 400 (4:03.67) medley relays.
Christine Shea is an applied exercise science major and was selected as a member of the Springfield College Athletics Maroon Club for her outstanding performance as a student-athlete.