190213-spt-hopkinsswimHopkins - James Buck

Windham’s Connor Hopkins, shown in action earlier this season, is breaking school records at Saint Michael’s College. Not bad for someone who fancied himself a baseball player until recently.

CONNOR HOPKINS makes headlines every time he jumps into the pool. At least that’s how it seems.

Hopkins, a Windham resident who’s a junior on the Saint Michael’s College swimming and diving team, set three individual school records and also helped Saint Michael’s set two school records in relay events at last weekend’s Northeast-10 Swimming and Diving Championships in Worcester, Mass. He became the first male swimmer from Saint Michael’s to win an event at the NE-10 Championships and earned a spot on the NE-10 All-Conference Team.

“I’d say based on times that (the NE-10 Championships) would be the highlight of my swimming career,” Hopkins said. “The biggest thing for me is I just want to go faster. I have times I want to achieve.”

Hopkins set school records in the 50-yard freestyle (20.85) and the 100 backstroke (51.37) on Friday, when he helped the 200 free-relay team (1:26.31) and the 400 medley-relay team (3:35.04) post school-record times as well.

He broke his own record in the 100 backstroke on Saturday (51.26), and then established the school record in the 200 backstroke on Sunday (1:54.79).

Hopkins spent four years on the Windham High School swimming and diving team. Although he swam the 50 free and the 100 free as a senior at Windham, Hopkins was known more for his baseball ability while he was in high school. He was an outfielder on the school’s varsity baseball team during each of his four years at Windham and helped the Jaguars defeat Goffstown in the Division II state championship game as a junior.

“My mom and dad both swam in college,” Hopkins said. “I played baseball my entire life and when I got to high school I wanted to try another sport. It definitely didn’t come easy. It was like an experiment. I definitely struggled my first year.

“When I was leaving Windham to come here to Saint Michael’s I wanted to do both (sports). I really didn’t know what the possibilities were in swimming because I had been doing it for such a short time.”

Hopkins was on the swimming and diving team and baseball team for each of his first two years in college, but gave up baseball after his sophomore season to concentrate on swimming. He said he considered giving up swimming after his freshman season to focus on baseball.

“Trying to do both … it was a lot of work,” Hopkins said. “I’d been playing baseball for so long I felt like I knew where I fit compared to other players. With swimming, I still had no idea what the possibilities would be. To reach my potential I do believe I had to leave baseball.

“I want to swim in the (NCAA) nationals and last year I came close to making the ‘B’ cut for Division II in the 50 freestyle. This year the ‘B’ cut was 20.75 and my time was 20.85 at the NE-10 (Championships).

“I’m definitely surprised at how much success I’ve had. I’ve put a lot of hard work into swimming and I’m glad that hard work is paying off.”

Zoda leads Bentley

Freshman Mark Zoda helped the Bentley men’s swimming and diving team finish first at the NE-10 Championships. Zoda, a Nashua resident who attended Bishop Guertin High School, won the 100 free and the 200 free. He broke the school record in the 100 twice, posting a time of 46.08 seconds in the preliminaries and 45.83 in the finals.

Purcell honored

Bedford’s Brianna Purcell, a junior guard on the Saint Michael’s College women’s basketball team, was named to the Northeast-10 Conference Weekly Honor Roll for her contributions in two games last week.

Purcell averaged 19.0 points on 68.8 percent shooting with 3.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists to 2.5 turnovers, and 3.5 steals during a 2-0 week. She also made 15 of her 18 free-throw attempts.

Purcell collected 18 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals in a 76-68 win over Southern New Hampshire University last Wednesday, when she shot 6 for 10 from the field and made each of her six free-throw attempts. During Saturday’s 74-70 win at Franklin Pierce University she had 20 points, one rebound, six assists and four steals. Purcell was 5 for 6 from the field and 9 of 12 at the free-throw line.

Purcell entered Tuesday night’s scheduled game against Stonehill averaging a career-high 9.5 points per game and a career-high 5.3 assists per game, and had scored 13 points or more in six of her last 12 games. Purcell also entered the week ranked third among NE-10 players in assists, seventh in steals, eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio and 14th in free-throw shooting. She stands third in the NCAA East Region in assists and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio, as well as 20th nationally in assists.

Murdock sets personal best

America East named Exeter’s Shannon Murdock of the University of New Hampshire the conference’s Female Track Performer of the week Tuesday for her performance at the Valentine Invitational at Boston University on Friday.

Murdock, a regular in the national mile rankings this year, set a personal best with an indoor mile time of 4 minutes, 41.61 seconds, which was more than three seconds faster than her previous career best in the event. Her time currently ranks as the 34th-fastest indoor mile time in the country this season. ...

Franklin Pierce senior Cece Telfer was named the NE-10 Women’s Track Athlete of the Week after she claimed two New England titles at the NEICAAA Championships on Feb 2-3. She was victorious in both the 60-meter hurdles (8.39) and the 200-meter dash (24.50). The 60-meter hurdles time marked the fifth time this season Telfer hit the NCAA Championships automatic-qualifying mark in the event.

Litchfield’s Savannah Reinitzer, a sophomore on the SNHU women’s track and field team, posted a personal-best time of 29.60 at the Valentine Invitational on Friday. SNHU’s Olivia Coco, a freshman from Bedford, ran a personal best in the 800 meters (2:26.21) at the same meet. …

Ian Dures, a Rollinsford resident who played football at Marshwood High School (South Berwick, Maine), was the only New Hampshire resident to join the Franklin Pierce football program on National Signing Day. …

Nashua’s Taylor Choate scored a career-high 27 points to help the Bowdoin College women’s basketball team complete the regular season unbeaten with a 92-75 victory over Wesleyan on Saturday. Bowdoin (24-0) will face Connecticut College in next weekend’s NESCAC quarterfinals.