Eph swimmers defeat a tired Bowdoin team

Men’s and women’s swimming & diving faced off against the Bowdoin Polar Bears this Saturday in the last home dual meet of the season. The teams swam the meet in combined short format. While many Ephs competed in their “off” events, they handily defeated a Bowdoin team exhausted from a two week training trip and a 24 hour return voyage from Hawaii. “Considering the circumstances, it showed a lot of courage and demanded a lot of respect for Bowdoin to come down here,” said men’s co-captain Mike Hodel ’99. Given that attitude and the friendship between the Williams and Bowdoin coaches, the meet shaped up as an amiable, sportsmanlike competition.

Williams divers turned in the most remarkable performances. Diving co-captain Heather Cyr ’00 won and made her cuts for Nationals on both the one and three meter boards. It was her second time making the one meter cut, so she only needs send in a tape of her dives to be on her way to the Nationals. Rebecca Steuer ’02 placed third on the one meter with her best score at Williams.

Without any male Polar Bears to compete against, the Ephmen challenged themselves. Diving co-captain Chris Wendell ’00 qualified for the Nationals on both the one and three meter boards. On the one meter, he surpassed the cut by an impressive 21 points. Freshmen Michael Gross and Barry Gross both qualified for New England’s. The Williams divers showed they are a force in New England.

The Williams swimmers sent the same clear message. The swimming events started with the 200 Medley Relay. In the women’s event, the team of Jocelyn Sutton ’01, Britta Hult ’02, Charis Anderson ’01 and Lyssa Castonguay ’01 cruised to victory. Lani Clinton ’02 held off a contending Bowdoin swimmer to keep her team of Erin Gately ’99, Cara Yoder ’99 and Moira Shanahan ’01 in third place. The foursome of Todd Gamblin ’02, co-captain Jon Shade ’99, Jason Frink ’00, and Jamie Mackay ’01 dominated the men’s event. The Williams B and C teams raced each other for third, with strong swims by Dan Morales ’02 and Doug Cohan ’00 pulling the C team into scoring position.

No Polar Bears entered the grueling 1000-yard freestyle, so the Williams men and women swam together. Cristin Brennan ’02 was the star of the race, setting the pace for the entire field. She and Ben Doob ’02 swam side by side for the majority of the race. Doob and Cyrus King ’00 edged Brennan in the end, but she finished in 10:24.14, five seconds under the team record set by Marla Robertson ’98 in 1997. Brennan had already broken the record by six seconds in the Wesleyan meet. Brennan’s training partner Liz Overbay ’00 also had an excellent race with a personal best of 10:55.26.

In the men’s 200-yard freestyle, Bowdoin also did not fill their allotted lanes, so Williams took the opportunity to enter five swimmers. Though not all scored officially, all performed well and placed in the top six. Pulling the outside smoke from both directions, Mike Simerman ’02 and Don Wood ’00 finished second and third. Jason Oraker ’00, Jeremy Faust ’01, and Jesse Davis ’01 were fourth, fifth, and sixth. In the women’s event, Amy Warren ’01 established her lead early and built it throughout to win in 2:00.26. Tiffany Talley ’99 took second and Castonguay finished fourth.

Co-captain Jessica Stokes ’99 returned to her sprint freestyle roots in the 50-yard event, winning the short distance by a few body lengths. Laura Spero ’02 and Jess Green ’99 blasted to third and fourth. Leah Sharpe ’02 won the exhibition heat in under 30 seconds. On the men’s side, Mackay and Brian Strickler ’01 finished first and second respectively.

The 200 Individual Medley was a showcase of Eph talent and versatility, as relative novices in the event took the top three spots in both men’s and women’s competition. Erin Anderson ’00 had a strong, smooth swim, coming in just off of the National B cut. C. Anderson and Carissa Carter ’01 followed. Fred Licon ’99, Jeff McBride ’02, and Geoff Allen ’01 swept the men’s event. In exhibition heats scattered throughout the meet, the Ephs also performed well in the longer IM, with Gamblin and Frink turning in impressive performances and Stokes making a National B cut.

The Ephwomen and men took first through third again in the 200-yard butterfly. Warren, Carter, and Gately swam the event uncontested. In one of her first times swimming the 200-butterfly at Williams, Amy Warren ’01 had a solid race and a lifetime best of 2:16.09. On the men’s side, Gamblin cruised to victory, and King and McBride followed. In an exhibition heat of the shorter fly event, John Cole ’00 and Hodel sped to quick 55’s.

Stokes sprinted to another first in the 100-freestyle. Hult made a rare freestyle appearance and showed the range of her talents by placing second. Green was fourth. Oraker dominated the men’s event, with Strickler a close second. Simerman completed his shift from backstroke to the short freestyle events by swimming to third place.

The 200-yard backstroke was a strong event for the Ephmen. Pat McCurdy ’02 swam to a season best of 2:02.94 and was barely out-touched by Polar Bear Matt Hammond. Dave Erickson ’00 split his race well and followed in third. Alex Poole ’00 took fourth. E. Anderson stroked smoothly to victory in the women’s 200 backstroke.

Five Williams men secured the top five places in the 500-yard freestyle. Surprising the crowd and the field from the gutter lane, Paul Friedberg ’01 won the event. Frink was close on his heels. Doob, Davis, and Faust followed. Brennan and Overbay tagteamed Bowdoin in the women’s event. Brennan took a huge lead and finished in a quick 5:08.43, a National B cut.

The final individual event of the meet was the 200-yard breaststroke. Shade had a strong swim, leading a sweep by Wood, Joel Iams ’01, and Fred Hines ’02. C. Anderson single-handedly faced three Polar Bears and swam to a solid third in the women’s event. Shade, Iams, and C. Anderson, accompanied by Elliott Gansner ’02, E. Anderson and Hult, had earlier turned in fast times in an exhibition of the 100-yard event.

In the 200-yard Freestyle Relay, the women placed first and third. The men completed their impressive showing against Bowdoin with a 1-2 finish. Jamie Mackay ’02 and Alex Poole ’00 had good splits for the A team. At the end, eight Williams women combined to swim the 400 Freestyle Relay for time only. Liana Thompson ’01 stood out from the group with her fast lead-off leg.

In a calm and seemingly effortless fashion, the Williams men and women won nearly every event against Bowdoin. The final scores were 118 -79 and 111 – 84 for the women and men, respectively.