Swimming wins 11th consecutive New England title

This past weekend the Williams Women’s Swimming and Diving Team headed up to Bowdoin to prove yet again that there is no better team in New England. Carl Samuelson’s Ephwomen won their 11th consecutive New England title scoring 1419 points, 224 points more than second place Amherst. Middlebury was third with 1149 points.

Friday evening the meet started with a bang for the Ephs as the sprinting quartet of Erin Anderson ’00, Liana Thompson ’01, Carissa Carter ’01 and Amy Warren ’01 placed second in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a blistering 1:36.61. Their time was an automatic (A) cut for NCAA’s and set a school record.

Keeping the momentum going, first-year Cristin Brennan picked up a win and an A cut in the 500-yard freestyle (5:04.00). Teammate Tiffany Talley ’99 swam a quick 5:11.51 for third, giving her a consideration time (B cut) for NCAA’s.

E. Anderson was in a league of her own in the 50-yard breaststroke. She swam the event in 29.69, a Bowdoin pool, New England, and Williams College record.

Throughout the weekend the team was dependent on Jocelyn Sutton ’01 for points in the backstroke events. Sutton rose to the occasion each day. Friday in the 200-yard backstroke she was fourth in 2:11.26, a national B cut. The shortest, fastest event of the meet, the 50-yard freestyle was a showcase for the Eph sprinting depth. Warren won the event in 24.37, a national B cut. Carter was third in 24.79, another B cut.

Finishing the individual swimming events for the day, Britta Hult ’02 and co-captain Jessica Stokes ’99 packed a 1-2 punch in the 200-yard individual medley. Hult won the event in 2:08.96, while Stokes swam a swift 2:09.28 for second. Both were national A cuts. Sophomore Lyssa Castonguay placed 16th in the IM with 2:20.25. The last race of the first day, the 400-yard medley relay was yet another good race for the Ephs. The team of Sutton, E. Anderson, Stokes and Warren swam a fast 3:54.40 for second place and a national A cut.

The 1-meter diving competition was also held on Friday. Leading the way for the Ephs on the boards was junior Heather Cyr who placed sixth with 330.55 points. First-years Niki Cosgrove and Rebecca Steuer came in 13th and 14th with 280.40 and 279.40 points, respectively.

Saturday brought many more amazing swims from the Ephs. Reconvening for the 200-yard medley relay, Sutton, E. Anderson, Stokes and Warren again placed second and again swam a national A cut (1:47.49). Following the relay, Stokes paced the field in the grueling 400-yard individual medley. She won the event in 4:34.92, a national A cut. Teammate Hult was impressive as she swam a season’s best time of 4:37.33, good for third and a national B cut. Seniors Janey Rountree and co-captain Erin Gately added further points in the 400 IM. Rountree swam 4:49.88 for seventh place, while Gately went 4:51.96 for 13th.

Four sophomores pulled in points for the Ephs in the next event, the 50-yard butterfly. Warren won the event in 26.54 while Carter won the consolation final (ninth) in 27.31. Castonguay and Shanahan placed 20th and 22nd in 28.74 and 28.81, respectively. The 200-yard freestyle resulted in another 1-2 finish for Williams. Brennan went 1:55.36, a national B cut, to take the New England title. Teammate Thompson stayed with Brennan for most of the race to finish second in 1:56.50, also a B cut. Talley chipped in eleventh place points with her 1:59.03 and Overbay swam a solid 2:02.97 for 23rd.

Alone in representing the Ephs in their respective events, Sutton and E. Anderson proved that Williams could score points in all the strokes. Sutton placed fourth in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:01.62. E. Anderson swam an impressive 1:04.74 in the 100-yard breaststroke to take the title in that event. Her time was a New England meet record and a national A cut. Finishing up day two, Stokes, Sutton, Thompson and Brennan combined forces to swim the 800-yard freestyle relay. Beating the Amherst relay for the first time all meet, the team touched at 7:50.03 to win the event and secure a national B cut.

Heading into the final day of competition Williams was ahead in the team standings, but not by enough for the women to feel comfortable. Aiming to expand the lead, the sprinters took to the water in the first event of the day, the 100-yard freestyle. In a race where third through sixth places were within a tenth of a second of each other and were decided at the wall, the Williams swimmers showed that they were “tough dudes,” touching in at second, third and fourth. Warren led the Ephs with her 53.64. Stokes was third in 53.82 while Thompson placed fourth in 53.87. All three times were national B cuts. Swimming in an earlier heat, Seys improved upon her morning swim placing 18th in 56.31.

The 1650-yard freestyle was another event where Williams scored some big points. Brennan pulled ahead and won easily in a national A cut of 17:20.58. Talley also outdid the rest of the competition, swimming to second in 17:46.60, a national B cut. Overbay swam a good race to place sixth in 18:15.12. Rountree contributed to the Eph’s score, taking 13th in 18:34.33.

Again solo in their events, Sutton and E. Anderson scored well to help maintain the team’s lead. Sutton took third in the 50-yard backstroke in 29.02. E. Anderson swam a national A cut of 2:20.61 in the 200-yard breaststroke to win that event. Her time was also a New England meet record.

Heading into the last event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, there was no doubt that Williams would win the meet. Yet the last event proved to be one of the most exciting. Swimming alongside the Amherst team for nearly the entire race, the quartet of Thompson, E. Anderson, Warren and Stokes eked out a win in 3:31.10, one one-hundredth of a second ahead of the Amherst relay. The time was a Bowdoin pool record, a New England meet record, and a national A cut.

Further demonstrating the prowess of the Eph swim team, two individuals were honored for their personal achievements after the meet. E. Anderson was named the swimmer of the meet for her record setting performances in the breaststroke events. Co-captain Stokes was awarded the Kay Frommer Award, given to the senior who has scored the most points in four years of swimming at New Englands.