Twenty-three swimmers headed to Nationals

Having wrapped up the Women’s and Men’s New England titles for the eleventh and twelfth consecutive years, respectively, the women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams are now looking towards even bigger challenges at Division III NCAA’s. Women’s nationals are this week in Oxford, OH. Men’s nationals are the following week in Minneapolis, MN.

The Williams women’s team is sending a small but talented squad to dual with powerhouses such as Kenyon and Denison. Kenyon has won the last fifteen NCAA women’s championships.

The Ephwomen should be strong as they return seven members of their national team from last year. Co-captain Jessica Stokes ’99, Tiffany Talley ’99, Erin Anderson ’00, Heather Cyr ’00, Jocelyn Sutton ’01, Liana Thompson ’01 and Amy Warren ’01 all garnered All-American honors last year and will all be counted upon to contribute to this year’s national effort.

Leading the way is Stokes, the defending national champion in the 200-yard individual medley. She has the ability to place well in numerous events and will be relied upon for her experience and leadership in and out of the pool. Talley will also be looked to for senior leadership and some strong distance swims.

Anderson will also be a major force for the Ephs. She has won the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke races at nationals the past two years and she is seeded at the top of these events again this year. Her classmate Cyr, the team’s lone diver, will be depended on for points in the 1 and 3-meter events.

From the sophomore class, Warren and Thompson will be depended upon in the sprint and mid-distance freestyle events, respectively. Sutton will represent the Ephs in the backstroke events.

Adding to this group of swimmers are four other Ephwomen who will try to help Williams towards the top. Charis Anderson ’01 qualified for nationals in the 100 and 200-yard butterflies. The New England champion in the 200, she is poised to do well in both. Another sophomore, Carissa Carter, will be swimming alongside Warren in the 50-yard freestyle.

The first-years will also provide some crucial points for Williams. Britta Hult ’02 has a dynamite individual medley and will look to place highly in both the 200 and 400-yard races.

Cristin Brennan ’02 is the team’s top distance swimmer and will provide the best in the nation with some good competition in the 200, 500 and 1650-yard freestyles. Brennan won all three of these events at New Englands.

The team will look to the relays for valuable points, which are always a strength for the talented Eph squad. All five relays qualified for the meet, and all are seeded in the top five in the country.

Kenyon has also dominated the competition on the men’s side, capturing the past 19 titles. Denison’s strong men’s team is also always near the top. The Williams men should be able to hold their own though, as they bring a team of eleven swimmers and one diver to Minnesota.

The men’s team returns last year’s entire national team. Last year, Cyrus King ’00, Chris Wendell ’00 and Geoff Allen ’01 were the only Ephs invited to the meet, so this year’s team should not have much difficulty improving on last year’s finish.

The men’s team will have significant leadership as co-captains Jon Shade ’99 and Mike Hodel ’99 both qualified to compete at nationals. Both will be looked to for strong performances in the relays, and Shade should place well in the breaststroke.

Other swimmers the team will use as leaders in the water are Fred Licon ’99 and King. Licon is a top seed in both the 50 and 100-yard freestyles and has the potential to score big in his last college meet. King, an All-American last year, has been a major force for the Ephs in the backstroke and individual medley events. He will be depended on for points in those events. Diver Wendell, an All-American last year, will also be needed to pick up some points on the boards.

Also critical to the success of this year’s national team will be first-year Jeff McBride. McBride won the 200, 500 and 1650-yard freestyles at New Englands and is seeded well in these events at nationals. Todd Gamblin, another freshman, hopes to contribute in the 200 backstroke.

Three of the men’s relays advanced to the meet, and the Ephs will be looking to capitalize on the high point scoring opportunities of relays. Helping in this effort will be juniors John Cole, Jason Frink and Alex Poole, and sophomores Tom Pickard and Allen.

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