Women swim past Amherst, men lose in close meet

Two old rivals met again Saturday at the Muir-Samuelson pool. Stands were filled with supporters for both schools, adding energy and intensity to the dual meet.

The Lady Ephs, winning almost every event, defeated Amherst by a considerable margin. The final score was Williams 216, Amherst 84.

Head Coach Steve Kuster was pleased with the Ephs’ performance. “The women swam well,” Kuster said. “I saw the things I was hoping to see. I hope the success of this meet gives us motivation for the rest of the season. “

The women won all but two events, taking first, second and third place finishes in the 100 back, 50 free, 100 fly and both diving events. Williams also dominated the relays, giving very few points to the Amherst team. Two Eph swimmers captured National “A” qualification times – Lindsay Payne ’05 in the 100 breast and Mary Stranghoener ’05 in the 200 fly.

Kuster commented on the contributions made by all members of the team. “Freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors all contributed in big ways,” Kuster said.

Meghan Faughnan ’06 won two events, 100 back (59:32) and 200 back (2:07.27). Payne took first in both the 100 breast (1:04.89) and the 200 breast (2:23.81) and Meredith Olson ’04 was a triple winner, dominating the 100 free (53:88), 200 free (1:55.38) and the 200 IM (2:11.84).

The Williams and Amherst swim teams have a long tradition of rivalry. “This dual meet is so steeped in tradition,” co-captain Anne Mayall ’03 said. “This team was proud to continue the domination that began before us –especially since most of them were in the stands.”

This is the 98th consecutive dual meet victory for the Ephwomen, who are hoping to reach 100 wins by the end of the season.

The women will compete against Bowdoin next week at home.

Eph Men Fall Short in Close Meet

The Williams–Amherst swim meet has traditionally been an incredibly close one, with results often determined by the final relay. Saturday’s meet was no different.

The score fluctuated throughout the day, and both teams posted fast swims. Similar to other years, the results ultimately came down to the final relay, when Amherst pushed ahead to win the meet. The final score was Williams 119.5, Amherst 123.5.

Alums, parents and supporters of both teams filled the stands, enthusiastically cheering for their teams.

Head Coach Steve Kuster commented on the intensity of this meet. “This was, by far, the most incredible meet since I’ve been here.” Hundredths of seconds determined the results for most of the events.

The Eph men expected a close meet against Amherst and knew that the final relay would be important. “My objective was to stay in the meet,” said Kuster. “It came down to us one-twoing the final relay. To one-two a very good team in a relay is not easy.”

The Ephmen finished first and third in the final relay, which was not quite enough to cover the point differentials. “We were certain going into the meet against Amherst that it would be a battle of inches. We fought the good fight,” co-captain Nate Krissoff ’03 said. “Though we didn’t have the points in the end to put us over the top, I couldn’t be prouder of my boys. We put some phenomenal swims and swam on the inspiration from the so many who cheered for us.”

Despite the disappointing final result, most of the Ephs posted best in-season times. Kuster was proud of the entire team. “The guys did an amazing job,” he said.

Brad Brecher ’06 took two events, winning the 100 (48:26) and the 200 free (1:46.51). Will Cunningham ’06 also dominated two events – the 200 IM (1:54.77) and the 200 back (1:53.95). Chris “Scooter” Vollmond-Carstens ’04 finished first in the 500 free (4:47.64) and the 1000 free (9:50.47).

The 100-yard freestyle was a particularly strong event for the Ephmen, who placed first, second, fourth and fifth.

There were also some surprising and unexpected performances by the Ephs. Notably, Brian Carey ’06 came from behind to finish second in the 500 free behind teammate Vollmond-Carstens. It was these unexpected swims that kept the Ephs in the meet.

“I normally don’t swim well during the season,” Carey said. “It was just the atmosphere and support that enabled me to really step it up a level.”

In the past, the Williams men’s team has not had strong diving results. This year, however, with the addition of three first-year divers, the Ephs were able to score some points in the diving events.

John Seldon ’06 placed second on 1-meter and third on 3-meter, picking up additional points for the Ephs. Hopefully, this trend will continue, so that the Ephs can gain even more points in these events.

Kuster hopes the men will be inspired by this meet. “I think the things we can accomplish from this meet are possibly more important than winning this meet.”

Kuster also mentioned the NESCAC championships at the end of the season. “We’ll be back in a month, hoping that our pictures are getting snapped at the end of the meet.”

The Ephs will swim Bowdoin this weekend at home.