Women’s swimming and diving started its season off strong on Saturday, beating Conn. College 180-108. Williams took charge of the meet winning 12 out of 16 events with eight Ephs picking up individual titles.
“It’s always good to start out the season on a positive note,” Kristan McIntosh ’09 said. “This weekend both boosted our confidence in some areas as well as showed us other areas that we can improve upon. Overall I think we did really well as a team.”
Williams got out to an early lead, winning the first event. Co-captain Amanda Nicholson ’09, Lisa Cuculo ’10, Erin Altenburger ’11 and rookie Bonnie Patchen ’12 took the top spot in the 200 medley relay. Just under a second later, another Williams team of Nancy McInerney ’11, co-captain Courtney Asher ’09, Olivia Card-Childers ’11 and Carolyn Gellar ’12 finished the event in second.
The next event was the 1000 yard breaststroke. In it, the Ephs dominated the Camels, finishing in the top four spots. Nicholson placed first in 10:40.01, with Mary Wilson Molen ’09 only a second behind her. Rookies Kathleen Morrison ’12 and Lauren Goldstein-Kral ’12 took the third and fourth spots respectively.
Williams cleaned up in the 1-meter diving, with Taylor Stevens ’11, Denise Duquette ’09, Hannah Wilson ’12 and Hannah Baker ’09 taking the top four spots in that order. The Ephs then took the top three spots in the 200 backstroke with Nicholson again placing first. She was closely followed by Ellen Ramsey ’11 and Anna Szymanski ’12. In the next event, Williams also claimed first, second and third as Asher finished the 200 breaststroke in the top spot with a time of 2:31.38. Lisa Chu ’10 and Claire Monroy ’09 were the next two finishers. In the 500 freestyle Altenburger won the event, with Joanna Hoffman ’10 and Ryan McChesney ’11 taking second and third.
While Williams did not claim the top spot in the final four events, the team’s strong start in the meet sealed its 180-108 win. Head Coach Steve Kuster was impressed with the team effort on Saturday. “More than individuals who stood out, what I liked to see was the spread of different people winning and contributing in different events,” Kuster said.Ã‚Â “We had a couple of multiple winners, but had at least nine different people win events. This team is deep and it was nice to see some of that show.”
The depth of this season’s squad has a lot to do with the impressive collegiate debuts of the first-year swimmers. Gellar and Patchen earned top spots in their individual events, while also contributing to the success of the Ephs’ relay teams.
With a win under their belts, the women look forward to the rest of the season. “It is definitely nice to start the season with a win, but we know that this is only the beginning,” Nicholson said. “It was important to us to start the season off on the right foot with our first win, and hopefully we can keep it up throughout the rest of our dual meet season.”
Williams will keep practicing and improving in the next few weeks before its next meet against Boston College and Fordham on Dec. 6.
“It is early in the season so there are lots of things that I hope will be better,” Kuster said. “In our next meet we will be tested in a much different way, so the women will have to be better as far as how they swim their races and also how they handle themselves in a much more competitive meet. I am really excited to see the women challenged (possibly more in this meet than any other this year). It will be interesting to see how they respond.”