Women’s swimming wins conference

Women’s swimming performed outstandingly at last weekend’s NESCAC championship, winning the meet and completing an undefeated season. The women wasted no time in jumping ahead of their New England competition, leading rivals Amherst, Tufts and Middlebury by 175 points after only one day of competition.

“I thought it was an impressive battle,” co-captain Amanda Nicholson ’09 said. “I think we can be very proud of giving it all that we had this weekend.”

The team got off to a great start, winning the 200 yard freestyle relay with a NESCAC record-breaking time of 1:34.38. The race was a close one for Kristin McIntosh ’09, who anchored the Eph relay and beat out the Jeffs by less than a second. The Ephs had a similarly exciting win in the next event, the 50 yard breaststroke, in which Courtney Asher ’09 took first place.

The Ephs broke another NESCAC record in the 50 yard butterfly when Logan Todhunter ’12 put up the winning time of 24.55. Todhunter, who was recently featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” feature, said that this weekend’s meet was the most exciting of her life. “There were some very fast swims and many close and exciting races,” she said.

Erin Altenburger ’11 took second place in the 500 yard freestyle, losing to Amherst swimmer Kendra Stern by just over a second and finishing with a final time of 4:58.90. Jillian Hancock ’11 also performed well in the 500, taking fourth place with a time of 5:01.46. The 50 yard backstroke played out similarly, with Olivia Card-Childers ’11 finishing second with a time of 27.30.

The women swept the 200 yard individual medley, with Ellen Ramsey ’11 taking first, Nicholson taking second and Bonnie Patchen ’12 third. Though the Ephs were significantly ahead of their rivals, the event provided some exciting inter-team competition, with Ramsey out-touching Nicholson by only .03 seconds. Carolyn Geller ’12 placed third in the 50 yard freestyle with a time of 24.27.

Kera McClelland ’10 placed sixth in the one-meter diving finals, with Taylor Stevens ’11 and Naima Ford ’11 following in seventh and eighth. The first day ended with a thrilling top place finish in the 400 yard medley relay, in which the women broke the championship meet record with a time of 3:47.80.

Day two began with an equally exciting relay win, when the 200 yard medley relay broke another meet record with a time of 1:45.58. The individual events also continued to showcase the Ephs’ talent. Altenburger’s time of 10:07.85 not only won her the 1000 yard freestyle, but also broke Bowdoin’s pool record. Mary Wilson Molen ’09 took second place with a time of 10:26.98.

The team followed up such feats with another sweep in the 400 yard individual medley by Nicholson, Patchen and Ramsey. Patchen’s winning time of 4:20.59 broke the championship meet record.

As day two continued, Williams had more exciting wins and close finishes. Todhunter got a chance to exhibit her skills once again with her first-place finish in the 100 yard butterfly. Hancock finished second in the 200 yard freestyle, Asher took first in the 100 yard breaststroke and Altenburger took first in the 100 yard backstroke. The women ended the day with a second place swim in the 800 yard freestyle relay.

Day three was slightly less exciting, though the Ephs enjoyed a few first-place finishes and several close races. Molen took second in the 1650 yard freestyle. A first place finish for Nicholson and a second place finish by Ramsey in the 200 yard backstroke followed. Hancock claimed third in the 100 yard freestyle, with Geller coming in fourth. Asher finished first in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:24.02.

The highlight of the day was Todhunter’s record-breaking swim in the 200 yard butterfly. She finished with a 1:59.78, well ahead of the competition. Stevens took third place in the three-meter diving. The meet ended with an electrifying swim from the 400 yard freestyle relay, which finished first and broke the championship meet record with a time of 3:27.14.
The Ephs finished with a total team score of 1827.5 points after three days of competition, making this meet the ninth consecutive NESCAC championship win for the women. The team will now begin preparing for NCAAs in mid-March. “Going into NCAAs we are definitely improving on our NESCAC performance and getting everyone going in top condition to race,” Nicholson said.