Women’s swimming dominates at Midd.

Women’s swimming and diving traveled to Middlebury to compete for two consecutive weekends. On Saturday, Middlebury hosted its annual invitational, where the women were pitted against swimmers from Dartmouth, Amherst, University of Vermont and Marywood. With Middlebury currently suspended from competition due to a hazing incident, Williams dominated the competition. The women also competed at Middlebury on Jan. 29, bringing home a decisive 199-100 victory after dropping Springfield at home Jan. 22 by a margin of 196-95.

Erin Altenburger ’11 won the 100 backstroke and cruised to victory in the 500 freestyle to jumpstart competition on Saturday. Other event winners included Logan Todhunter ’12 in the 200 freestyle, Liz Visconti ’13 in the 100 breaststroke, Bonnie Patchen ’12 in the 100 butterfly, KC Ha ’13 in the 100 freestyle and Caroline Wilson ’13 in the 200 individual medley. Other outstanding performances included Kate O’Leary ’13 in the 200 individual medley, which snagged her an NCAA ‘B’ cut.

Diving also had an exceptional performance, sweeping the competition and taking first through fourth. Overall, the meet had an exciting championship atmosphere, which was excellent practice for NESCACs in two weeks.

“While there are obviously talented swimmers from other NESCACs schools our main challenge [at NESCACs] will be from within,” said co-captain Ellen Ramsey ’11. “We focus on pressuring each other to race and swim fast to both win the meet and get as many girls to qualify for NCAAs as we can.”

One week prior to the Middlebury Invitational, the team competed in a regular season meet against Middlebury. A 199-100 Eph victory rounded out the team’s dual meet season and improved the women’s conference record to 4-0. Several women earned NCAA ‘B’ cuts, including Stephanie Nguyen ’14 in the 200 backstroke, O’Leary in the 400 individual medley, Altenburger in the 1650 freestyle, Ha in the 200 butterfly and Wilson for her swims in the 200 backstroke and 400 individual medley. The distance swimmers also turned in strong performances, as Altenburger, Ryan McChesney ’11, Rebecca Maher ’13 and Julie Okorn ’14 claimed first through fourth in the mile. Maher and McChesney also followed first-place finisher Jillian Hancock ’11 in a sweep of the 500 freestyle.
Diving continued its impressive season, claiming first, second and third on both boards. McKenzie Murdoch ’14 claimed the one meter, while Taylor Stevens ’11 took first on the three.

In the meet against Springfield, the women dominated once again. The Ephs won every event and claimed 11 sweeps on the day. The women opened with a win in the 400 medley relay, as Nguyen, Wilson, Todhunter and Carolyn Geller ’12 cruised to first. Todhunter had a banner day, leading the women to sweeps of the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke while anchoring the winning 200 freestyle relay. Altenburger also spearheaded the Ephs, claiming first to lead her teams to sweeps in both the 1000 freestyle and 200 backstroke. O’Leary claimed victory for the women in the 200 butterfly and the 100 butterfly, leading the women to yet another sweep of the Springfield squad. The diving competition was particularly tight, but Murdoch was ultimately able to bring home first place in both the one meter and two meter diving competitions.

Williams will take this weekend off before hosting the women’s NESCAC Championships Feb. 18-21.

“With the team’s performances thus far and with a couple weeks of rest, I am confident that we are prepared to swim even faster and continue our dominant streak at the NESCAC meet,” Ramsey said.

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