Women’s swimming crushes NESCAC foes

Women’s swimming and diving ravaged the competition at the NESCAC Championships this weekend. Hosting the three-day competition as the top-ranked team, the women put together a commanding 1961-point victory to bury Amherst in second place with 1637 points. The NESCAC title marks the women’s 11th consecutive conference title.
The Ephs started Friday’s meet with a first-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay. The relay squad, composed of co-captain Erin Altenburger ’11, Olivia Card-Childers ’11, Logan Todhunter ’12 and Carolyn Geller ’11 brought home a ‘B’ cut on its way to a new pool record of 1:34:57.
Todhunter and Geller continued their night with more pool records. Todhunter took home first in the 50 butterfly, while Geller dominated in the 50 freestyle. Card-Childers also earned a podium position in the 50 freestyle, racing to eighth in the finals.
In the 500 freestyle, Caroline Wilson ’13 nabbed second, with Altenburger securing fourth and Jillian Hancock ’11 swimming into eighth. The Ephs also impressed in the 200 individual medley, sending four swimmers to the championship heat. The women dominated the podium in the event: Katherine O’Leary ’13 claimed first, co-captain Ellen Ramsey ’12 raced into second, Bonnie Patchen ’12 sped into third and rookie Stephanie Nguyen ’14 brought home fifth.
The women finished the day with a dominant 400 medley relay performance. The team of Rebecca Maher ’13, Nguyen, Todhunter and Geller smashed the pool record to earn first place and a ‘B’ cut for nationals.
The divers also earned podium positions in Friday’s one-meter competition. McKenzie Murdoch ’14 fell just short of first place, claiming second with a score of 411.90 points. Hannah Wilson ’12 took seventh, and co-captain Taylor Stevens ’11 reached the podium with an eighth-place finish.
The Ephs entered the second day of competition with a 142-point lead over the Jeffs, and Saturday’s performances pounded the women’s lead into place. The day started with the 200 medley relay, and the Ephs raced an ‘A’ squad of KC Ha ’12, Liz Visconti ’13, Todhunter and Geller. The women faced tough competition from the Conn. College squad: The race was still undecided going into the 150-yard mark. Geller, however, dominated in the final leg to bring home the win with a time of 1:46.82, nearly a full second ahead of the second-place Camels.
Altenburger crushed the championship record in the 1000 freestyle. Her time of 10:02.82 put her over 20 seconds in front of the second-place finisher and marked a three-second improvement over the previous NESCAC Championship record. Fellow Ephs Maher and Julie Okorn ’14 placed fourth and sixth, respectively, in the event’s final heat.
The women controlled the 400 individual medley, sending four swimmers to the final heat. Caroline Wilson destroyed the pool record with a time of 4:23.97 on her way to first place and an ‘A’ cut. O’Leary also earned an ‘A’ cut with her second-place finish. Both Patchen and Ramsey earned ‘B’ cuts in third and fourth, respectively.
Todhunter unleashed another dominant performance in the 100 butterfly to claim her third-straight NESCAC championship in the event and an ‘A’ cut in 55.84. Ha swam to second place for a ‘B’ cut, while Kelsey Roggensack ’13 also brought home a ‘B’ cut with her fifth-place finish. Aly Levine ’14 rounded out the women’s podium in sixth.
The second day closed with the 800 freestyle relay. Caroline Wilson drove home a victory for the women; Ramsey, Hancock and Ryan McChesney ’11 also contributed to the women’s final victory of the day.
Despite entering Sunday’s competition with a 274-point lead, the women were determined to turn in top swims throughout the day and continue to control the competition. “Everyone on the team is extremely competitive, and we aren’t satisfied by just winning,” Ramsey said. “Every year it’s our goal to win by more than we ever have before.”

The day opened with the Ephs claiming four podium spots and two ‘A’ cuts in the 1650 freestyle. Caroline Wilson set a new NESCAC Championship and pool record at 16:54.11. Altenburger also impressed, trimming 30 seconds off her previous personal best to claim second and an ‘A’ cut. Maher placed seventh, and McChesney filled out the podium in eighth despite sitting out the final heat. Though Camel Sarah Murphy claimed victory in the event, the women dominated the podium in the 200 butterfly. Murphy narrowly edged Todhunter out of first, but the Eph’s second-place finish was followed by Ha in third, Patchen in fourth, Roggensack in sixth and O’Leary in seventh.
In the final race of the day, the women added an exciting victory to their already-decisive lead. O’Leary, Roggensack, Todhunter and Geller saw Conn. College and Amherst take the lead after the first two legs of the 400 freestyle relay. Todhunter drew even with the leader in the third leg, securing a slight advantage as Geller hit the water. Geller’s competitor, Amherst’s Kendra Stern, had commanded her races up to that point, but Geller was able to pull away with the victory in an impressive split that finished the relay in 3:29.14.
The women’s dominance in the relays was a nod to the depth of the team. “Relays are the most important races we do,” Ramsey said. “This year the team wanted to win every relay, so we had to rely on everyone to get it done.”
The women also posted impressive performances in the three-meter diving competition. Stevens took second and was closely followed by Murdoch in third, while Hannah Wilson brought home fifth. The women’s performances were a testament to the type of training that earned Head Diving Coach Kit Callahan Koch the nod as NESCAC Diving Coach of the Year at the competition.

The women look next to Div. III national championships on March 23-26 in Knoxville, Tenn., with a large contingent of qualified ‘A’ cut and ‘B’ cut swimmers. “This year, NCAAs are a week later, which gives us more training time and a better opportunity to swim faster in Tennessee,” Ramsey said. “The main goal is always to work on things from NESCACs so everyone gets faster.”