Ephs set to defend 11th straight NESCAC crown

Women’s swimming will look to turn in another strong season after a successful 2010-11 campaign. The women earned third at the Div. III NCAA Champioships last year, finishing with their highest point total since 1981.

Caroline Wilson
Caroline Wilson ’13 will lead the team after winning the national title in the 400 IM last season. Photo courtesy of Sports Information

The Ephs also claimed their 11th consecutive NESCAC title and are defending a three-year streak as Little Three champions.

The team graduated six seniors last year, “all of whom were significant contributors both as point scorers and team leaders,” according to Head Coach Steve Kuster. The graduates included Jillian Hancock ’11, who holds the 200 freestyle team record and was part of the team’s record-breaking 800 freestyle relay last season. Erin Altenburger ’11, who was part of the relay teams that broke the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle relay team records last year, will also be missed.

The women add seven rookies this season. “Without [the graduated seniors] our team loses some depth,” co-captain Logan Todhunter ’12 said, “but the freshmen are fast and are all significant contributors to the team.”

In addition to relying on the rookies, Kuster expects to depend on the sophomore class more. “We continue to have some great talent, but I am not sure we are as deep as we have been in past years,” Kuster said. “I will also be looking to get increased contributions from my sophomore class.”

Todhunter captured three national titles last season for the 200 butterfly, 100 butterfly and 200 IM. Returner Caroline Wilson ’13 will also be critical to the team’s success after winning the 500 freestyle and 400 IM events at the Div. III NCAA Championships last season.

Todhunter summarized the women’s goals, saying, “We want to be undefeated this season, dominate at NESCACs and send as many people to Nationals as we can.”

Kuster emphasized that the team must continually improve to accomplish those goals. “I always want my swimmers swimming faster than they ever have and the divers to perform better than they ever have,” he said. “If we can do that, the other goals will follow. We’ve got a very good team but will need everyone firing on all cylinders to reach our full potential.”

The women will open their season at home against Union on Saturday at 1 p.m.

“We’ve had a couple of very good team performances at NCAAs over the last several years,” Kuster said. “I expect to have another good season, but I think we will have to work for everything we get. We will have a very good early season test against [Boston College] and Fordham on Dec. 3.”