Women’s swimming pushes past MIT

Following the team’s winning start to the season in November, women’s swimming and diving (4-0-1) has continued its streak with victories at its last three meets. The women dashed off their third and fourth victories against Amherst on Jan. 5 and MIT last Friday. In their first conference meet versus Conn. College on Dec. 8, the women maintained a substantial lead throughout and came away with an impressive 205-82 victory.

With their most recent win last Friday against powerhouse MIT, the women remain undefeated against Div. III opponents. The women did not allow the long week of practice following their epic Amherst victory to slow them down in the slightest. “After such an exciting meet [at Amherst], it was tough to turn around just a few days later to race MIT, but we were determined not to let them get the best of us,” co-captain Liz Visconti ’13 said. “MIT is ranked ahead of us in national polls, so that definitely fueled our fire, and we are very excited to have pulled off the win.”

After placing second in the 400 IM relay by .02 of a second, the women turned it around to sweep the 1650 freestyle with Becca Maher ’13 in first, Sarah Austin ’16 in second and Erica Bucki ’15 in third. The meet continued in Williams’ favor from that point onward. The duo of Sarah Thompson ’15 and Faye Sultan ’16 touched one-two in the 100 freestyle and the women exhibited their strength in the distance events with another sweep of the 500 freestyle. The team’s depth in the butterfly events was also notable, especially in the 100 butterfly where KC Ha ’13, Kelsey Roggensack ’13 and Anna Epstein ’16 placed second, third and fourth, respectively.

On Jan, 5, after the team’s training trip and an early return to campus, Williams faced off with archrival Amherst in its first home meet of the season. Thrilled to be racing at home and in front of a house full of fans, the women performed to their highest ability, in many cases sweeping events and posting in-season best times. This decisive 187-107 win secured the team’s dominance over last year’s NESCAC runner-up and marked the fifth straight win for Williams over Amherst.

Notable races included a one-two finish for Kate O’Leary ’13 and Maher in the 1000 freestyle, a one-two finish in the 200 butterfly by Roggensack and Paige Haller ’16, and a one-two-three sweep in the 200 backstroke by Katie Bennett ’16, Stephanie Nguyen ’14 and Tess Vorselen ’15. Co-captain Caroline Wilson ’13 and Thompson dominated the 200 freestyle, charging to the wall in a tight one-two finish. Wilson and Thompson both went on to earn individual wins later in the exciting meet, in the 200 breaststroke and 500 freestyle, respectively.

Despite the lack of intense competition against Conn. College on Dec. 8, the women put up some very respectable times. O’Leary led the pack with first-place finishes in the 1000 freestyle and 200 breaststroke and second in the 400 IM. The rookie class touched in first in many events, including Breanna Nguyen ’16 in the 200 freestyle, Maddy Holker ’16 in the 100 butterfly and Bennett in the 100 backstroke. This talented new generation of swimmers helped carry the rest of the deeply talented team to victory in Connecticut’s home pool.

The women successfully proved their power within the Div. III circuit and now continue to gear up for this weekend’s doubleheader against Springfield on Saturday and NESCAC opponents Tufts and Wesleyan on Sunday. Both start at 1 p.m. in the Muir-Samuelson pool.