Women’s swim aims to reclaim conf. crown

Following a successful 2012-13 season, women’s swimming and diving is looking forward to reclaiming its traditional place at the top of the NESCAC podium when this season comes to a close. The team was undefeated in its in-conference dual meet season last year, losing only to non-conference and Div. I opponent Fordham. Unfortunately, the team narrowly missed capturing the NESCAC title last February, losing by a mere 63 points to rival Amherst, its first loss in 13 years. A few weeks later, though, the 12 swimmers and two divers who attended the Div. III NCAA Championships earned an impressive fourth-place finish for Williams, behind Emory, Denison and Kenyon.

This year’s team is led by tri-captains Aly Levine ’14, Stephanie Nguyen ’14 and McKenzie Murdoch ’14, who look forward to taking back the NESCAC title and leading their team to a top finish at Div. III NCAAs. Though last year’s senior class included powerhouses such as Caroline Wilson ’13, winner of 11 NCAA Div. III titles and the prestigious Swimmer of the Meet award at last year’s competition, the rookie class is a large one and should help the team in its pursuit of dominance.

“We have a very young team this year and graduated one of the best classes to ever swim at Williams,” Head Coach Steve Kuster said. “The team has some areas of strength, but ultimately, we will need to rely on team depth, every member contributing, if we have any chance of regaining the NESCAC title.”

The women are excited and motivated to accomplish these goals and are certainly working hard to do so. They will also be competing against a few out-of-conference Div. I teams in the upcoming weeks. “Get[ting] out of the league and see[ing] some different and most of the time more difficult and experienced competition is useful,” Kuster said. “I like the idea of being pushed, even if the result is a loss. I believe it prepares us well for the rigors of championship competition, especially at NCAAs.”

The team, which has been training in both the weight room and the pool since classes started, kicked off its official season on Nov. 1 and is preparing for its first official dual meet on Friday at Springfield. “Our biggest competition will be Amherst for sure,” said Kuster. “They have to be considered the favorites after winning [the NESCAC Championship] last year and graduating fewer points than we did. I believe the team is motivated to start a new NESCAC winning streak but will need to bring the motivation to practice every day. The road will not be easy, but I look forward to an exciting year.”