After finishing its regular season undefeated, women’s swim (8-0) turned its sights to the Middlebury Invitational, a two-day meet on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at Middlebury, where the women competed against several teams, including Tufts and Amherst. The meet provided a competitive, pre-NESCACs atmosphere, enhanced by the large portion of swimmers who arrived with their championship suits and tapered for their races.
The Ephs performed strongly, with Catherine Treesh ’15, Emma Nuzzo ’16, Erica Myers ’17 and co-captain Steph Nguyen ’14 capturing the first title of the meet in the 200 freestyle relay. The Ephs continued their strong showing throughout the Friday night session, with season-best swims by Erica Bucki ’15 and Sarah Austin ’16 in the 1000 freestyle, followed by Olivia Clark ’17 and co-captain Aly Levine ’14 in the 200 IM. Treesh and teammate Isabella Salmi ’17 were among the tapered swimmers at the meet, and they performed well, with fast swims in several relays and their individual events. Treesh took second in the 50 freestyle and posted a season-best time in the 100 freestyle, while Salmi crushed her best time in the 500 freestyle, dropping an amazing 12 seconds.
Lauren Jones ’17 took first in the 400 IM, while Megan Pierce ’17 won the 200 freestyle. Breanna Nguyen ’16 captured second in the 100 breaststroke, while Nuzzo finished fourth against some tough competition. Sarah Thompson ’15 also performed well, crossing the five-minute mark in the 500 freestyle.
On Jan. 25, the women faced off against Middlebury, winning the meet at home. Notable performances came from Jones, who won the 1000 freestyle by 20 seconds. Faye Sultan ’16 set a season-best mark in the 200 freestyle in 1:57.01. In the diving competition, Michelle Higgins ’15 won the one meter, while McKenzie Murdoch ’14 won the three meter.
On Jan. 24, Williams defeated MIT. In the 1650 free, Thompson touched the wall first in 17:03.60, followed closely by Pierce and Bucki. Pierce, Sofie Pietrantonio ’17 and Paige Haller ’16 swept the 200 butterfly, and Breanna Nguyen, Clark and Molly Prindle ’15 came in first, second and third in the 200 breaststroke.
Williams will host the NESCAC Championships this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Samuelson-Muir Pool, and the Ephs are tapering in the hopes of dominating the meet. The NESCAC title is a coveted one for the women, who had their extensive winning streak broken last year by their rivals at Amherst. The women’s undefeated dual-meet season bodes well, though they will be up against strong squads from schools such as Amherst and Middlebury, as well as other NESCAC teams who were not part of their dual-meet line up.
“I’m looking forward to what this team can do,” Steph Nguyen said, “This
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season has been great so far: undefeated with incredible support for one another. NESCACs is a time for the team to come together even closer (not sure how that will be possible!) and have one goal: make the team the best it can be to take back the title.”
“This is the first NESCACs for us that going into it we are not the heavy favorites,” Levine said. “I think that it’s a really exciting opportunity to get competitive as a team and work together to reclaim our NESCAC title. We have come a long way as a group in the past year, and I think we are ready for the challenge. It’s going to take a solid contribution from every member of the team, and I’m looking forward to seeing individuals step up for the sake of the team.”