Swimming posts strong times at NCAAs

Sarah Thompson ’15 won the 500 freestyle and the 1650 freestyle at the NCAA Championships.
Sarah Thompson ’15 won the 500 freestyle and the 1650 freestyle at the NCAA Championships.

On March 19, the combined women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams had 11 women and 13 men compete in the NCAA Div. III national meet in Indianapolis, Ind. For the women, qualifiers included Katie Bennett ’16, Olivia Clark ’17, Olivia Jackson ’17, Lauren Jones ’17, Breanna Nguyen ’16, Megan Pierce ’17, Faye Sultan ’16, Sarah Thompson ’15, and co-captain Alyssa Levine ’14 in the swimming events, as well as divers Michelle Higgins ’15 and McKenzie Murdoch ’14. On the men’s side, the squad consisted of swimmers Nathaniel Boley ’17,

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Christian Gronbeck ’15, Colin Hogan ’17, Grant Johnson ’17, Tim Lattimer ’15, Ben Lin ’17, Alex McCarter ’16, Peter McDonald ’16, Alex Nanda ’15, Thad Ricotta ’15, co-captain Sean Sutherland ’14 and Jake Tamposi ’16, along with diver Rohan Bhatt ’15. After strong showings at their respective NESCAC championship meets, Head Coach Steve Kuster looked forward to a strong showing on the national level.

The women started the meet strong, with a win in the 500 freestyle from Thompson in 4:48.19. The 200 medley relay team of Bennett, Nguyen, Levine and Sultan finished eighth, earning them All-American status. Bennett also swam to a 14th-place finish in the 200 IM, and the women took fifth place by the end of the first day. On the men’s side, the 200 medley relay of Lin, Tamposi, Ricotta and Johnson took seventh in a time of 1:30.28. Ricotta and Gronbeck took 11th and 12th, respectively, in the 500 freestyle, contributing to the ninth-place position at the end of the first day.

The women put up another strong showing on Day Two, beginning with a national championship in the 400 IM from Pierce in a time of 4:19.94. Thompson took second in the 200 freestyle, while the 200 free relay, consisting of Sultan, Nguyen, Jones and Thompson took ninth. Levine took 13th in the consolation final of the 100 butterfly. In the diving, Murdoch took sixth, while Higgins captured ninth place with respective scores of 424.40 and 411.60. For the men, the 400 medley relay team of Lin, Tamposi, Ricotta and Nanda shattered both the school and NESCAC records in the morning session, but was disqualified during their swim at finals. The 400 IM was another strong event for the men, with Lattimer finishing tenth and Hogan touching 14th in addition to swimming a lifetime best time. Lin took ninth in the 100 butterfly as well, and the men finished Day Two in 12th place.

The women held on to fifth place in the competition through Day Three, beginning with Bennett’s ninth-place finish in the 100 backstroke event. Nguyen took 19th in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:05.06. Levine, finishing her career as an Eph, finished 20th in the 200 butterfly while Pierce finished 16th in the event. Day Three was strong for the men’s team, who moved into 11th place. Ricotta broke his own school record in the 200 butterfly and finished fourth in a time of 1:47.48, while Lin broke his own record in the 100 backstroke, posting a time of 48.27 and also finishing fourth. Tamposi broke a school record in the 100 breaststroke, swimming to a ninth-place finish in a time of 55.69 seconds. Sutherland swam his final race as an Eph, finishing 29th in

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the 200 butterfly.

The final night of the NCAA competition was started by Thompson, who won the 1650 in 16:31.17, followed by Pierce in 16.51.46, which earned her fifth place. Bennett finished third in the 200 backstroke in a personal best time of 1:59.28, followed by Jackson in tenth. The relay team of Sultan, Nguyen, Jones and Thompson placed ninth in the 400 freestyle relay, solidifying the women’s team in fifth place. The men had another strong day, moving up the standings to end the meet in eighth place. Lin, Boley and Hogan all swam strong 200 backstroke races, finishing third, tenth and 16th respectively. Gronbeck swam a best time in the 1650 to finish ninth. Lattimer also finished eighth in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:01.59. Overall, the meet was a strong one for both the men’s and women’s teams, and team members look forward to beginning next season on a positive note.

“I am incredibly proud of how we finished out the championship season this winter,” Levine said. “Our NESCAC performance made a clear statement about how we have grown as a team this past year, and NCAAs only solidified that. Our team is young, and I am certain that the group will only continue with this momentum in the next few years.”

At the conclusion of their season, the women graduate Levine, Murdoch and co-captain Stephanie Nguyen ’14. The men will lose Sutherland, Martin Soderstrom ’14, Eric Liao ’14, Liam Gallagher ’14 and co-captain Chris Greeno ’14.