Ephs repeat as NESCAC champions

Women’s swimming and diving (8-0, 4-0 NESCAC) ended its conference season on the highest possible note last weekend when the women took home the NESCAC championship. This marks the 14th NESCAC victory for Williams in the past 15 years. The women traveled with a team of 24 to Wesleyan for an exciting three days of racing and diving. The Ephs scored a record number of points to win the meet, finishing with 2103 points, over 700 more than their closest competitor.

The 200 free relay was the opening event for the Ephs on Friday. The team of Emma Waddell ’18, Catherine Treesh ’15, Faye Sultan ’16 and Sarah Thompson ’15 swam to an exciting victory. The relay set a new meet record of 1:34.36 and set the mood for the events to follow. On Friday in the 50 breaststroke, Breanna Nguyen ’16 took third place, while Molly Prindle ’15 took seventh. Anna Epstein ’16, the sole Eph in both the 50 back and 50 fly, took third in both. The 500 free was another event dominated by the Ephs, with Thompson taking first in 4:56.40 and Lauren Jones ’17 finishing second. Waddell also captured an individual meet record in the 200 IM with a time of 2:02.13, followed by sprinters Sultan, Delaney Smith ’18 and Treesh, touching third, fourth and sixth, respectively.

Ari Ross ’17 dove to an impressive first-place finish on the one-meter board, followed by teammate Michelle Higgins ’15. The first day of the meet culminated in a victory and Olivia Jackson ’17, Nguyen, Waddell and Thompson snagging a victory and a meet record in the 400 medley relay. Williams finished the first day of the competition in first place with 686.5 points.

The women continued to dominate the competition in Saturday’s events, beginning with a victory the 200 medley relay. The quartet of Katie Bennett ’16, Olivia Clark ’17, Waddell and Sultan also achieved a pool and meet record for the day. Emma Sawkins ’18, the only Eph in the 1000 free, captured second in a time of 10:21.15. The 400 IM was yet another strong event, in which Megan Pierce ’17 took first, Erica Bucki ’15 finished third and Paige Haller ’16 took sixth. The 100 butterfly was dominated by the Ephs with Waddell taking first, Maddie Downs ’18 in fourth and Sofie Pietrantonio ’17 in fifth. All three Ephs achieved NCAA ‘B’ Cuts. A one-two sweep by Thompson and Jones in the 200 free helped the team widen its lead.

Breaststrokers Nguyen, Clark and Prindle took third, fifth and sixth respectively in the 100. Five Ephs compWSwimTeameted in the championship of the 100 backstroke: Jackson touched first, followed by Bennett, then Katie Priest ’18, Erica Myers ’17 and Sultan in fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively. The Ephs finished the second day with 1406.5 points and a commanding lead over the field.

The final day of competition brought another total points record for Williams. Thompson and Pierce finished first and second in the 1650, touching within half a second of one another to begin the evening. Jackson won the 200 back in a time of 1:58.59, followed closely by teammate Bennett, also under the two-minute mark. Waddell, Sultan and Jones touched first, second and fourth in the 100 free. In the final individual event of the meet, the 200 butterfly, Pierce was victorious. Eph divers Ross and Higgins placed first and second in the three-meter event to finish the diving portion of the meet. Waddell, Jones, Sultan and Thompson blew away the competition in the 400 free relay to finish the meet and set another meet record.

The team is extremely satisfed with its victory. “We approached the weekend as one team, a mindset that payed off with a number of amazing swims. We went into the meet as a unified group ready to race, and we left with a new record number of points scored,” Bucki said.

Emma Waddell was honored with the Freshman of the Year award, while Thompson received both Swimmer of the Meet and Four-Year Swimming High Point. Higgins won the Four-Year Diving High Point award, while Ross was honored as Diver of the Meet. Bucki finished her NESCAC career fifth in the Four-Year Scoring Category.  Several members of the team will continue on to compete at Div. III NCAA Championships in Shenandoah, Texas in March.

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