Women’s swimming and diving defeated Middlebury 211-83 last Saturday in their last dual meet of the season.
The afternoon started off strong. The Ephs took 1-2-4 in the 400 medley relay. The women’s A relay – comprised of Katherine Priest ’18, co-captain Breanna Nguyen ’16, Megan Pierce ’17 and Emma Waddell ’18 – touched in first at a time of 3:58.99, followed by the B team at 4:04.53. This race set the tone for the afternoon as the team transitioned into the individual events.
In the first individual race of the meet, the 1000 freestyle, Emma Sawkins ’18 continued to showcase her talent in distance events by placing first at 10:35.40. Her time for this event is currently the third fastest in the NESCAC.
Olivia Jackson ’17 and Maddie Downs ’18 also bolstered the team’s distance talent by taking first and second in the 500 freestyle at 5:15.57 and 5:16.78, respectively. However, this success was not limited to the longer events; the women demonstrated equal strength in the shorter races.
In the 50 backstroke, the women swept first through third, all finishing within less than a second apart from each other. Waddell placed first at 28.11 seconds, followed by Maia Hare ’19 (28.18 seconds) in second and Anna Epstein ’16 (28.82 seconds) in third. Later, the trio also swept the 50 butterfly with Hare touching first at 25.54 seconds, followed by Waddell (25.75 seconds) and Epstein (27.19 seconds) in second and third, respectively.
The Ephs marched forward with the 100 individual medley, a new addition to the NCAA event lineup as of this year. The top three places were once again taken by Ephs, with only a hundredth of a second separating Pierce (1:00.46) and Waddell (1:00.47) for first place.
Ariana Ross ’17 once again represented the Ephs proudly in diving, taking first on the 1-meter and 3-meter boards. Ross notably topped her personal record on the 3-meter from the day before with a score of 314.25.
In the 400 freestyle relay, the last event of the day, the Ephs took first and second to seal their victory. The all-senior women relay provided further entertainment and excitement but was disqualified due to its abundance of members. Nonetheless, the Ephs still secured a 211-83 victory.
“Going into the final two dual meets of our regular season was extremely exciting, and the team was fired up and ready to race at home for the last time before championships,” Nguyen said. “Racing two days in a row certainly was tiring, but we were able to keep energy high and finished with momentum.”
The day before, the Ephs secured a commanding 217-82 win over the MIT Engineers, a team that went into the dual meet weekend undefeated.
Head Coach Steve Kuster saw the meets this weekend as a way for the team to remain focused even when winning.
“While a close meet with MIT never materialized, the women did a great job of staying motivated and finishing well despite a lopsided win,” Kuster said. “Saturday against Middlebury was a good chance to swim some shoter and off races for many, but mostly it was about sending the seniors off well in their last home dual meet.”
On Jan. 16, the Ephs defeated both Wesleyan and Conn. College with final scores of 233-60 and 198-80, respectively, in the team’s only tri-meet of the season. On Jan. 9, the women defeated Amherst by a score of 180-114.
The women will begin their championship season at the Middlebury Invitational in Middlebury, Vt. this Friday at 5:30 p.m.