Women’s swimming wins NESCACs

Women’s swimming and diving secured its 15th NESCAC Championship win and third title in a row at Middlebury on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.
Women’s swimming and diving secured its 15th NESCAC Championship win and third title in a row at Middlebury on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.

Women’s swimming (8-0, 4-0 in the NESCAC) won its 15th championship conference title at the NESCAC Championships held at Middlebury from Friday to Sunday. The women accumulated a team score of 2045 points to edge out runner-up Amherst by a 702- point margin. Bates secured third place, while Middlebury and Conn. College rounded out the top five.

Alison McNamara ’19 earned 2016 Rookie of the Meet and diver Ariana Ross ’17 earned Diver of the Year. McNamara snatched an individual title with a pool record of 10.12.30 at the 1000 freestyle and runner-up in the 500 and 1650 freestyles. Ross finished first in her diving events with a score of 434.50 in the 1-meter diving event and a pool record in the 3-meter diving event.

“Our focus for the meet was on being an excellent team – in the water and out – and really making sure that everyone was all in, willing to do whatever they could to make the team better,” Head Coach Steven Kuster said. The Ephs kicked off the event with the 200 free relay where Nguyen, Maia Hare ’19, Lauren Jones ’17 and Faye Sultan ’16 out-touched Conn. College to earn both a pool-record and NCAA provisional time of 1:34.94. The distance contingent consisting of Jones, McNamara, Katie Priest ’18 and Emma Sawkins ’18 snatched the top six positions in the championship final of the 500 freestyle, while Nguyen secured second in the 50 breaststroke. Emma Waddell ’18 set a new NESCAC record in both the exhibition heat of the 50 fly (23.99) as well as the 400 medley relay alongside teammates Jones, Nguyen and Olivia Jackson ’17 in an NCAA provisional time of 3:43.63. Individual titles went to Hare in the 50 freestyle and to Katie Bennett ’16, who narrowly missed her pool-record of 25.67 set in the 50 backstroke.

The women captured six of the eight events completed during day two, including both the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relay in meet-record times. Megan Pierce ’17 repeated as 400 individual medley conference champion with an NCAA ‘A’ cut time in 4:17.47. Waddell, who was victorious in the 200 medley relay alongside Bennett, Clark and Hare, picked up her second consecutive championship title in the 100 butterfly in a staggering 53.37, faster than her own NCAA winning time last March. The women swept the podium spots in the 100 backstroke, as Bennett, Jackson and Priest swam to a top three finish, while Erica Myers ’17 and Maddie Downs ’18 extended the Ephs’ lead with spots in the championship final. Williams concluded the second day with a victory in the 800 freestyle relay, as the quartet composed of Jones, Nguyen, Pierce and Waddell set a new pool record and NCAA ‘A’ cut time in 7:27.00.

The women captured their third consecutive NESCAC title in the final session of the meet. 2015 NCAA runner-up Pierce out-touched McNamara to set a new meet and pool-record of 16:41.90 in the 1650 freestyle. Waddell earned her second individual title of the evening, stopping the clock at 50.35 in the 100 freestyle. Bennett fell shy of the NCAA record of 1:56.23, clocking a meet and pool-record time of 1:57.70 in the 200 backstroke. Nguyen clinched fourth in the 200 breaststroke while Franny Dean ’19 earned a provisional national cut after closing in at 2:20.46. Pierce defended her championship title in the 200 butterfly to secure her fourth NCAA provisional cut of the weekend.After this stellar showing, a select number of Ephs will travel to compete at the 2016 NCAA Division III Championships held in Greensboro, N.C. next month.

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