Williamstown, Mass. -- The Ephs entered the final night of the NESCAC Women's Swimming and Diving Championships holding a 274 point lead over second placed Amherst College. They ended the night as NESCAC champions for the eleventh consecutive year by a margin of 324 points. For the swimmers who took part in this evening's celebration, however, it was as sweet as if it was their first championship win in decades.
In the first event of the evening, the 1650 yd freestyle, sophomore Caroline Wilson, the reigning national record holder, competed alongside two of her teammates in the final heat. Wilson would win the event in 16:54.11, an NCAA 'A' cut along with a new pool and NESCAC championship record, although it would be her teammate, senior Erin Altenburger, who turned in perhaps the gutsiest performance of the meet so far in dropping over 30 seconds off her lifetime best to finish in 16:54.46, also an NCAA 'A' cut. Sophomore Rebecca Maher would place seventh in the event, while senior Ryan McChesney, despite not swimming the final heat, would break into the podium spaces by coming in eighth.
In the 100 yd freestyle junior Carolyn Geller faced off against Amherst senior Kendra Stern, the national record holder in the event. Despite facing such an illustrious competitor, Geller turned in an impressive swim of her own, clocking in at 51.64, less then a second behind Stern.
The 200 yd butterfly saw another final heat stacked with swimmers from Williams. The Ephs placed five swimmers out of eight total swimmers in the final heat, including the reigning national champion, Logan Todhunter. Todhunter, obviously feeling the effects of swimming in a three day meet untapered in preparation for the later national championships, was narrowly upset by Connecticut College senior Sarah Murphy, who placed first in a time of 2:02.98.
Murphy would be surrounded by purple jackets on the podium, however, as the Ephs conspired to take the next five consecutive places. Todhunter came in second, with a time of 2:03.60, while Kathryn Ha, a sophomore at Williams, came in third place with a time of 2:03.63. They were followed in turn by junior Bonnie Patchen (fourth) and sophomores Kelsey Roggensack and Katherine O'Leary (fifth and sixth respectively).
The finals of the 3m springboard diving opened up with Amherst senior Meggie Meisinger possessing a comfortable lead over second placed Taylor Stevens from Williams following the voluntary dives this afternoon. The order at the top would not shake itself up too much in the finals, with Meisinger coasting to a 20-point victory over Stevens. Meisinger posted a combined score of 451, whereas Stevens managed to put together an impressive meet of her own with a score of 431.35.
The sheer depth of talent in the Williams squad then made itself known, as first year McKenzie Murdoch came in third place with a score of 419.25, while junior Hannah Wilson made it three Williams divers in the top five by placing fifth. On the backs of these strong performances diving coach Kit Callahan-Koch was named the diving coach of the year.
Other notable individual performances by the Ephs included first year Stephanie Nguyen and senior Ellen Ramsey achieving podium finishes in the 200 yd backstroke (fifth and sixth place respectively) while sophomore Liz Visconti placed fifth in the 200 yd breaststroke.
With the NESCAC team title already sewn up, the Williams College 'A' team put an exclamation point on an exciting weekend of racing in the 400 yd freestyle relay. The team of sophomores Katherine O'Leary and Kelsey Roggensack, along with juniors Logan Todhunter and Carolyn Geller, found themselves behind following the first two legs of relay, trailing teams from Connecticut College and Amherst College. Todhunter, swimming a crucial third leg for the Ephs, first pulled even and then gave her team a slight lead at the final transition. Geller then took the water, seeking to hold off the charging Kendra Stern. Geller, unquestionably the most decorated and clutch sprinter at the meet, was up to the task again, bringing her team home for a first place time of 3:29.14. Amherst, on the back of Stern's 49.96 anchor leg, placed second in a time of 3:30.01. Connecticut College finished third in 3:31.23.
Overall the Ephs have a lot to be proud of the way they conducted themselves in winning this year's championship meet. They will now be looking ahead to the upcoming national championships, where they will be sending a large and talented squad.
Licensed to NESCAC Championship Meet HY-TEK's MEET MANAGER 3.0 2/21/2011
NESCAC Women 2011 - 2/18/2011 to 2/20/2011
2011 NESCAC "Women's" Championships
Team Rankings - Through Event 124
Women - Team Scores
Place School Points
1 Williams College 1923
2 Amherst College 1603
3 Tufts University 1192
4 Connecticut College 1114
5 Bates College 883.5
6 Hamilton College 699
7 Colby College 665
8 Wesleyan University 595
9 Middlebury College 593
10 Bowdoin College 565
11 Trinity College 469.5