Middletown, CT-- Women's Swimming and Diving opened up the first day of competition at the 2012 NESCAC Championships in impressive fashion, winning five out of seven individual events and also capturing two relays. Williams have now won both the 200 yd freestyle and 400 yd medley relays in four consecutive years.
The Ephs opened the meet with a blistering swim in the 200 yd freestyle relay. The 'A' relay squad of Carolyn Geller, Kelsey Roggensack, Catherine Treesh, and Logan Todhunter set a new pool record with a time of 1:35.13. Todhunter had the fastest split of the quartet with a time of 23.63 as the anchor, while Geller, leading off without the benefit of a relay start turned in an extremely impressive split of 23.69. The 'B' squad of Bryn Dunbar, Stephanie Nguyen, Michaela Kearney and Abbie Deal won the second final with a time of 1:37.81. In both instance the Ephs outswam teams from archrival Amherst to get their hands on the wall first.
Next up in the 50 yd breaststroke Williams placed two swimmers in the top heat. Rookie Molly Prindle, competing in her first NESCAC championship, took sixth place with a time of 30.24. Junior Lizzy Visconti would take eighth place with a time of 30.79. The Ephs placed three swimmers in the top heat of the 50 yd butterfly. Senior Logan Todhunter won the event for the fourth consecutive year with a time of 25.17, a new pool record. Junior Kathryn Ha placed second behind Todhunter with a time of 25.47. Sophomore Alyssa Levine placed sixth with a time of 26.19.
Junior Caroline Wilson took away most of the drama in the 500 yd freestyle as she staked an early claim to the lead in the race and never looked back, cruising to victory with a time of 4:53.61. First year Sarah Thompson also had an impressive outing as she pulled away from Amherst's Stephanie Ternullo, the morning's top qualifier, to finish slightly of the winning pace in second (4:55.61). Junior Rebecca Maher made it three Ephs on the championship podium by finishing in seventh place with a time of 5:04.73. Williams showed their depth in the event by placing a further three swimmers in the top 24 slots. Seniors Abbie Deal (18th, 5:07.37) and Kathleen Morrison (21st, 5:20.41), alongside sophomore Julie Okorn (20th, 5:09.90) also grabbed valuable points for the team. In the next event first year Tess Vorselen was the lone Williams entrant in the 50 yd backstroke, where she finished in 10th place with a time of 28.43.
The Ephs have traditionally been extremely strong in the individual medley events, and this year was no exception as the team snagged four of the top six places in the 200 yd event. Junior Katherine O'Leary won the event with a time of 2:05.67, an improvement of nearly half a second over her winning time at last year's championships. Sophomore Stephanie Nguyen placed third, a little under two seconds back, with a time of 2:07.32. Senior Bonnie Patchen was close behind in fourth place (2:08.50) while junior Kelsey Roggensack rounded out the impressive team effort in sixth (2:08.67).
Senior Carolyn Geller, having swept the sprint events at last year's championships, was looking to defend her title in the 50 yd freestyle, a notoriously unpredictable event. Geller made her victory seem somewhat routine, however, surging ahead in the final few yards to finish nearly two tenths ahead of her closest competitor with a time of 23.64. Rookie Catherine Treesh was the next Williams finisher, placing 10th in the event with a time of 24.34. Junior Bryn Dunbar (16th, 24.78) and Deal (23rd, 25.28) rounded out the sprint contingent.
In the 1m diving event sophomore McKenzie Murdoch turned in without question the best performance of her Williams career in taking first place over a stacked field. Murdoch, the runner up at last year's championships, left no doubt that she was the most talented competitor at this years finals, however, by capturing first place by over 20 points with her score of 462.67. Senior Hannah Wilson also dove extremely well, posing a score of 405.38, which catapulted her into third place. This represented a four place improvement over last year's championships, where she placed seventh.
The 400 yd Medley Relay was the source of a final bit of drama on the evening, as the Eph 'A' squad fell dangerously behind in the opening legs. The team of Nguyen, Maher, Todhunter, and Geller, however, executed their strategy to perfection, enabling their later swimmers to come from behind in incredible fashion to capture the victory (3:48.41) and set a new pool record in the process. Todhunter easily had the fastest butterfly leg of the field, over four seconds faster then the Middlebury swimmer she was tracking down. Geller then swam the team home in the final leg with a blistering 50.80 split to confirm the victory. The 'B' squad of Thompson, Wilson, Ha, and O'Leary fell just short in the consolation final, finishing second with a time of 3:55.23.
The Ephs now have a short turnaround before hitting the pool again for preliminary swims tomorrow morning, where they will be looking to build upon the impressive foundation they have laid down. Williams is in first place in the overall team scores with 652 points, followed by Tufts (527), Amherst (453.5), and Middlebury (425.5).