Brunswick, ME—Looking to earn their thirteenth consecutive NESCAC conference title, Women's Swimming and Diving traveled to Bowdoin for the first of three days of competition to determine this year's champion. Following the completion of the first day the Ephs jumped emphatically to the top of the leader-board (733.5 points), holding a sizeable lead over second placed Amherst (655.5 points).
First year Anna Epstein made an authoritative debut in her first championship meet with a pair of runner-up finishes in the 50 yd backstroke and 50 yd butterfly. Having set a new Williams record in the backstroke during the morning preliminary swims (26.29), over half a second faster than the previous mark, Epstein would drop even more time in the evening, finishing in 26.17. The extra effort would not prove enough, however, to unseat the defending conference champion, Maggie Rosenbaum of Hamilton, who took first place in 25.80, a new conference record. Another first year, Faye Sultan, ably assisted Epstein at the top of the podium, placing third with an equally impressive time of 27.02. Making Epstein's performance even more inspiring was the fact that it came mere moments after the awards ceremony for the 50 yd butterfly, where she also claimed second place. Her time of 25.25 was just ahead of teammate Aly Levine, who took third place in 25.71. Senior KC Ha made it three Ephs in the top five slots by grabbing fifth place with a time of 25.90.
First year Katie Bennett set a second school record in the first day of competition. Leading off the 400 yd medley relay during the preliminary heats, her time of 56.99 in the backstroke leg represents a new Williams record in the 100 yd backstroke, lowering the previous mark of 57.07. Bennett would be unable to lower her mark any further in the championship final of the relay in the evening (57.12), but will have two more chances to do so, in the preliminaries and finals of the 100 yd backstroke on Saturday.
Swimming in their final NESCAC championships, Williams' strong senior class came out determined to leave a lasting legacy behind them. Senior co-captain Caroline Wilson led the way with a pair of runner up finishes. In the 500 yd freestyle Wilson placed second (4:53.21), a scant 16 hundredths behind the eventual winner, Stephanie Ternullo of Amherst. Sophomore Sara Thompson placed third in 4:55.83 while senior Rebecca Maher (9th, 5:02.05), sophomore Erica Bucki (11th, 5:06.00) and first year Sarah Austin (16th, 5:10.76) also had gutsy swims in the grueling event. Wilson also grabbed second in the 200 yd Individual Medley with a time of 2:05.12. It was a sea of purple on the awards podium as the Ephs placed four swimmers in the top eight. Classmate Katherine O'Leary was third (2:05.47) while first year Katie Bennett took fifth (2:08.09). Sophomore Stephanie Nguyen rounded out the podium finishers in sixth place in 2:09.43. Showcasing their depth, Williams also had two more finishers in the top 15, with senior Kelsey Roggensack (9th, 2:09.50) and first year Paige Haller (11th, 2:10.05) also swimming well.
In the 50 yd breaststroke senior Liz Visconti slammed into the wall with a vengeance in a tightly packed heat to claim third place (30.05). First year Breanna Nguyen was the runner-up in the B final of the event to take 10th place with a time of 30.61, while sophomore Molly Prindle took 15th place in 31.41. In the 50 yd freestyle first year Faye Sultan, having previously led off the opening 200 yd freestyle relay with a blistering time of 23.89, was unable to maintain pace in the notoriously fickle race, placing seventh with a time of 24.30. Classmate Emma Nuzzo took eighth place with a time of 24.49. Sophomore Catherine Treesh (11th, 24.45) and senior Bryn Dunbar (14th, 24.58) rounded out the top 15 finishers for the Ephs.
In the 1m springboard junior McKenzie Murdoch was able to improve on her first round score by 8 points, upping it from 455.05 to 463.70. Despite battling hard she would come up just short behind Lizzy Linsmayer from Amherst, who put together a nearly flawless finals performance to win the event with a score of 478.45. Holding strong in third place following the preliminary rounds was sophomore Michelle Higgins, who held off a late charge by Colleen Harper of Middlebury to maintain her third place position with a score of 427.10.