Williams Holds Strong in Second Day of NESCACs

Caroline Wilson '13
Caroline Wilson '13

Brunswick, ME—Despite a strong overall team effort that saw them take a commanding 78 point lead over second place Amherst, Women's Swimming and Diving left the pool last evening with no individual or relay titles. By the end of the second evening of competition the Ephs had corrected this blemish, with senior Caroline Wilson and sophomore Sarah Thompson winning the 400 yd Individual Medley and 200 yd freestyle respectively as well as a relay victory in the 800 yd freestyle relay.


For Wilson, one of the most accomplished swimmers of all time at Williams, the victory was especially sweet as it came in her final individual event at a NESCAC championship. Despite trailing after the first 50 yards, Wilson surged ahead leaving little doubt as to who would eventually win the event, charging into the wall in 4:23.15. In a close battle for second place classmate Katherine O'Leary would come up just short at the wall, settling for third with a time of 4:24.42. Emily Hyde of Amherst just out-touched O'Leary in 4:24.19. The Ephs packed an astonishing five swimmers into the championship heat, with sophomore Erica Bucki (5th, 4:31.08), senior Kelsey Roggensack (6th, 4:32.72) and first year Paige Haller (7th, 4:33.72) showcasing the tremendous depth of the Williams team in what has become one of their signature events. First year Sarah Austin, although finishing just outside of the championship heat, also swam extremely well to capture twelfth place in 4:38.89.


In the 200 Thompson, seeded third in the championship heat following preliminaries in the morning, used a devastating second half kick to outpace second placed Stephanie Ternullo of Amherst. Thompson trailed at the halfway mark by over half a second, but closed the gap with a vengeance to win the event with a time of 1:50.56. Ably backing up Thompson were first year Emma Nuzzo, who won the B-Final (9th place) in 1:53.63 and sophomore Tess Vorselen, who placed fourteenth (1:55.65). Senior Bryn Dunbar placed 23rd with a time of 1:59.34.


The Ephs also flexed their muscles in the 100 yd butterfly, placing three swimmers in the top five. Junior Alyssa Levine earned second place by dropping a time of 56.86, nearly half a second faster than her preliminary swim. Senior KC Ha was just back in third place (57.06). First year sprint specialist Anna Epstein wrapped up an impressive first championship appearance with her third top five finish in the first two days of competition by placing fifth (57.44). Another first year, Maddy Holker, earned fourteenth place with a time of 59.23.


Continuing the string of dominating performances from Williams' remarkable rookie class was Katie Bennett. Having set a new Williams record in the 100 yd backstroke the previous morning during the 400 yd medley relay, Bennett went stroke for stroke with the defending national champion, Maggie Rosenbaum of Hamilton, in the final of the individual event. Despite battling hard, Bennett was unable to keep pace over the back half of the race. She still turned in an impressive time of 57.13 to claim second place.


Rounding out the evening were two strong showings from Williams' senior class. Rebecca Maher placed fourth in the 1000 yd freestyle with a time of 10:27.21, a full 12.5 seconds faster than her best in season performance. In the 100 yd breaststroke Lizzy Visconti added another podium finish to match her showing in the 50 yd breaststroke the previous evening. In a tight packed field Visconti snuck into the wall in sixth place with a time of 1:06.08. First year Breanna Ngyuen (13th, 1:07.44) and sophomores Molly Prindle (18th, 1:07.19) and Catherine Treesh (23rd, 1:08.68) finished out the Williams finishers in the event.


Placing an exclamation point on the evening's races was a dominating performance by the Williams quartet of O'Leary, Thompson, Nuzzo and Wilson in the 800 yd freestyle relay. Their winning time of 7:30.49 represents a new pool record in the event. In an even more exciting finish, the relay of Maher, Ngyuen, Vorselen and Bennett pulled away from the challenge of the Amherst B Relay in the final leg to claim victory in the B final with a time of 7:41.83.


When all was said and done, however, Amherst had done just enough in the second day of competition to pull ahead of the Ephs in the overall standings. The Jeffs now sit atop the leader-board with an overall score of 1355.5 points to Williams' 1329.5. The Ephs will be looking to reclaim their lead in tomorrow, the final day of competition, in search of a thirteenth consecutive conference title.