Brunswick, ME—Facing down a deficit to arch-rival Amherst entering the final day of competition at the 2013 NESCAC Championships, Women's Swimming and Diving fought until the end but proved unable to seriously cut into the margin en route to a second place finish. With both schools packing swimmers into the final heats of each event, every individual point counted in the close finish. The Lord Jeffs, however, would just exceed the Ephs in the final point total, ending with 1972.5 points to Williams' 1909.5. The margin of victory, 63 points, is the smallest in the history of the NESCAC championship meet, first competed in 2001. With the victory, Amherst ends Williams' incredible run of twelve consecutive conference championships, earning their first ever NESCAC title.
Despite the disappointing overall team performance, the Ephs can take solace in a strong series of individual swims on the evening. Starting things off right for Williams was sophomore Sarah Thompson's authoritative win in the 1650 yd freestyle. Thompson would win the event, the longest competed in the meet, with a time of 16:56.54, well clear of her nearest competitor. Classmate Erica Bucki joined Thompson on the podium with an eighth place finish (17:37.14). Senior Rebecca Maher placed ninth in the grueling event with a time of 17:41.58, while first year Sarah Austin came in thirteenth (17:55.30).
In the 200 yd backstroke first year Katie Bennett once again squared off against Hamilton's Maggie Rosenbaum, one of the top backstrokers in the country for the past two seasons. Bennett turned in another strong performance in her first championship meet to earn a second place finish with a time of 2:02.27, nearly half a second faster than her swim in the preliminary heats. Backing up Bennett in the championship heat were junior Stephanie Nguyen (7th, 2:08.90) and sophomore Tess Vorselen (8th, 2:09.06).
A pair of first years formed Williams' contribution to the 100 yd freestyle final. Rookie Faye Sultan dropped nearly half a second off her time from the morning preliminaries to claim third place in 52.10. Finishing just behind her classmate was first year Emma Nuzzo, whose time of 52.18 was good enough for fourth. Sophomore Catherine Treesh swam her way to a twelfth place finish with a time of 53.53. Senior Lizzy Visconti led the way for the Ephs in the 200 yd breaststroke, capturing fifth place with a time of 2:24.92. Sophomore Molly Prindle also earned a spot on the podium by finishing sixth (2:25.61). First year Breanna Nguyen also swam well to earn the runner-up spot in the B Final (10th place, 2:25.60).
The podium for the 200 yd butterfly was a sea of purple as Williams packed five swimmers into the championship heat. Senior Katherine O'Leary earned third place with a time of 2:06.11, just ahead of classmate Kelsey Roggensack (4th, 2:06.24). No less impressive were the swims of junior Aly Levine (5th, 2:06.71), first year Paige Haller (6th, 2:07.12) and senior KC Ha (7th, 2:07.22). First year Maddy Holker was the final Williams point scorer in the event, placing sixteenth in 2:11.70. In the 3m springboard sophomore Michelle Higgins overcame a rough preliminary round to rebound and capture first place with a stellar six dive list in the finals. Higgins' final score of 457.95 placed her just ahead of Amherst's Lizzy Linsmayer (455.90), who had previously won the 1m event on Friday evening. Junior McKenzie Murdoch also dove well to capture third place with a score of 447.60.
While the majority of the Williams squad will have swum their final races for the 2012-2013 season, those swimmers with national qualifying times will now begin preparation in earnest for the Division III National Championships, which will be held at Conroe Natatorium in Shenandoah, Texas on March 20-23. The Ephs finished as national runner-ups in last year's championships, and will be looking to swim just as hard in this year's edition.