WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- Host Williams College leads after Day One of the three-day NESCAC Women's Swimming and Diving Championships with 663 points. They are 190.5 points ahead of runner-up Middlebury. The women won the first relay of the evening and only relinquished the lead once, placing 16 swims in the championship finals.
The Ephwomen captured the first event of the night in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The quartet of Faye Sultan, Lauren Jones, Breanna Nguyen, and Sarah Thompson clocked 1:34.94, edging out second place Connecticut College (1:35.25). In the 50-yard breastroke, Nguyen and junior Molly Prindle led the way for the Ephs, placing sixth (30.36) and seventh (30.59), respectively. After the breaststroke event, the Ephs were second to Middlebury College by five points.
The women charged back in the next three events, recapturing the lead from Middlebury. In the 50-yard butterfly, sophomore Anna Epstein captured third place in 25.71. Senior tri-captain Aly Levine placed sixth, with an impressive 25.90. After the butterfly, Williams sat in first (206), just ahead of Connecticut (191) and Middlebury (190).
The Ephs started to pull away during the 500-yard freestyle, after placing three women in the championship final. The women posted first, third, and fifth place finishes, behind a rousing victory from junior standout Sarah Thompson (4:57.51). In third place was rookie Lauren Jones, with a best time 5:00.39. Also scoring points for the women was junior Erica Bucki, who swam a best time in morning prelims to earn a swim in the championship final. Bucki placed fifth with a 5:04.16.
In the 50-yard backstroke, Epstein took third with a 26.64, improving both her time and her place from the morning swim. The women scored 72 points in the 200-yard IM and featured three finalists in the event. Bennett took third (2:05.46), rookie Olivia Jackson placed fifth (2:07.81), and rookie Sofie Pietrantonio finished eighth (2:11.30) for her first championship final. On the boards, the Eph duo of MacKenzie Murdoch and Michelle Higgins placed second and third, respectively.
In the 50-yard freestyle, Connecticut College's Julia Pielock captured the 50-yard freestyle in a blistering 23.54. She outpaced Williams' Faye Sultan (2nd – 23.90) and Bates' Gabrielle Sergi (3rd – 24.05).
The last relay of the night went to defending champion Amherst College (3:47.99), who upset first-seeded Williams College (3:48.79) behind a blistering breaststroke leg from Emily Hyde. Williams Junior Sarah Thompson split an impressive 49.8 on the freestyle leg, but the effort came just shy.
"The women did a good job getting excited and got the meet off to a great start in prelims," said Williams Head Coach Steven Kuster. "We're only one third of the way there, so we've got to stay focused and work on repeating these good efforts throughout the weekend."
The women will continue competition Saturday night at 6pm at the Samuelson-Muir pool.