MIDDLETOWN, CT -- The Eph women expanded upon their lead in the Saturday portion of the 2015 NESCAC Championships. The standings after the 800 Freestyle Relay for the top five teams, the last event this evening, are as follows:
Women - Team Rankings - Through Event 17
1. Williams College 1406.5
2. Bates College 1010
3. Middlebury College 886.5
4. Amherst College 757
5. Bowdoin College 708.5
Bates College remains securely in second place with one day of competition remaining, an improvement after finishing fourth after last year's NESCAC Championships. Last year's overall second place team, Amherst College, sits in fourth position with Bowdoin College lurking just behind in the standings. Yet it is the Eph women of Williams College, now almost four hundred points ahead, who have looked the strongest so far. The team gained more traction in tonight's finals, winning six of the eight events contested.
The first event, and the first of the Williams victories, came in the 200 Medley Relay. The team of Katie Bennet, Olivia Clark, Emma Waddell and Faye Sultan touched in a time of 1:43.22 to earn a pool and meet record. This relay was close between Williams, Connecticut College and Middlebury before anchor leg Faye Sultan wrapped up the win with a 23.18 Freestyle split. Not to be overlooked, the Williams 'B' relay swum by Olivia Jackson, Molly Prindle, Anna Epstein and Catherine Treesh won their heat with an NCAA B cut performance.
In the 1000 Freestyle race, rookie Freestyle specialist Emma Sawkins finished in an impressive second place. Her last 50 split of 30.03 was good enough to hold back a late charge from Wesleyan swimmer Angela Slevin. Sawkins was the only Eph in the event.
Up next was another grueling event, the 400 IM. Sophomore Megan Pierce showed no signs of fear when she took out the race in a 27.47. Pierce, no stranger to a 400 IM, continued to build a lead throughout the race, and finished in first place with a lightning fast 4:21.19. Erica Bucki looked strong as well, and was able to capture third place in the event with a NCAA B cut of 4:28.64. Also finishing in the top eight was junior Paige Haller in sixth place.
In the 100 Butterfly Emma Waddell set a new meet record in a time of 54.09. Waddell was out over a second ahead of the rest of the field at the first 50 and didn't look back. Fellow Eph freshmen Maddie Downs came in fourth place and was followed closely by sophomore Sofie Pietrantonio. All three swimmers got NCAA B cuts.
Williams was really in a groove when the 200 Freestyle rolled around. And senior co-captain and defending 200 Freestyle champion Sarah Thompson had her turn to win an event. Thompson would win the event, but touching the wall just behind her to grab second place was sophomore Lauren Jones. The duo of Thompson and Jones beat out a fast field to go 1-2 in the event and score huge points for Williams.
There were three Ephs in the top heat of the 100 Breaststroke, which is no small feat. Junior Breanna Nguyen came in third place overall and was the first of the Williams trio to hit the wall. Next was sophomore Olivia Clark in fifth place and behind her was senior Molly Prindle. In addition, another Eph, Emma Nuzzo, came in thirteenth place overall after competing in the consolation heat.
And if all of these Williams swimmers in top heats and a sprinkling of victories along the way was not enough, then the results of the 100 Backstroke should satisfy you. Williams fielded five swimmers in the top heat of eight competitors. Sophomore Olivia Jackson won the event with a time of 55.54 and junior Katie Bennett came in second place behind her. Freshman Katie Priest came in fifth place, sophomore Erica Meyers came in sixth place, and junior Faye Sultan finished in eighth place.
The final event was the 800 Freestyle Relay. A Williams 'B' team of Maddie Downs, Tess Vorselen, Delaney Smith and Olivia Jackson would win the consolation heat. This set up the 'A' squad of Megan Pierce, Breanna Nguyen, Lauren Jones and Sarah Thompson to win the event two heats later. After facing early competition from an Amherst relay, Williams would run away with the victory in the end on the legs of Jones and Thompson.
The last day of competition will resume tomorrow morning where Williams will look to cap off another NESCAC Championship. Spectators will see no signs of easing from coach Kuster and his team despite a lead going into the last day.