Williams Women's Swim and Dive defeats Union College

Ari Ross '17 1
Ari Ross '17 1

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – In their second meet of the weekend and the season, the Williams women's swim and dive team defeated Union College 218-66 this afternoon, bringing their record to 2-0. Although Union's Dutchwomen surely brought some tough competition, the Ephs broke through their fatigue from the past three weeks of strenuous training and last night's races and brought the energy needed to end the week in victory.

As usual, the Eph women started the meet off with excitement, charging into the 200-yd medley relay. Williams finished in a 1-2-3 sweep, led by top relay members Anna Epstein '16, Megan Pierce '17, Emma Waddell '18, and Delaney Smith '18. The group posted an impressive 1:26.04, followed closely by the two other Williams teams.

This rousing beginning unquestionably left excitement lingering in the air for the women's 1000-yd freestyle. The four Ephs in this event were able to capture first, second, fourth, and fifth, led by freshman Franny Dean '19, who touched to an 11:03.58. The Williams distance legacy was continued with a top four sweep in the 500-yd freestyle, with Megan Pierce '17 (5:06.23), Lauren Jones '17 (5:12.24), Katherine Priest '18 (5:16.39), and Giulia Filocca '19 (5:35.29) claiming 1-4 respectively.

The high standards set in the distance realm were matched in the other freestyle events, with the Ephs clinching many top finishes. Lauren Jones '17, who cruised to a speedy 1:54.7, led the 200-yd freestyle. She was followed by second place Erin Kennedy '19 (1:57.36), and Olivia Jackson '17 in third (1:57.84). Another notable sprint performance was in the 100-yd freestyle, in which Faye Sultan '16 posted a 53.03, the fourteenth fastest time in Division III this year, with most other teams having had a rest meet at this point.

The Williams women were equally as powerful in the stroke events, pushed by the outside competition and each other to perform. Standout performance was that of Megan Pierce '17 in the 200-yd butterfly, cruising to a 2:05.01, an NCAA B-cut and the third fastest time in the Division this season. Pierce was trailed by Maddie Downs '18 (2:14.96), who touched second, and Nora Lee (2:20.83) in fourth.

The final individual event of the meet was the 200-yd medley, in which the Ephs were given the stage to show off their versatile strengths. Captain Breanna Nguyen '16, who pulled ahead in the breaststroke leg to touch to a 2:12.96, took first place. Williams women also claimed second and fourth in this event, by Dana Chung '19 and Franny Dean '19 respectively.

On the diving boards, dynamic duo Ari Ross '17 and Molly Harrington '19 wrapped up their double-meet weekends with inspiring performances. Ross notably secured her spot at the NCAA-regional meet with her dominant performance on the 1-meter and 3-meter boards.

The Williams victory was topped off with an animated 200-yd freestyle relay. The A relay for the Eph women just nearly out-touched their B relay, with a breakaway performance by Faye Sultan '16, swimming a 23.98 in her leg.

The energy was palpable throughout the entirety of this meet, from the first beep of the starter until the last hand on the wall. Assistant coach Brogan Barr commented on her perception of this meet and the weekend: "We've laid a good foundation for the rest of the season. We are leaving this first weekend with a good idea of where we can improve in race strategies and overall stroke technique. After this successful double duel meet weekend, I'm excited to go back to practice and work with the swimmers on ways to keep swimming smarter and faster." This dynamic group of women is sure to only build upon the success that they have earned thus far throughout the season.