CHESTNUT HILL, MA—In their first dual meet since their short break for the holiday, Williams women's swimming and diving edged out the Boston College Eagles 159-141. The Eagles were certainly able competitors, being a Division I program recently coming off of a rest meet. This victory puts the Eph women's record at 3-0 as they move past one of their toughest competitors of the season. This success certainly did not come without a battle, as the win came down to the last race of the day.
The showdown began with the 200-yd medley relay, in which the Ephs placed 1-3-5. Leading the way was the 'A' relay of Katherine Bennett '16, Breanna Nguyen '16, Emma Waddell '18, and Faye Sultan '16 with a time of 1:47.36. Following closely in third was Williams 'B' (1:49.34), and in fifth the 'C' relay (1:52.41). The excitement was palpable after the touch, and left the Eph women determined to continue their performance.
The energy left from the relays was only heightened throughout the course of the individual events. A notable race was the 200-yd freestyle, in which Lauren Jones '17, with a season best of 1:53.88, who pulled ahead in the last 50 and just out-touched a Boston College swimmer by .10 seconds. She was followed closely by Emma Waddell '18 (1:54. 20) in third. The mid-distance freestyle dominance continued into the later part of the meet, with an inter-squad showdown for first between Jones (5:05.29), and Megan Pierce '17 (5:04.58), in which Pierce pulled ahead in the last 100. It was a season best for both, especially impressive considering they were not rested or in tech-suits.
In her last meet of the season before going abroad to Sweden next semester, Isabella Salmi '17 owned the stage, earning lifetime best times in the 200-yd freestyle and the 500-yd freestyle. Her presence in the water and on deck will definitely be missed.
In the diving well, duo Ariana Ross '17 and Molly Harrington '18 had impressive performances on both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards. Ross placed 1st and 2nd in the 3-meter and 1-meter respectively, and Harrington scored points in her first 3-meter competition of her career. Interim head diving coach Michelle Higgins '15, a Williams grad, commented on the potential of the Eph divers in the future: "Our divers were very solid against some tough Division I competition. They dove well and their work so far has set them up for a successful training trip and rest of the season."
The Eph women were equally as competitive in stroke events, pushed to greater heights by their worthy competitors and each other. In the 100-yd backstroke, Olivia Jackson '17 and Katherine Bennett '16 placed 1st and second respectively, continuing the dominant backstroke legacy that they have created at Williams. Jackson touched to a quick 57.98, followed closely behind by Bennett at 58.40. This same dynamic duo placed 1st and 3rd in the 200-yd backstroke as well. Another race that had the crowd on their feet was the 200-yd breaststroke, in which Franny Dean '19 edged ahead of an Eagles' swimmer in the final 25 yards to claim first at 2:27.63. She was followed in 3rd by Breanna Nguyen '16 (2:28.96). Emma Waddell '18 showed a similar breakaway performance in the 100-yd fly, out-touching Boston College by .21 with a 57.61.
It all came down to the final event of the day: The 400-yd freestyle relay. It was anyone's race and anyone's meet, and the Eph women were fired up. The Williams women clinched their victory by finishing 1-3-5-7. The 'A' relay consisted of Breanna Nguyen '16, Erin Kennedy '19, Megan Pierce '17, and Emma Waddell '18. The team broke away from the Eagles in Pierce's leg, and Waddell brought them home with a leg of 51.95 to finish to a 3:31.42. Close races were the theme of this meet, and the Ephs dug deep to rely on their training, their drive, and each other to end on top. Head coach Steven Kuster commented on the results of the meet: "There were good results but I was most happy to see that the focus was on racing and being engaged. It was nice to see the team pushed and even better that everyone responded to this pressure and contributed positively to the final outcome."
This was the Williams women's swimming and diving's final competition of the semester, and they will continue their competitive season after their training trip and winter break against rival away against Amherst College on January 9th.