Williams Wins NESCAC Championship

Williams Wins NESCAC Championship


MIDDLEBURY, VT --  After three days of competition Williams won the 2016 NESCAC Championships with a total score of 2045. The team resuls are as follows.

1. WILLIAMS -- 2045

2. AMHERST -- 1343

3. BATES -- 1317.5

4. MIDDLEBURY -- 1090.5

5. CONNECTICUT -- 1013

6. BOWDOIN -- 959

7. TUFTS -- 720

8. WESLEYAN -- 543

9. HAMILTON -- 470

10. COLBY -- 402

11. TRINITY -- 239 

This is the third consecutive NESCAC victory for the Ephs, and their fifteenth out of the sixteen contested. Amherst improved to second place after finishing fourth in the 2015 Championships. Last year's runner-up and third place teams, Bates and Middlebury, were pushed to third and fourth places after Amherst jumped them

Williams' point total fell short of the record they set in 2015 of 2103.5 points, and their margin of victory was short of their record 790.5 point-margin set in 2014. But this weekend's performance was dominant. 

In the final session, five of the six events were won by Ephs. And 11 different Williams swimmers achieved NCAA B standards in the last session alone.

In the 1650, all three Ephs competing were among those to earn B standards. Megan Pierce won the event with a meet record time of 16:41.90. Pierce was runner up last year to Williams' own NCAA record holder Sarah Thompson, and this year claimed the title for herself. It was her second individual win of the weekend. First year Alison McNamara continued her outstanding NESCAC weekend by finishing in second place in 16:58.52. Emma Sawkins finished in fifth place earning a B cut as well.

The 200 Backstroke was another exciting race, as Williams completed a 1-2-3 sweep of the championship final. In her last ever NESCAC individual race, senior Katie Bennett set a pool and meet record on the way to winning her second event of the weekend. Junior Olivia Jackson competed well to grab second, and sophomore Katherine Priest continued her impressive backstroking weekend to finish third. All three swims were NCAA B cuts and among the top five times yet posted in Division III.

In the consolation final of the same event Erica Myers won the heat with a time of 2:08.08.

Emma Waddell defended her title in the 100 Freestyle over Sam Pierce of Connecticut. Waddell was one of four Ephs in the top heat. In third place was junior Lauren Jones, seventh was senior Faye Sultan and eighth sophomore Delaney Smith. Jones and Waddell earned B cuts with their swims.

The one event this evening that was not won by a Williams swimmer was the 200 Breaststroke. Emily Hyde's 200 Breaststroke was the most outstanding individual performance of the night. Her time of 2:12.22 broke a NCAA Division III national record that was held by Williams great Lindsay Payne. In the preliminary session Hyde broke her own meet record and was within striking distance of the national record. At night, finishing nearly seven seconds ahead of the field, she claimed the record for herelf. 

Two Williams swimmers scored in the event. Senior Breanna Nguyen earned a NCAA B cut and finished fifth overall in the final individual NESCAC race of her career. Junior Olivia Clark posted the second fastest time of the consolation heat to finish tenth overall. And though she didn't score after a disqualification in the preliminaries, first year Eph Franny Dean time trialed the 200 Breaststroke this evening and also earned a NCAA B cut. 

Having already won the 1650 earlier, Megan Pierce returned to take the top spot in the 200 Butterfly. Dueling with Lindsey Prelgovisk of Bates and Colleen Doolan of Tufts, Pierce went out controlled and was able to come home with a split of 31.50. That final 50 split was over a second faster than anyone in the field, and Pierce's overall time of 2:02.07 set a new pool record. 

Joining Pierce in the championship final were Ephs Maddie Downs, Sofie Pietrantonio and Paige Haller. They would finish fourth, fifth and eighth, respectively, and this was the final swim in the career of senior Paige Haller. 

On the boards Ariana Ross convincingly took first place in the 3 meter competition to sweep the diving events of the weeknd. Ross' score of 487.0 points set the pool record in the event and was 80 points ahead of the field.

The final event of the Championship was the 400 Freestyle Relay. Williams won the championship final over strong teams from Bowdoin, Bates, Amherst and Middlebury. That winning team was composed of Jones, Downs, Sultan and Waddell and they were able to set a pool record in the process. The B relay team of Hare, Bennett, Smith and Nguyen won the consolation heat, and thus for the second year in a row all five of Williams' A and B relays were undefeated at the NESCAC Championships.

Several awards honored the efforts of Ephs this weekend. Alison McNamara was named the 2016 Rookie of the Year following her strong performances in the distance freestyle events, including her win in the 1000 Freestyle. Junior Ariana Ross was awarded Diver of the Meet after sweeping the 1 and 3 meter competitions. 

After such a strong showing, many Ephs hope to continue their seasons at the 2016 NCAA Championships in Greensboro, NC in March. Last season Williams placed third overall at that competition.