WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—Williams women's swimming and diving defeated Middlebury College (177-114) and Hamilton College (186-94) this afternoon in their last meet of the regular season, solidifying their 2017-2018 record at 11-1. In keeping with tradition for the last home meet of the year, the senior class was recognized for their contributions to the team and the school with a short ceremony prior the 1 pm start.
The official competition began with the 400-yd medley relay, in which the Williams "A" team of Veronica Wolff '20, Franny Dean '19, Laura Westphal '21, and Emma Waddell '18 started the Ephs off on the right note with a first place finish at 4:00.77, just out-touching Williams "B" by .15 seconds
To start off the series of impressive individual swims, Caroline White '20 proved that her talents stretch beyond the breaststroke events with a first place finish in the 1000-yd freestyle and a time of 10:36.74. Fellow Williams women Katie Orringer '21 (10:50.86) and Kristina Barry '19 (10:56.66) touched close behind for second and third place respectively. The Ephwomen also placed 1-2-3 in the 500-yd freestyle, further showcasing the Williams distance tradition at a relatively sprint-oriented meet. Laura Westphal '21 led the charge by almost seven seconds for a final time of 5:04.26, followed by Veronica Wolff '20 at 5:11.25 for second and Courtney Brown at 5:16.43 for third.
With the remaining lineup consisting entirely of 50s and 100s of stroke, the Ephs were ready to take advantage of one of the few opportunities to practice these events before the start of championship season. For instance, in the 50-yd backstroke, Caroline Conforti '20 claimed first with a time of 26.76, lowering her seedtime by almost half a second. The 50-yd breaststroke turned out to be a tight race between the Ephs' Casey Delano '21 and Maya Gomez '20 of Middlebury College, with Delano getting her hand on the wall first by just .03 for a time of 31.70. The 50s concluded with the 50-yd fly, in which the two-time NESCAC Champion in the event, Maia Hare '19 touched first. With a time of 26.16, Hare is certainly situates herself again as the one to watch in the event this year.
The individual races concluded with another event unique to this meet, the 100-yd individual medley. In what was arguably the highlight of the meet, Molly Craig '21 claimed first place with a time of 58.86, and broke a thirteen-year pool record in the process.
Over on the springboards, Gabby Mercier '21 and Molly Harrington '18 competed for Williams against four divers from Middlebury College. Mercier took first on both boards, further establishing herself as a force to be reckoned with against her NESCAC competitors.
The afternoon concluded with the 200-yd freestyle relay. Though the Williams "A" team touched first, their "senior relay" of Emma Waddell '18, Maddie Downs '18, Delaney Smith '18, Molly Harrington '18, Anna Neufeld '18, and Katie Priest '18 stole the show in the last regular season race of their careers. To no one's surprise, the six-person relay was disqualified. Nonetheless, the senior women were grateful to be able to make another memory together at the Samuelson-Muir Natatorium. In a joint statement, the women spoke about their appreciation of the time they have had together and the group this year: "It's hard to put into words how special this program has been for all of us. We all feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to contribute to something bigger than ourselves, and grow from the experiences we've had and amazing, strong women we have met along the way. We are confident that this group will only grow closer and stronger as we look towards the end of the season."
With the conclusion of the regular season, the Ephs look with excitement towards the beginning of Championship meet season. Luckily for them, the wait is not too long. The team will travel together next weekend to the Middlebury Invitational ready to start checking off the goals that they have for themselves, and one another.