INDIANAPOLIS – The Williams College women's swimming team is in third place after the first day of the four-day 2018 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships being held at the Indiana University Natatorium.
Williams has 114 points and the Ephs are just four points behind second place Kenyon. Emory is in first place with 146 points.
Eph head coach Steve Kuster stated, "The women came to play this morning. We got off to a very good start this morning and kept the momentum going this evening."
In the first event of the morning prelims, the 500 freestyle, the Ephs claimed two of the eight Championship Final berths with first year Laura Westphal topping the field with a time of 4:50.10, which was almost two seconds faster than her qualifying time. Junior Alison McNamara captured 8th place with a time of 4:56.72
In addition, first year Gwyneth Maloy earned a berth in the Consolation Finals of the 500 freestyle when she clocked a 4:57.27 to place 10th in the morning. Maloy knocked just over four seconds of her qualifying time with her morning performance.
In the evening 500 freestyle Consolation Finals race Maloy posted a time of 4:57.37 and took fifth place.
Laura Westphal hung with the leaders through the first 350 yards in the Championship Final of the 500 freestyle and then she took the lead coming off the wall with 50 yards remaining and she never relinquished the lead. Westphal won in 4:47.85 and earned All-America honors. "Laura swam a great second half of her 500 to come from behind and win her first national title," noted Kuster.
Alison McNamara also earned All-America honors with her seventh place finish and her time of 4:57.47.
First year Casey Delano finished 19th in the 500 freestyle morning prelims in a field of 37 competitors with a time of 5:00.87 and did not advance to an evening swim.
First year Molly Craig posted the third fastest qualifying time in the 200 Individual Medley relay in the morning prelims, touching home in a time of 2:02.47, just over a full second faster than her qualifying time.
Sophomore Caroline White who entered the morning preliminaries with the 46th fastest qualifying time (2:10.67) shaved a remarkable 7.10 off of that time to finish in 7th place in the morning (2:03.07). White earned a spot in the evening's Championship Final with her morning effort.
Senior Madeline Downs secured a spot in the evening Consolation Finals when she finished in 15th place in the morning session with a time of 2:04.80, which was 11.20 seconds faster than her qualifying time.
Downs earned Honorable Mention All-America honors with a seventh place finish in the Consolation Final, finishing in 2:05.78. "Our IM'ers had very good swims tonight," said Kuster.
Defending champion and senior Emma Waddell posted the second fastest morning time in the 50 free, closing in 22.73 to advance to the evening Championship Final. Waddell's morning time was .25 behind Fiona Muir of Emory.
Waddell and Muir battled in the evening session stroke for stroke and Muir just out touched Waddell by .02. Waddell finished in 22.74, while Muir came in at 22.72. "Emma just missed winning that race," Kuster noted.
Senior Delaney Smith was timed in 23.88, tying for 32nd place in the morning and did not advance to the evening swim.
The final event of the first night of the NCAA Championships was the 200 Medley Relay.
The Eph 200 Medley Relay team of sophomore Caroline Conforti, Caroline White, junior Maia Hare, and Emma Waddell finished fifth in the morning prelims, recording a time of 1:42.54 to advance to the Championship Final.
In the Championship Final the Ephs lowered their time from the morning to 1:41.93 and moved up to a fourth place finish with Conforti, White, Hare, and Waddell earning All-America honors.
Day 2 of the 2018 Championships will begin tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM with the morning preliminaries.