GREENSBORO, NC -- The Williams College women's swimming and diving team finsished fourth at the 2019 NCAA DIII Championships, marking the fifth consecutive year that the Ephs have finished fourth or better. On the final night of competition sophomore Laura Westphal successfully defended her 1650 freestyle title by winning in 16:35.50. Westphal's win was the 93rd individual NCAA title won by an Eph woman since the NCAA Championships began in 1982.
Wiliams won the first two NCAA DIII Championships contested taking top honors in 1982 and 1983.
Westphal has now won four individual NCAA titles in her first two years in The Purple Valley as she successfully defended her 500 freestyle title earlier in the meet.
Overall the Ephs won three individual titles at the 2019 Championships as senior Maia Hare won the 100 butterfly. In the last four years Williams women have won 12 individual races at the NCAA Championships.
This year Williams, the highest scoring NESCAC team, tallied 323 points over the four days of competition, while Emory University claimed the 2019 title by scoring 488 points.
The Ephwomen entered the final day ready to swim fast, and put together an excellent prelims session, setting themselves up well for a top four finish. The women entered finalists into the 1650 Freestyle, 200 Backstroke, 200 Breaststroke, and 400 Freestyle Relay.
The first event, the 1650 Freestyle, marked senior Ali McNamara's final ever swim as an Eph. McNamara closed out her career in style, touching in 14th for an All-America Honorable Mention. Laura Westphal '21, winner of the 500 and runner up in the 200 Freestyle, returned to the pool as the reigning champ in the event. Despite early pressure from Emory's Julia Durmer, Westphal took over the lead at the 1000 and never looked back, clearing her best time and winning time from last year to win by nearly 10 seconds in 16:35.50.
The second individual event of the evening was the 200 Backstroke, where Gwyneth Maloy '21, the NESCAC Champion, and Abby Matheny '22 both represented Williams in the Consolation Final. Both Matheny and Maloy improved on their prelims swims, as Matheny touched in 2:02.44 for 14th, and Maloy hit the pad in 2:02.22 for 11th.
The third event for the Ephs was the 200 Breaststroke. Caroline White '20, National Runner up in the event, took the top seed in the morning heats and looked to claim her first ever national title. White put together a very strong race, improving on her seed time and finishing third in 2:13.91.
The final event of the season for the Ephwomen was the 400 Freestyle relay, where the quartet of Anna Peterson '22 (52.20), Molly Craig '21 (51.11), Georgia Panitz '22 (51.76), and Laura Westphal '21 (49.46) strung together four excellent splits to improve upon their prelims swim time and take a fourth place finish overall.
After it was all said and done and the points had been tallied up, the Ephwomen stood proud in fourth, the culmination of an excellent season and a tremendous amount of hard work.