MIDDLEBURY, VT – To start off their championship season, the Williams College Ephs traveled to Middlebury College to compete in the Middlebury Invitational. Some of the Ephwomen completed their 2019-2020 season here, while others used this meet to help them gear up to finish their own seasons. Unlike dual meets, this meet was competed across two days and three separate sessions.
The meet began on Friday night, with the 200 freestyle relay starting the meet. The Ephs' 'A' relay took the top spot, with anchor leg Laura Westphal '21 outsplitting the competition by a second to snatch the top spot.
The first individual event of the meet was the 200 individual medley, where Ephs took the top two spots. Gwyneth Maloy '21 and Madeleine Deardorff '20 battled it out for first place. While Deardorff's breaststroke leg was 2.5 seconds faster than Maloy's, the latter ultimately outtouched the competition, with her freestyle leg of 29.70 helping her place in first. Maloy went 2:11.11, and Deardorff went 2:11.24. Additionally, Gabby Granata '22 placed fourth in a time of 2:13.56. Later in the session, Laura Westphal '21 and Caroline White '20 tag teamed the 1000 freestyle. While White was able to keep up with Westphal for the first 500 yards, Westphal ultimately proved to be too quick, with her final time a 10:23.90. White held a consistent pace throughout, finishing in a 10:30.24.
The next session took place on Saturday morning, with the first event of note being the 400 individual medley. Freshman Isabel Bushway placed first, with her first 100 setting her up for a successful finish in a 4:44.12. Hot on her tail on the last 100 of the race was Elinor Sherman '20, whose quick final 50 propelled her in front of the other competition, finishing in a 4:44.74. In fourth place in the 400 IM was Riley Farrell '23. Although Farrell broke was injured at the beginning of the season, hard work and good rehab allowed her to bounce back and finish in a time of 4:47.84.
Another notable swim during this session was sophomore Anna Peterson's 100 butterfly. Despite missing the past couple meets due to an illness, Peterson finished in first place by over a second in a 58.09. Next for the Ephs in the 100 butterfly was Gwyneth Maloy, placing fifth in a 1:00.15. Rounding out this session was the 800 freestyle relay, the first one of the season. The relay team of Abby Matheny '22, Isabel Bushway '23, Samantha Kilcoyne '23, and Veronica Wolff placed first in a 7:49.36.
The Eph divers had a monster meet this weekend, competing their first 11-dive meet, as opposed to their 6-dive dual meet list. On 1-meter, Emma Casey '23 placed first, highlighted by a phenomenal 303b (reverse one and a half pike), with teammate Gabriella Mercier '21 finishing in second, thanks to her 403b (inward one and a half pike). On 3-meter, the Ephs also took the top two spots, but this time Mercier snatched the top spot. On 3m, Mercier nailed her 205b (back two and a half pike), with Casey continuing to perfect her 107 (front three and a half). Overall, the divers had a stellar meet, and even though this was the first meet where they competed their voluntaries, they had a great showing.
Starting off the final session of the meet was the 500 yard freestyle, in which distance queen Laura Westphal easily cruised to a first place finish in 5:05.63. The next event, the 200 backstroke, featured three senior women. Caroline Conforti '20 placed second overall in a 2:09.66, with her speedy first 50 setting her up for a strong race. Third was Caroline White '20, who utilized a strong last 50 to propel herself to a 2:10.67, and finishing in fifth place was Madeleine Deardorff '20 in 2:17.06. Another notable 200 of stroke was the 200 butterfly, in which sprint butterflier Samantha Kilcoyne '23 successfully tried her hand at a longer distance. It proved to be successful, with the Eph going a 2:06.60 and finishing first. In second place was Rollie Grinder '21, with her quick first 100 setting her up for a solid swim overall with a time of 2:15.06. Finally, the last event of the meet was the 400 freestyle relay. The Williams 'A' relay placed first in a 3:36.09. However, the event was highlighted by the 'B' relay, in which ephwoman Lizzie Ferguson '22 splitting a 57.51, followed by Riley Farrell in a 56.14.
On the competition this weekend, head coach Steve Kuster remarks, "We had a solid weekend. We've got 12 days to refine, rest, and get prepared to do everything we can to defend our NESCAC title."
With that in mind, the Ephs continue their championship season with their NESCAC conference competition at the NESCAC Championships hosted by Middlebury, starting on Thursday, February 13 with the 800 freestyle relay. The meet continues through Sunday, February 16.