Middlebury, VT – The Williams Women emerged victorious at the 2020 NESCAC Championship. The final session featured two individual NESCAC titles, and Caroline White was awarded Swimmer of the Meet along with the High Point Award. Throughout the course of the meet, the Ephwomen demonstrated incredible energy and competitive drive that fueled them towards their NESCAC victory.
The final evening began with the longest race of the weekend, the 1650 yard freestyle. Three Williams swimmers, Laura Westphal, Kerryann Reynolds, and Katie Orringer competed in the grueling race. Westphal, who won the 1650 last year at the 2019 NESCAC Championship, took the lead early in the race and powered to another NESCAC title. The junior finished in 17:05.88, placing her ninth in the country. Westphal was followed by Reynolds in third with 17:17.63 and Orringer in fifth with 17:23.56.
In the 200 backstroke, Gwyenth Maloy cut a half second off her prelims time to finish second behind Rookie of the Meet Gabby Smart of Bates in a time of 2:01.65. Abby Matheny also represented the Ephs in the championship final, placing fifth in 2:04.04, while Gabby Granata placed tenth with a 2:04.60.
The 100 yard freestyle was an incredibly close event; the range of times in the championship final was less than seven tenths of a second and nearly all the competitors dropped significant time between prelims and finals. Casey Delano was the sole Eph in the A final, getting third with an impressive 51.31, the sixteeth fastest time in the country this year. Georgia Panitz placed twelfth with 52.61.
Caroline White and Amanda Wager battled for the top spot in the 200 breaststroke. Wager, posting the fastest time in prelims, was neck-to-neck with White until the final wall when the senior pulled slightly ahead of the first-year. White clenched the NESCAC title in a final time of 2:15.05, with Wager finishing in second a half second later in 2:15.59. Maddie Annis placed thirteenth, and Sarah Johnson placed fifteenth.
Williams represented a dramatic depth in butterfly, as half of the championship final in the 200 butterfly were Ephwomen. Veronica Wolff grabbed third for Williams in 2:02.83, the seventh best time in the country. Madeline Deardorff came in fourth with a best time of 2:03.78. Molly Craig finished sixth with 2:04.81 and Rollie Grinder finished eighth in a 2:07.52.
Earlier in the day, Gabby Mercier and Emma Casey completed their preliminary dives in style, positioning them well for success in finals. The duo nailed the 3 meter competition, with Casey finishing in second with 445.75 points and Mercier finishing in third with 437.70 points.
The 400 freestyle relay concluded the tense and eventful weekend. Casey Delano, Georgia Panitz, Samantha Kilcoyne, and Laura Westphal composed the final relay, and as the four sprinters raced down the pool their teammates shouted and hollered from the opposite end of the pool. Delano led off the relay in a speedy 51.61, and Panitz followed suit in a 51.90. At the hundred wall, the Tufts relay had the lead until Kilcoyne dove in, droppin a 50.86. Westphal split an incredible 50.48, the fastest for the Ephs. The relays were undiscernibly close, but in the end Tufts out touched the Williams relay by a tenth.
Before the champions of the meet were announced, awards for Rookie of the Meet, Swimmer of the Meet, Diver of the Meet, and NESCAC high point were handed out. Caroline White was awarded the swimmer of the meet for her incredible representation in breaststroke. The senior finished first in the 200, first in the 100, and second in the 50. White was also awarded the high point, as she scored the highest number of points at NESCAC Championships out of the class of 2020.
The energy in the natatorium was electric as the Ephs were crowned the victors of the meet. Holding the banner high, the group posed for a photo on the podium before jumping into the pool together, along with Head Coach Steve Kuster and Assistant Coaches Allie Clark and Dan MacQuarrie.
Kuster expressed his pride with the team, saying "There were lots of highs and for sure a few lows, but the group never let those detract from what the objective was, which was to be the best team at the meet. They asserted themselves over 3.5 days nand walked away with a convincing win."
Williams finished the 2020 NESCAC Championship with 1930.50 points, compared to 1593.50 for Tufts and 1369 for Amherst. Congratulations to the Ephwomen on their outstanding performance, their success was hard fought and well deserved!