HADLEY, Mass. - Williams will be in search of
its 13th conference crown when the 2013 NESCAC Women’s
Swimming and Diving Championships get underway this weekend. The
three-day event is slated to begin on Friday, February 15, with
preliminary heats in the morning and championship races in the
evening. This year’s championship will take place at
Bowdoin’s Leroy Greason Pool in Brunswick, Maine. Williams
has captured all 12 NESCAC titles.
Last season, the Ephs (1,826) used their third-greatest margin of victory to top second place Amherst by 368.5 points. Only their 578-point win during the 2010 championships and their 398-point differential in 2009 were wider margins. Amherst (1460.5) trailed Tufts after the first two days but pulled well ahead of the Jumbos for runner-up status. Tufts (1261.5) finished third. Other teams competing for a spot among the leaders this weekend will be Middlebury, Bates and Bowdoin. The Panthers took fourth (1142.5) and the Bobcats rounded out the top five for the second straight year with 867 points. The host Polar Bears collected 732.5 points last season, good for sixth and their best finish ever.
Williams will again depend on its depth, as last year the Ephs had six women combine for 11 individual victories, while claiming the top spot in four out of five relays. Williams will have to swim without last year’s High Point Swimmer Logan Todhunter. Looking to replace Todhunter atop the podium in the 50, 100, and 200-yard butterfly events will be Amherst first year Sarah Conklin and a duo from Williams in first year Anna Epstein and senior Kathryn Ha.
In the distance freestyle events, Eph senior Caroline Wilson is back for a potential four-peat in the 1,650. Wilson shattered the NESCAC record by nearly 15 seconds during her first meet in 2010, then returned in 2011 and re-wrote the record books once again, shaving over three seconds off her previous performance. She finished first in 16:58.10 in 2012. Wilson will also be looking to defend her 500-yard freestyle and 400-yard individual medley wins. Challenging Wilson will be teammates sophomore Sarah Thompson and senior Katherine O’Leary. Amherst sophomore Stephanie Ternullo and Bowdoin senior Katherine Foley will compete in the distance freestyle events, while Connecticut College sophomore Esther Mehesz will try for a second consecutive win in the 1,000-yard freestyle.
Hamilton junior Maggie Rosenbaum will look to defend her 50, 100, and 200-yard backstroke titles. Rosenbaum swept her specialty for the second straight season en route to being named Swimmer of the Meet in 2012. Williams first year Faye Sultan currently sits above Rosenbaum in the league’s top times in the 50-yard backstroke while classmate Katie Bennett will contend for the 100 and 200 titles. Wesleyan sophomore Angela Slevin will also vie for the 200-yard backstroke title.
Middlebury sophomore Jamie Hillas will look to repeat in the 50 and 100-yard breaststroke. Tufts junior Jenny Hu and a pair of rookies from Williams and Amherst, Breanna Nguyen and Emily Hyde, will be Hillas’ competitors in the breaststroke events.
Williams junior McKenzie Murdoch will aim for her second-straight Diver of the Meet honor. Amherst junior Lizzy Linsmayer, Trinity junior Emily Johnson, Williams sophomore Michelle Higgins, and a pair from Tufts in junior Sami Bloom and senior Ali Maykranz will challenge Murdoch in the diving events.
With Carolyn Geller from Williams and Megan Gibbons from Hamilton having graduated, the 50 and 100-yard freestyle events will be up for grabs. Junior Julia Pielock from Connecticut College currently holds the NESCAC top time with a 24.16, but Williams’ Thompson and Sultan and Amherst’s Vincett and junior Lulu Belak will also be in the hunt for a first place finish.
Middlebury returns all four members of its winning 200 medley relay team. Junior Andie Tibbetts, sophomores Maddy Berkman and Ann Carpenter, and Hillas set a NESCAC meet record with their 1:45.57 finish a year ago. Williams lost Geller and Todhunter from its relay line ups, but return Thompson, Wilson, junior Stephanie Nguyen, senior Kelsey Roggensack, sophomore Catherine Treesh, and senior Rebecca Maher who all helped the Ephs finish first in the 200, 400, and 800-yard freestyle and 400-yard medley relays.
Competition will get underway each day with preliminary heats at 10:00 a.m. Finals will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, 5:50 p.m. Saturday and 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $7 per session for adults and $3 per session for children and students. Doors will open one hour prior to the heats and finals.
Results from the NESCAC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships will be available on throughout the weekend at www.nescac.com.