2014 NESCAC Women's Swimming & Diving Championships Preview

2014 NESCAC Women's Swimming & Diving Championships Preview

HADLEY, Mass. – Amherst looks to defend its conference title when the 2014 NESCAC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships begin on Friday, February 14, with preliminary heats in the morning followed by championship races in the evening. This year’s three-day championship will take place at Williams’ Samuelson-Muir Pool in Williamstown, Mass.

Competition will get underway each day with preliminary heats at 10 a.m. Finals will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, 5:50 p.m. on Saturday and 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $6 per session or $35 for an all-session pass for adults and $2 per session for children and students or $10 for an all-session pass. Doors will open 90 minutes prior to the heats and finals. No pre-sale tickets will be available, as all tickets will be sold at the door. Live webcasts and results from the NESCAC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships will be available throughout the weekend at www.nescac.com.

Last season, Amherst amassed 1,972.5 points to capture its first conference crown and snap Williams’ streak of 12 consecutive championships. The Ephs, who finished 63 points out of first place with 1,909.5 points, held a 78-point lead after day one before the Jeffs took over the top spot the following day. Tufts (1017.5) trailed Middlebury after the first two days, but the Jumbos overcame a 27-point deficit on the final day to earn third place. Middlebury (1006.5) finished comfortably in fourth. Seven points separated Bates (714), Conn. College (709.5) and Bowdoin (707) for fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

Live Results
Live Diving Results
2013 Team Standings
2013 Individual Winners

Amherst will rely on its depth if it hopes to be a repeat team champion, as the Jeffs won three relays and had five women account for eight individual victories. Amherst returns last year’s Rookie of the Year, Sarah Conklin (Newton, Mass.), and Diver of the Meet, Lizzy Linsmayer (Denver, Colo.). Conklin swept the 50, 100 and 200-yard butterfly last year, and aims to repeat the feat in 2014. Sophomore Emily Hyde (Clinton, N.Y.) looks to defend her titles in the 200 breaststroke and the 200-yard individual medley, an event in which she set a new NESCAC meet record. Sophomore Charlotte Chudy (Brooklyn, N.Y.) also seeks back-to-back victory in the 1,000-yard freestyle, but will contend with Bates first-year Julia Smachlo (Rexford, N.Y.) and Connecticut College first-year Valerie Urban (Lancester, Pa.), who own the top two times, respectively.

Williams junior Sarah Thompson (Evanston, Ill.) looks to defend her title in the 200 and 1,650-yard freestyle as she owns the league’s fastest times in both events, as well as the 500 freestyle where Thompson will be tested by first-year teammates Lauren Jones (Frisco, Texas) and Megan Pierce (Wayland, Mass.). In the 200, two-time defending champion Thompson’s top two challengers are Jones and Connecticut College sophomore Sam Pierce (Windsor, Conn.). In the 1,650 freestyle, Pierce, Smachlo and Urban look to be top contenders along with Thompson. Pierce, Wesleyan senior Angela Slevin (Arlington, Va.), Bates first-year Sara Daher (Marblehead, Mass.) and Connecticut College first-year Anna Peterson (Winnetka, Ill.) will contend for the 400-yard individual medley title, which was won the previous four years by last year’s Four-Year High Point Swimmer Caroline Wilson of Williams.

In the backstroke events, Hamilton senior Maggie Rosenbaum (Alford, Mass.) looks to continue her dominance in the 50, 100 and 200-yard backstroke. Rosenbaum swept her specialty for the third straight season en route to setting one NESCAC and two championship records and being named Swimmer of the Meet for the second consecutive year. However, Amherst junior Sabrina Lee (Palo Alto, Calif.) holds the league’s best marks in the 50 and 100-yard backstroke and the second fastest time in the 200 behind sophomore Katherine Bennett (Arlington, Va.) of Williams. Middlebury senior Andrea Tibbetts (Dover, Mass.) also looks to be a factor in the 50 and 100.

Connecticut College senior Julia Pielock (Deerfield, Mass.) returns to defend her 50 and 100-yard freestyle titles. Currently, she owns the top times in both events, but will be challenged by Williams sophomore Faye Sultan (Abu Hasaniya, Kuwait) and Bowdoin first-year Sophia Walker (Dunbarton, N.H.).

Last year’s 50 and 100-yard breaststroke champions, junior Jamie Hillas (Woodbridge, Conn.) of Middlebury and Tufts senior Jenny Hu (Oakland, Calif.), will vie for back-to-back titles, respectively. Hillas, who owns the best times in all three breaststroke events heading into the championships, will battle Hu, Amherst’s Emily Hyde, Williams sophomore Breanna Nguyen (Longwood, Fla.) and Wesleyan senior Roxy Capron (Canton, Ga.) for top honors in the 50 and 100. In the 200-yard breaststroke, look for Hillas, Hyde, Middlebury first-year Jennifer Koide (Morristown, N.J.) and Williams first-year Olivia Clark (Weston, Conn.) to compete for top honors.

On the diving boards, the Eph duo of junior Michelle Higgins (Acton, Mass.) and senior McKenzie Murdoch (Winnetka, Ill.) have posted the top two scores so far this season. Murdoch boasts the highest marks on the 3-meter board, while Higgins has turned in the strongest showing on the 1-meter board. Other divers to contend for individual titles include Amherst’s Linsmayer, Bowdoin first-year Christine Anderson (Lake Forest, Ill.) and Middlebury senior Colleen Harper (Evanston, Ill.) in the 1-meter event and Andersen, Harper and Williams first-year Ariana Ross (New Canaan, Conn.) in the 3-meter event.

Connecticut College enters the championship with the fastest 200-yard freestyle relay comprised of first-years Skye Qi Marigold (East Hampton, N.Y.) and Ivy Durepo (Petersham, Mass.), Pielock and Pierce, while Williams aims to defend its 400 freestyle relay title with Jones, Sultan, Nguyen and Thompson having clocked the top time in the event. Amherst owns the quickest 800 freestyle relay time courtesy of junior Ashleigh Stoddart (Winnetka, Ill.), senior Lulu Belak (New Canaan, Conn.), Lee and senior Allison Merz (Pacific Palisades, Calif.). Amherst, Williams and Middlebury are separated by less than a second in the 200-yard medley relay, while all three institutions have posted the top times in the 400 medley relay as well.