Laura Westphal Named Swimmer of the Meet as Williams Wins 6th-Straight

Report contributed by Robert Reiser


  • February 14th-17th, 2019
  • Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut
  • Teams: Amherst, Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Connecticut College, Hamilton, Middlebury, Trinity, Tufts, Wesleyan, Williams
  • Live Results

The Williams College Ephs won their 6th consecutive and 18th of the last 19 Championships with a final score of 1,873. Williams dominated the event, winning all five relays and 10 of the 19 individual events. Last year’s fourth place finisher Tufts was second with 1,439.5 and Amherst College was third with 1,322.

Williams sophomore Laura Westphal was named swimmer of the meet.  Westphal showed incredible range across the freestyle events, winning the 200, 500, and 1,650 freestyles and swimming the fastest split in the field in the 400 free relay and second fastest in the 200 free relay.  She is currently ranked second in DIII in all three of her individual events.  The four year award went to her teammate and fellow distance swimmer Alison McNamara.  McNamara won the 1,00 free and was runner-up in the 500 and 1,650 to Westphal.

Amherst’s Lindsay Ruderman was named Diver of the meet after winning both boards and her coach, Kai Robinson, was named diving coach of the year after coaching Ruderman and teammate Jackie Palermo to top 8 finishes.

The Coach of the Year award was split between Tufts’ Adam Hoyt and Wesleyan’s Peter Solomon.  Hoyts’ Tufts University team improved from fourth last year to second this year while Wesleyan consistently outperformed seeds, including placing second in both medley relays.

Time Trials

A number of teams time trialed events prior to the scheduled program. The Connecticut College 200 Medley Relay of Wilbur, Healey, Ammon, and Haskell were able to improve their time from Saturday night by just under a tenth to 1:44.66, better than the 1:44.95 it took to qualify for NCAA’s last year. Amherst sophomore Ingrid Shu was unable to reach the B cut in the 50 free, but Williams freshman Georgia Panitz did make the standard in the 200 free in 1:52.20. In the 200 free relay Bowdoin added 200IM champion Sterling Dixon to their Friday team of Mary Laurita, Marshall Lowery, and Amanda Banasiak and were able to improve their time by over a second, breaking their 2015 school record by .09 to finish in 1:34.99, just under the 1:35.15 it took to qualify for NCAA’s last year.

1650 Free

1. Laura Westphal, Williams, 16:50.89

2. Alison McNamara, Williams, 17:02.33

3. Julia Ruggiero, Amherst, 17:14.62

500 and 200 free champion Laura Westphal continued her freestyle dominance, leading wire to wire and winning the event by nearly twelve seconds in 16:50.89. She had a four second lead at the 500 and a six second lead over 1,000 free champion and teammate Alison McNamara, who finished in 17:02.33, at the 1,000. Angela Ruggiero of Amherst was third in 17:14.62 while Colby freshman Addie Page was fourth in 17:17.35, under the 17:18.18 it took to qualify for NCAA’s in 2018. Bowdoin freshman Kathleen Kemp was fifth in 17:22.28. Kemp has improved steadily over the meet as she failed to score in the 500 and was twelfth in the 1,000 in 10:31.22 – almost 1.2 seconds slower than her first 1,000 of her 1,650 tonight.

200 Back

1. Gwyneth Maloy, Williams 2:01.91

2. Bridgitte Kowng, Amherst 2:02.69

3. Abby Matheny, Williams 2:02.98

Gwyenth Maloy came from fourth at the 100 to take the win in the 200 back. Top qualifier Marshall Lowery of Bowdoin led at the 100 over Wesleyan’s O’Halloran. Williams’ Maloy made a move at the 100 and was even with Lowery at the 150. Lowery faded over the last lap to fifth while Maloy closed with the fastest split in the field. Bridgitte Kwong of Amherst repeated her runner-up finish from last year after tieing Maloy for the fastest last 50. Matheny of Williams swam an even race to take third. All three, as well as Lowery’s 2:02.07 morning swim and O’Halloran’s fourth place 2:02.99 finish, were under the 2:03.09 it took to qualify for NCAA’s in 2018.

100 Free

1. Olivia Haskell, Connecticut College :51.15

2. Natalie Rumpelt, Amherst :51.36

3. Frances Vandermeer, Middlebury 51.46

Top qualifier Olivia Haskell of Connecticut College took the 100 free with a time of :51.15. Her morning swim of :50.66 was a best time by eight tenths and just .02 behind current Brown University women’s coach Kate Kovenock’s school record. Amherst’s Natalie Rumpelt, the third place finisher in the 200 free, was second in :51.36 while Middlebury junior Frances Vandermeer earned her third all-NESCAC award by finishing third. They were joined under the 2018 NCAA qualifying time of :51.59 by fourth place finisher and 50 and 100 back champion Caroline Murphy of Wesleyan (:51.57) and Connecticut’s Maddie Ford (:51.59). It was a best time by almost one second for Ford who has now improved her lifetime bests in the 50, 100, and 200 free at this meet.

200 Breast

  1. Caroline White, Williams 2:14.72
  2. Nina Fitzgerald, Amherst 2:17.44
  3. Lily Kurtz, Tufts 2:20.57

Williams’ White had a full second lead over Amherst’s Fitzgerald at the 100, 1:04.52 to 1:05.52, and extended her lead over the back half of the race to win by a body length in 2:14.72. Fitzgerald finished in 2:17.44, two body lengths ahead of third place finisher Lily Kurtz of Tufts time of 2:20.57. All three were under the 2:21.68 it took to qualify for NCAA’s in 2018. White’s time is the second fastest in the NCAA heading into this weekend while Fitzgerald’s is sixth.

200 Fly

1. Amy Socha, Tufts 2:01.83

2. Sterling Dixon, Bowdoin 2:02.07

3. Marie Fagan, Amherst 2:02.87

Amherst freshman Marie Fagan was first at the 100 in :57.54 followed by Tufts’ Amy Socha. Bowdoin’s Sterling Dixon swam the fastest third 50 in the field to take a slight lead at the 150 but Socha barreled through the last 50 in :31.52 to take the win in 2:01.83, just ahead of Dixon’s 2:02.07. It was an over four second improvement from Socha’s previous best of 2:05.96 set at the 2018 NCAC meet before transferring from Kenyon as well as a Tufts University school record. Dixon’s time was likewise a personal best, breaking her Bowdoin school record of 2:03.05 from her 2017 NESCAC runner-up finish. Not to be outdone, it was also a personal best and school record for Amherst’s Fagan who dropped from a previous time of 2:06.97. All three, as well as Connecticut’s Andrea Higgins morning swim of 2:04.33, were under the 2:05.11 it took to qualify for NCAA’s last year.

3 Meter Diving

1. Lindsey Ruderman, Amherst 514.00

2. Gabby Mercier, Williams 453.65

3. Jackie Palermo, Amherst 425.45

1 Meter champion Lindsey Ruderman swept the boards, winning the 3 Meter by over 50 points. Like on 1 Meter, Gabby Mercier of Williams was second. Ruderman’s Amherst teammate Jackie Palermo was third. All three hit the NCAA standard of 410.00.

400 Free Relay

1. Williams College 3:25.97

2. Connecticut College 3:26.95

3. Wesleyan University 3:27.07

Williams College went five for five on relays, winning the 400 free relay with a young team of freshmen Georgia Panitz and Anna Peterson and sophomores Gwyneth Maloy and Laura Westphal. 500, 200, and 1,650 free winner Laura Westphal showed her range with her 50.24 split, fastest in the field, after having the second fastest split in the 200 free relay. The race for second came down to the wire as 200 free relay runner-up Connecticut out touched 200 and 400 medley relay runner-up Wesleyan by .12. Connecticut led by three tenths going into the anchor leg, Wesleyan’s Grace Middleton pulled ahead, leading by .17 with 50 yards to go, but sophomore Maddie Ford was able to overtake her for second. Fourth place Amherst, fifth place Bates, sixth place Bowdoin, and seventh place Tufts were all under the time it took to qualify for NCAA’s in 2018.

Combined Team Scores – Through Event 24

  1. Williams College – 1,873
  2. Tufts – 1,439.5
  3. Amherst – 1,322
  4. Bates College – 1,021
  5. Connecticut College – 932.5
  6. Wesleyan University – 899
  7. Bowdoin College – 836
  8. Middlebury College – 730
  9. Colby College – 445.5
  10. Trinity College – 408.5
  11. Hamilton College – 397


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Impressive conference meet. Great academic schools. Very fast swimming. Big conference. Epitomizes the best of Div 3 swimming. Congratulations Ladies and good luck at Nationals.

MI Native

I appreciate the level of detail in this article. Laura Westphal had some impressive swims, but even more so for Williams College’s Caroline White, who swept the three breaststroke events, and made huge contributions to both Medley Relays. White’s cumulative power points for her three wins were 2585 compared to 2490 for Westphal. The NESCAC Swimmer of the Year is decided by coach vote, and apparently they considered overall relay contributions. For the sake of swimmers who excel in stroke events, perhaps the NESCAC should consider basing this award on power points.

Robert Reiser

A reasonable argument, but given a choice between the two swimmers I would choose Westphal. Her 1:47 800 relay split was otherworldly, especially considering that she likely was not fully rested, and she had the fastest 100 splits and second fastest 50 split. In contrast, I don’t believe Caroline White was even on their free relays (just looked, she wasn’t). So, a 4 relay (maximum) swimmer versus someone who was on 2 relays. Remember, NESCAC has B relays and White wasnt on those, perhaps because she wasnt needed for the win and they wanted to make sure she was fresh for the individual events, but regardless she was not on them.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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