The women of Williams have extended their lead considerably over the course of this evening’s session. The events contested tonight – with exception of the 1000 freestyle – were all championship events and have times which could potentially qualify athletes for the NCAA meet in March.
Amherst took the lead in the medley relay opening the evening’s events. The team of Sabrina Lee, Emily Hyde, Sarah Conklin and Ashleigh Stoddart posted a pool and meet record time of 1:44.49 to just beat out Middlebury by .02 seconds for the win. The whole race was close, and there was only one one hundredth separating the anchor legs of Stoddart and Middlebury’s Morgan Burke (23.72 and 23.73). The Panthers’ relay also managed to sneak under the meet relay, set last year by Amherst at 1:44.54. In third place came the Ephs at 1:46.15.
The next event was the 1000 freestyle, won by a freshman from Bates – Julia Smachlo. Smachlo dropped a little over seventeen seconds to win, posting a 10:17.06 for the crown. She wasn’t the only one dropping big, though. Conn’s Valerie Urban dropped nearly twenty seconds for her second place 10:18.68, and Amherst’s Charlotte Chudy posted a 10:22.70 for third place after dropping almost twenty three seconds from her seed time.
Megan Pierce, a freshman for the Ephs who has been making waves all season, appeared in full force tonight to win the 400 IM, breaking the pool record in the process. Pierce’s 4:23.02 is a few seconds off the meet record (4:30.59) but with the way she has been improving over the past year, it might not be too much to surmise that she’ll get the record next year. Pierce’s final time was also well below the invited time for the 2013 NCAAs (4:28.27). Joining the Eph youngster in the top three was another first year – Sara Daher of Bates, who posted a 4:24.59 to come in second. Daher was also well below the 2013 qualification mark. To round out the top three, Wesleyan junior Angela Slevin posted a 4:32.15 for third.
Defending champion Conklin from Amherst successfully continued her title streak with a victory in the 100 butterfly this evening. Conklin won decisively, posting a 56.12 to claim the win. That time is a little shy of the 2013 invited time in the event; last year it took a 55.9 in order to make it to NCAAs. Alyssa Levine of Williams was second (56.74) and Bates’ Lindsey Prelgovisk rounds out the top three, finishing with a 57.14.
NCAA champion Sarah Thompson (Williams) appeared to claim an individual title for the Ephs tonight as well. She posted a 1:51.42 in the 200 freestyle to claim the victory. Her time is .02 slower than the 2013 invited time, though as the national champion in this event (and in the mile) it’s likely she’ll qualify in something to get to the Big Meet. Conn’s Sam Pierce placed second with a 1:52.09 and freshman Lauren Jones for the Ephs rounded our the top three with a time of 1:52.23.
Hyde returned from her victorious relay to claim and individual event title for Amherst as well, posting a 1:03.89 in the 100 breaststroke. She set a pool record and managed to hold off Middlebury’s Jamie Hillas in the final 50 by .01. Hillas touched in with a 1:03.90 for second, followed by Jenny Hu of Tufts in third (1:04.01). All three women were under the 2013 invited time of 1:04.51.
Hamilton senior Margaret Rosenbaum returned after victory last night to claim yet another individual win, this time in the 100 backstroke. She was the only swimmer under 55, posting a 54.95, just shy of her own meet record established last year (54.70). That time is well under the 56.13 that it took to make the NCAA champs last year. Williams had the next two spots, with Katherine Bennett taking second (56.17) and Olivia Jackson in third (57.37).
The final event of the day was the women’s 800 freestyle relay. Williams stepped up in force to claim the victory by over four seconds, just a hair shy of the meet record established in 2008 by Amherst. The team of Jones, Breanna Nguyen, Pierce and Thompson were over two seconds behind the leader Amherst for the first 600 of the race. But with Thompson’s 1:49.49 anchor leg, the quartet pulled into the lead for victory (7:30.53). Amherst faded to third (7:34.72), with Bates sneaking in on a 1:51.79 leg from Daher to take second (7:34.62).
After the night’s events, the team scores are as follows:
Williams (1341), Middlebury (893), Amherst (875.5), Bates (838.5), Connecticut (802.5), Bowdoin (615), Tufts (543.5), Wesleyan (421), Hamilton (369), Colby (347), Trinity (267)
The meet resumes for the final day of competition tomorrow morning at 10 am for prelims and 6 pm for finals. For live results, click here.