From day one, Williams seemed fated to win the NESCAC Championship this year. After the first session, they have only continued to build their lead, increasing that point total by about 100 points with every event contested. At the conclusion of tonight’s events, the Ephs had 1917 points, almost 800 ahead of second place Amherst.
The evening began with the final heat of the women’s mile. For many athletes, this is the first time they have swum the event – the NESCAC event format usually swims the 1000 freestyle as opposed to the mile. Regardless, there was some tight racing out there, and Sarah Thompson took down the meet record in the event. Thompson won the mile at the NCAA meet last year, so it’s no surprise to see her sitting atop the NESCAC standings as well. She finished five seconds ahead of teammate Megan Pierce with a 16:54.08. Pierce’s second place time was the only other sub-17 minute finish: 16:59.55. Wesleyan had the third place finisher (17:12.09) in Angela Slevin.
Thompson’s victory set off a NESCAC title winning streak by the Ephs. In the 200 backstroke, Katherine Bennett put up the only sub 2 minute swim, finishing in 1:59.22 to reset the pool record as well. Her closest competition was Margaret Rosenbaum of Hamilton who finished in at 2:00.86. Another Eph, Olivia Jackson, was third (2:01.98). In the B final, Trinity freshman Eliza Maciag had a standout swim, dropping about four seconds to win the heat with a 2:06.35. That would have been sixth in the A final.
Faye Sultan continued the Eph streak with her victory in the 100 freestyle. She posted a 51.21 to come out victorious ahead of two Connecticut swimmers. Julia Pielock and Sam Pierce have both had standout meets for Conn. Pielock was the 50 freestyle champion and Pierce had a runner up finish in the 200 freestyle. Pielock’s final time was a 51.59; Pierce was about a half second behind, finishing up in 52.05 for third. In 2013 it took a 51.52 to qualify for the NCAA meet; however Pierce and Pielock both have B cuts in multiple events.
Emily Hyde of Amherst stepped up to stop the Eph winning streak in the 200 breaststroke, but even her pool record time of 2:18.11 couldn’t combat the four Ephs scoring in finals. Hyde’s closest competition was Williams’ Olivia Clark who clocked in at 2:19.56. Jamie Hillas of Middlebury who was runner up in the 100 breaststroke was third in 2:20.21. Williams sophomore Emma Nuzzo dropped two seconds and won the B final with a 2:22.65. Hannah Hummel of Amherst also had an impressive drop in finals, going over four seconds faster to win the C final in a 2:25.08. That’s just faster than 8th was in the A final, or second in the B final.
The 200 butterfly saw the return of an Eph to the Championship Titles. Pierce – the Williams one – led a 1-4 sweep of the butterfly with teammates Alyssa Levine, Paige Haller and Sofie Pietrantonio. Pierce’s time was 2:05.23, not the fastest she’s been all season, but enough to get the job done. Levine took runner up with a 2:06.46 and Haller and Pietrantonio were right behind: 2:06.78 and 2:06.94, respectively. In the B final, Sarah Conklin dropped nearly six seconds and posted a 2:04.05, which would have won the event.
On the boards, the Ephs went 1-2 with McKenzie Murdoch leading the way, just shy of the 500 point mark. She posted a 499.70 to break her own pool record. Michelle Higgins tallied 484.55 points to finish runner up to her teammate. Lizzy Linsmayer who was victorious on one meter, finished in third with 444.05 points.
In the final event of the night, the Ephs took off yet again, easily winning by more than two seconds. The 400 freestyle relay quartet of Lauren Jones, Jackson, Sultan and Thompson posted a 3:27.67 to shatter the pool record set in 1994 by Kenyon (3:28.44). In second place was Conn’s team touching in at 3:29.83 for second. Bates was third in 3:30.15. All three teams were under the 3:30.57 that it took to qualify for the NCAA meet last year.
Final team scores: Williams (1917), Amherst (1148), Middlebury (1135), Bates (1056), Connecticut (1030), Bowdoin (749), Tufts (689), Wesleyan (520) Hamilton (453), Colby (397), Trinity (341)
For complete meet results click here.