In a set of back-to-back dual meets, the Williams Ephs came out on top and finished their season undefeated. For the men, it was the first time since the 2007-2008 season where that feat has been accomplished. En route to a perfect season, Williams faced off against MIT and then Middlebury.
Williams vs MIT
MIT was at home for the first meet since November when they faced off against the Ephs. The Engineers’ loss ended their own unbeaten season.
The Ephs started things off right on both sides, claiming the top spot in the 200 medley relay for both the men and the women. Then the distance athletes were up, and Sarah Thompson got the ball rolling for the incredible seven swims of the meet that landed in the top 16 in the nation for Division III athletes, from a dual meet.
Thompson’s mile – completed in 16:57.58 – is the third fastest mile in Division III so far this year, and that’s including among all the times posted at midseason by shaved, tapered and suited athletes. Undoubtedly, an incredible feat. Still not impressed? Thompson’s time put her 47 seconds ahead of the runner up Mary Thielking of MIT (17:44.31).
Ben Lin got his name into the nation’s top 16 with performances in the 100 and 200 backstroke. The Eph sophomore claimed victory in the 100 back with a 49.69, fast enough to take top 8 in the country. His 200 back time of 1:50.84 placed him 16th in the division.
Lin wasn’t the only backstroker making waves. On the women’s side, Katherine Bennett and Olivia Jackson also made their mark on the nation’s top 16. Bennett’s 200 backstroke time of 2:02.66 is the 6th fastest in DIII at this time, with Jackson’s runner-up time of 2:04.63 being the 16th fastest. Also on the top 16 list from midseason is MIT’s Veronika Jedryka who has the nation’s only 200 back time under two minutes (1:59.17) and the third fastest 100 back (55.42). Jedryka won the 100 back at this dual meet in 57.91.
Megan Pierce keeps moving up for the Ephs, and after this dual meet with the Engineers, she is now ranked as the 12th fastest 400 IMer in DIII. She won the event last year in 4:19.94. Her fastest time this year – 4:28.72 – is less than four seconds away from what she swam in prelims last year.
Also making some headway in the 400 IM was Tim Lattimer, posting a 4:01.61 to claim the top spot in the meet. Lattimer’s swim earned him the 14th fastest time in DIII. He beat out runner up Alexander Lednev of MIT (4:07.43) for the win. Lednev is ranked 5th with a season best time of 3:56.43. When these two face off again, it’ll be interesting. Lattimer finished 10th last year with Lednev in 12th at the NCAA finals. Lednev’s time this season is already two seconds faster than he was last year, and a smidge ahead of where Lattimer was.
Other names of note from the meet: Brendon Chiu claimed the victory in the 50 free for the Engineers (20.88) while teammate Austin Fathman took the 100 freestyle (45.63). Fathman is tied for 8th in the 50 freestyle nationally with a season best of 20.50, and holds the 5th fastest 100 free time at 44.62. Luke Schlueter finished 4th in the 200 butterfly, but holds the nation’s top time for DIII in the event at 1:48.63.
Lena Yang took home the top spot on the women’s side in the 50 free (24.07) for the Engineers. She is ranked top 16 in the 50 nationally.
For complete meet results, click here.
The Engineers will be back in the pool on Jan 31st to host Amherst.
Williams vs Middlebury
In the final dual meet of the season, coming off an intense meet with MIT, having spent ten hours on a bus and after a long week of training, the Ephs seized their final victory and sealed their undefeated season on both men’s and women’s sides.
The Ephs settled themselves in on both sides with dominance in the relays: the men grabbed the top two spots in the 400 medley relay while the women cruised in two seconds before their competition.
In a show of depth, the Ephs captured multiple events with 1-2 finishes, including a first-through-fifth sweep in the 500 freestyle spearheaded by Sarah Thompson. Only the top three athletes from a given team score in an event, but putting up so many talented mid distance swimmers is a testament to the Eph tradition. Thompson’s winning time was a 5:04.72.
Thompson was also part of another sweep, this one taking the top three places, led by Faye Sultan in the 50 backstroke. Sultan’s final time of 28.55 was .15 ahead of runner up Anna Epstein.
The meet against the Middlebury Panthers featured not only traditional meet events like 200s of strokes, but also non-traditional events, including 50s of strokes and the 100 IM. In these, the Panthers fared very well, and one of their women actually set a new school record, also.
Jamie Hillas put up the fastest time every time she hit the water, including on the runner-up Middlebury medley relay where she split a 1:04.27 – more than three seconds faster than any other breaststroker in the field. Individually, Hillas claimed the win in two non-NCAA events: the 50 breast (29.69) and 100 IM (58.91), the latter being a new school record. In NCAA sanctioned events, Hillas took home the top time in the 200 breaststroke with a commanding five second lead on the rest of the field, finishing in at 2:25.49.
Middlebury also had the fastest 50 freestyler in Lydia Carpenter who made it to the wall a tenth ahead of her competition, finishing in 24.77 to claim the win.
For the men, the off events provided Ben Lin with a new pool record (100 IM – 52.31) and a trio of event wins. Lin’s first individual win came in the 50 backstroke (23.78), leading a sweep of the top four places. Then he claimed the 50 fly (23.27) just holding off Middlebury’s Bryan Cheuk. Lin’s 100 IM was yet another 1-4 sweep as well as a new pool record. After the previous day, Lin was ranked in the top 16 of the country in both 100 and 200 backstrokes.
Middlebury’s distance swimmer Matthew Lantin took charge in the 1000 (9:49.29, winning by over 9 seconds. In the 200 breaststroke, Stephan Koenigsberger took the victory in 2:11.61.
The Ephs and Panthers have finished with their dual meet seasons, but will be back in competition for the championship season at the Middlebury Invite Jan 30-31.