NESCAC Women's Championship to Begin Friday at Middlebury
Becca Thompson '12 will help Amherst attempt to defend its NESCAC title in the 800-yard freestyle relay.
AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College women’s swimming and diving team will be in search of its first conference title when the Lord Jeffs head to Middlebury College for this weekend’s NESCAC Championship. The three-day event will begin Friday, Feb. 19, at the Middlebury Natatorium.
Events will begin at 10 a.m. each day, with finals taking place in the evening. Tickets are being pre-sold by Middlebury College and will also be available at the door for $6 per session ($2 children and students) and $30 for an all-session pass ($10 children and students). Doors will open two hours prior to the heats and finals.
Fans unable to attend the conference championship will be able to watch the finals each night live on a pay-per-view basis ($6) courtesy of GoMidd.TV.
Williams College has won all nine NESCAC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, with Amherst finishing as the runner-up in 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2009. The Lord Jeffs have never placed lower than third.
Amherst—which posted a 7-1 dual meet record this season—returns five swimmers who earned All-Conference honors a year ago. Notably, Kendra Stern ’11 successfully defended her titles in the 100-, 200- and 500-yard freestyles, also leading the winning 800-yard freestyle relay team.
Stern has been named National Swimmer of the Week three times this season, and currently holds the NESCAC’s top times in the 50 (23.49), 100 (51.32), 200 (1:49.82) and 500 (4:54.78) freestyles, as well as the 100- (1:00.39) and 200-yard (2:06.01) individual medleys. Adding depth to the sprint freestyle events will be Amherst first-years Katie Vincett and Nicole Heise, with Anna Haring ’10 and Becca Thompson ’12 looking to join Stern in the distance freestyle races.
Taking part in their first conference championships with the potential to earn Amherst valuable points in the backstroke races are first-years Maddy Sprung-Keyser and Emily Swett. Sprung-Keyser holds the NESCAC’s second fastest time in the 50 back (28.44) this year, while Swett boasts the second best time in the 200 (2:08.76). Heise will also contribute in the backstroke events, as her 1:00.70 in the 100 is the conference's seventh fastest time.
Meggie Meisinger '11 will challenge for a pair of NESCAC titles in this weekend's diving events.
In the midst of an impressive sophomore season is Rebecca Kelley, who will lead Amherst in the breaststroke. Kelley swam the conference’s fourth fastest time in the 50 (31.92), the sixth best time in the 100 (1:08.81) and the 10th best in the 200 (2:30.93), sweeping the 100 and 200 events in four dual meets this season. Kelley will also join Stern to form a strong IM core, as she holds the conference’s fourth (1:02.87) fastest time in the 100 IM.
Senior co-captain Kendall Dacey earned All-NESCAC recognition in the 50- and 100-yard butterfly races last year, and this year holds the conference’s 10th fastest time in the 50 (27.68). Dacey also joins Sprung-Keyser, Fitzgerald and Stern as the conference’s fastest 400-yard medley relay team this year, as the Lord Jeffs’ time of 4:03.92 against Springfield is 1.16 seconds better than any other group in the conference.
Amherst has won the 800-yard freestyle relay in each of the past five NESCAC Women’s Championships, and this year the Lord Jeffs hold the conference’s top time in the event (7:54.39). Heise, Haring, Thompson and Stern swam a 7:54.39 against Springfield as the conference’s only team to crack the eight-minute mark, also combining for the NESCAC’s third fastest performance in the 400 free relay (3:41.17) this year.
Lindsay Gardel ’10 of Tufts University has established herself as the favorite in the diving events, as she has put in the NESCAC’s top scores in the 1- and 3-meter events after placing second on each board at last year’s conference championships. Challenging Gardel will be Amherst junior Meggie Meisinger, who this year holds the second best 3-meter score (270.22) and third best 1-meter performance (262.20). Meisinger placed sixth in the 3-meter and seventh in the 1-meter at the NESCAC Championship as a first-year.
For an order of events, real-time results and other information on the NESCAC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship, visit the NESCAC and Middlebury College websites.