Amherst Swimming & Diving
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Amherst College
Amherst, MA 01002

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NESCAC Women's Championship Set to Begin Friday at Williams

NESCAC%20ChampionshipFrom a NESCAC Release

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College women’s swimming and diving team will head to Williams College this weekend to compete in the 2011 NESCAC Championships. The three-day meet begins Friday, Feb. 18, with preliminary heats in the morning and championship races in the evening at the Muir-Samuelson Pool in Williamstown, Mass.

Competition will get underway each day with preliminary heats at 10 a.m. Finals will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, 5:50 p.m. Saturday, and 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $6 per session or $30 for an all-session pass for adults, and $2 per session for children and students or $10 for an all-session pass. Doors will open two hours prior to the heats and finals. Real-time results and a free live webcast will be provided each day.

This weekend will mark the final league meet for Amherst senior Kendra Stern (Albuquerque, NM). The reigning Swimmer of the Meet has an opportunity to become only the second person in meet history to earn the conference's top honor three times, as she was also named Swimmer of the Meet as a first-year. After putting her name in the NESCAC record books in the 100-, 200- and 500-yard freestyle races during her first-ever appearance in 2008, Stern went on to win all three during her sophomore season, then smashed her own records at the conference championship as a junior. Heading into the weekend, Stern owns the top times in the conference in all three events and could once again post a new set of record-breaking times.

Friday's 50-yard freestyle may also feature a repeat winner with the return of junior Megan Gibbons of Hamilton. Gibbons, who has one of the fastest times in the conference in the 50 heading into the weekend, edged Connecticut College junior Erika Fernandes for the 2010 title by two-hundredths of a second. Caroline Wilson of Williams will be favored in the distance events, with challengers including Tufts senior Megan Kono and Amherst's Anna Pietrantonio (Chevy Chase, MD).

The Ephs may have an advantage over the field when it comes to the butterfly events thanks to the efforts of junior Logan Todhunter. Todhunter made a splash during her first league championship in 2009, taking all three fly events in record-setting time and garnering Swimmer of the Meet honors. A year later, Todhunter won both the 50- and 100-yard butterfly events and was also part of three first-place relay teams. The 50-yard butterfly could go to a first-year performer, as rookies Mia Greenwald of Tufts, Allison Merz (Los Angeles, CA) of Amherst, and Maggie Rosenbaum of Hamilton all have posted some of the best times in the conference this season.

The breaststroke events will be up for grabs this weekend. Gone is the Williams tandem of Lisa Cucolo and Christina Metcalf, as the two combined to finish first and second in the 100 and 200 before graduating last May. Returning to the field will be Amherst's Rebecca Kelley ’12 (Richmond, VA), who won the 50-yard breaststroke last February, a year after finishing fourth in the event. Kelley holds the top mark in the conference in the event this season and is also near the top in the 100, a race in which she placed third last year.

Amherst won all three backstroke events at last year's championship, with sophomore Emily Swett (Rochester, NY) claiming the 100 and 200 individual titles and classmate Maddy Sprung-Keyser (Los Angeles, CA) winning the 50. The Jeffs' duo will be challenged by a number of first-year competitors, including Hamilton's Rosenbaum, Williams' Stephanie Nguyen, and Middlebury's Andrea Tibbetts.

In diving, Amherst senior Meggie Meisinger (St. Louis, MO) is the top returner from 2010 after recording top-three performances on the 1- and 3-meter boards. Watch for first-year teammate Lizzy Linsmayer (Denver, CO) and the Ephs' McKenzie Murdoch to also challenge for the diving crowns.

Williams has overpowered its opponents at the NESCAC championship in recent years with its depth. The Ephs won half of the 24 overall events in 2010 en route to their 10th title, notably capturing the top five spots in the 400-yard individual medley. Following the Ephs last winter was Amherst (1,376), as the Jeffs have finished in the top three every year the championship has been held.