Schenectady, NY-- Coming off of an extremely successful 2011-2012 season that saw them capture a twelfth straight NESCAC title in addition to finishing in 2nd place at NCAA championships, their highest finish since 2003, Women's Swimming and Diving opened up a new season against Union College in hopes of continuing their place as one of not only the region's best teams, but also one of the top teams in the nation. The hard work the women put in during offseason workouts showed as they handled the Dutchwomen 227-55 for their first win of the year.
Looking to replace a strong graduated senior class that included 11-time individual national champion Logan Todhunter, Williams relied on both an infusion of youth in the form of new talented first years, as well as several stalwart veterans, in taking home the victory. Senior co-captain Caroline Wilson led by example in winning two individual events with ease, the 200 yd butterfly (2:06.32) and 200 yd Individual Medley (2:08.97).
In the butterfly Wilson touched the wall four and a half seconds ahead of the next closest finisher, junior Alyssa Levine, who finished in (2:11.07). Next up was first year Maddy Holker, taking third place in 2:17.10. Things were much closer in the IM for Wilson, as sophomore Sarah Thompson (2:10.20) was right on the heels of her teammate's winning time (2:08.97). Holker would once again shadow her teammates with a strong fourth place finish (2:19.13), just narrowly missing out on another third place result.
Thompson leaped to the forefront in her own right in capturing victory in the 100 yd freestyle with a time of 53.34. Junior Stephanie Nguyen (54.83) and sophomore Catherine Treesh (56.06) finished close behind in another sweep for the Ephs. Nguyen outclassed the field in the 100 yd backstroke, her main event, taking a nearly four second margin of victory in finishing with a time of 1:00.21. Senior Jennifer Turner took third place for Williams in 1:05.31.
In the distance events the Ephs once again flexed their muscles, with senior Rebecca Maher capturing first place in the grueling 1000 yd freestyle in 10:54.77. Sophomore Tess Vorselen was next up, grabbing second place in 11:04.98 while classmate Erica Bucki completed the sweep in 11:06.78. Another senior, Bryn Dunbar, swam a quick time of 25.40 in the 50 yd freestyle to outplace first year Anna Epstein (25.91) and sophomore Molly Prindle (26.37), showing that Williams could fight hard on both ends of the distance spectrum. Prindle, swimming in her more comfortable breaststroke events, claimed first place in the 200 yd breaststroke (2:32.26), finishing ahead of second placed Alyssa Levine (2:35.46). Levine, locked in a battle with Rebecca Maher for third place, narrowly touched out her teammate, who finished in (2:35.82).
First year Breanna Nguyen leapt to the forefront with a series of strong performances in her first dual meet for the Ephs, taking first place in both the 100 yd breaststroke (1:08.11) and the 500 yd freestyle (5:14.32). In the breaststroke she finished ahead of classmate Emma Nuzzo (1:10.26) and senior co-captain Liz Visconti (1:11.08), both impressive swims in their own right. In the 500 Nguyen cruised out in front and never looked back, finishing nearly five seconds ahead of her closest competitor, senior Katherine O'Leary, who came to the wall in 5:19.05. First year Anna Epstein also had an impressive debut performance, following up her third place finish in the 50 freestyle with a victory in the 100 yd butterfly. Epstein's time of 59.67 put her just ahead of senior Kelsey Roggensack (1:00.69) and first year Emma Nuzzo (1:01.17) in yet another Williams sweep.
Rounding out the strokes for the Ephs was first year Katie Bennett, who blew away the rest of the field in the 200 yd backstroke. Bennett's time of 2:08.47 put her ahead of second placed Tess Vorselen (2:15.35). Bennett also had a strong swim in the 200 yd freestyle (2:00.40), although it would not be enough to unseat Katherine O'Leary from her position atop the podium, as she finished just ahead of her teammate in 1:59.08.
In the diving events junior McKenzie Murdoch demonstrated once again why she is considered one of the top divers in not just the conference, but the nation. Murdoch, the defending conference champion on both the 1m and 3m boards, easily took over where she left off at the end of last season. Her score of 286.04 on the one meter was over seventy points higher than her nearest competitor, while on three meter she went even higher with a score of 287.55.
All in all the Ephs have a lot to be proud of following their first competition of the year. The manner of their victory, including wins in both relay events, showcased their tremendous depth in addition to top-end individual talent. Williams will now work hard for another two weeks in the water before turning around to face two Division I teams in Boston College and Fordham on December 1st.