Women's Swimmers To Host NESCAC Championships

February 10, 2005

2/15/05 - Middlebury College will host the 2005 NESCAC Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at the Middlebury Natatorium this weekend, Friday, February 18 through Sunday, February 20. Williams will look to continue its streak of four straight NESCAC Championships after previously recording 13 consecutive New England titles. Middlebury placed second at last year's meet followed by Amherst and Tufts.

This year's meet will display a group of standout seniors, challenged by a few upcoming underclassmen. Eight-time All American Kate Kovenock, a senior at Connecticut College, will enter the Championships ranked first in the 50, 100, and 200-yard freestyle, and 50-yard butterfly. Kovenock, who is ranked in the top ten nationally in all three freestyle events, will attempt to best her meet records set last year. Bowdoin sophomore Katie Chapman will challenge Kovenock in the 200, and enters with the best time in the 500 free just ahead of a pair of Middlebury freshman Marika Ross and Sara Cowie. Cowie, the top seed in the distance freestyle events, is ranked 11th nationally in the 1,650-yard freestyle.

In front of a home crowd, Ross enters the competition with the fastest marks in three events, the 100 and 200-yard butterfly, and the 400-yard individual medley. Ross is ranked second in the 200 individual medley and the 50 fly and is among the top swimmers nationally in all five events. Ross will be challenged by a host of seniors. Bates' Vanessa Williamson is the NESCAC record holder and two-time defending champion in the 200-yard butterfly. Laura Miller of Colby is the NESCAC record holder and two-time defending champion in the 100-yard event. Williams' Mary Stanghoener enters with the second best time in both the 100 and 200-yard events. Chapman placed second in both the 200 and 400 individual medley at last year's championships.

Two time National Champion Lindsay Payne returns as a senior for Williams this year after a year off. At the 2003 NESCAC Championships she won the 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke setting the meet record in all three events. Payne, the NCAA Division III record holder in both the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke, enters the 2005 conference championships with the nation's top times in those two events.

Amherst freshman Brittany Sasser is ranked first nationally in the 100 and 200-yard backstroke and in the 200-yard individual medley. Sasser's times are faster than the NESCAC Championship Meet Records in the 100 and 200 backstroke, but she will face last year's NESCAC Champion in both events, Williams senior Jessica Yankura whose times are also among the nation's best this season.

The Amherst women, ranked nationally in all five relay competitions, enter the meet with the best swims to date in the 200 and 800-yard free relay as well as the 400-yard medley relay. Middlebury enters the championships with the top time in the 400 free relay while Colby will pace the 200-yard medley relay field.

In diving, Hamilton junior Emily Chinkhammer will stand out in both the 3 meter and 1 meter dives. She will be challenged by Middlebury senior Tessa Truex who placed second in last year's championship.

Competition will get underway each day with preliminary heats at 10:00 a.m. Finals will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, 5:50 p.m. Saturday and 5:15 p.m. start on Sunday. Updated championship results can be found at www.nescac.com.

Tickets prices for the events are as follows: Adults: $4/session, $20 all sessions, Students: $2/session, $10 allsessions, Children 8 & under: free.