Women's Swimmers Compete At NESCAC's

February 16, 2007

The Middlebury women's swimming and diving squads will take part in the 2007 NESCAC Women's Swimming and Diving Championship this weekend. The three-day event begins on Friday, Feb. 16 at the Carl R. Samuelson and Robert B. Muir Pool in Williamstown, Mass.

Williams College, the six-time defending NESCAC Women's Swimming and Diving Champions, will look to add a seventh crown to its collection this weekend.

Williams will look to follow up a 2006 performance that saw the Ephs gain a championship-record 1,878.5 points without the services of 2006 graduate Lindsay Payne, a three-time Swimmer of the Meet and former All-American who holds every championship breaststroke record. This year's field offers plenty of competition for the 50, 100 and 200-yard breaststroke titles. Colby junior Kelly Norsworthy (West Hartford, Conn.) finished first in the 50 and 200-yard breaststroke at the 2006 championship along with a second-place showing in the 100-yard event, while Wesleyan junior Amanda Shapiro (Miller Place, N.Y.) placed behind Norsworthy in each breaststroke event at last year's champi-onship. Both swimmers are among the leaders in the conference in the 50 and 100 this winter. Look for Tufts senior Chloe Young-Hyman (Baltimore, Md.), Connecticut College junior Katie Brochu (Smithfield, R.I.), Middlebury junior Katie Chambers (Annapolis, Md.) and sopho-more Catherine Suppan (Burlington, Vt.), and Williams sophomore Amanda Nicholson (Chappaqua, N.Y.) to all challenge in the breaststroke.

Amherst and Middlebury are only two of the teams that will be looking to unseat the Ephs and earn the NESCAC title for the first time this weekend. Both Amherst and Middlebury have either finished second or third in the championship field behind Williams since the event's inception in 2001, with the Panthers placing second and the Jeffs coming in third last year at Bowdoin. In the freestyle events, watch for Amherst sophomore Meghan Stern (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Middlebury junior Sara Cowie (Palm Beach, Fla.) to defend their 2006 titles. Stern finished first in the 200 and 500-yard freestyle along with a second-place showing in the 50 and 100-yard events behind Williams' Payne. Cowie came away with the 1,000 and 1,650-yard titles, and was second in the 500-yard freestyle. Others to look for include Stern's teammate, sophomore Mary Marvel (Williamsburg, Mass.), Bowdoin junior Megan McLean (Simsbury, Conn.), Middlebury rookie Katie Soja (Sudbury, Mass.), and Williams' tandem of junior Annie Ferguson (McLean, Va.) and sophomore Mary Wilson Molen (Birmingham, Ala.). Molen finished second to Cowie in both the 1,000 and 1,650-yard freestyle during her first appearance in the championship last year.

In other events, Amherst junior Brittany Sasser (Belmont, Mass.) enters the weekend with the nation's best times for the 100 and 200-yard backstroke. Sasser, who has won the 100 and 200 in each of the last two years, owns the championship record for all three backstroke events. Middlebury junior Marika Ross (Shorewood, Wis.) hopes to continue her stellar showing in the butterfly races. Ross, among the national leaders in the 100 and 200-yard fly, holds championship records in both the 100 and 200, as she set the mark in the 100 last February.

The relay events may be up for grabs at this year's championship. Four of the five events last February were won by Williams, however the Ephs have lost a majority of the swimmers from last year's relay teams due to graduation. Amherst may be poised to claim the relay titles with most of its relay swimmers returning to the championship. The Jeffs finished in the top three in each relay event in 2006, setting a championship record in the 800-yard freestyle relay. Colby, Connecticut College and Middlebury have all had strong showings this season in the relays and will provide plenty of competition over the weekend.

In diving, Middlebury junior Alanna Hanson (Golden Bridge, N.Y.) will look to defend her 1-meter crown from last year against a strong field that includes Bates sophomore Kelsey Lamdin (Brunswick, Maine), Hamilton sophomore Beth Beaury (Flower Mound, Texas), and Tufts junior Kendall Swett (Akron, Ohio). Lamdin finished second in the 3-meter event in 2006, while Hanson was fourth.

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 5:30 p.m. start on Sunday. Tickets are $8 per session or $20 for a weekend pass for adults and $2 per session or $8 for the weekend for children and students. Doors will open two hours prior to the heats and finals. Updated schedules and championship results can be found at www.nescac.com.

--courtesy NESCAC--