NEW LONDON, Conn. – Opening up its conference schedule against the host Camels of Connecticut College, No. 7 Williams came away with a 205-82 victory. The win moves the Ephs to 3-1 on the season and they remain undefeated against Division III opponents.
Williams opened up strong beginning with the first individual event, as senior Katherine O’Leary swam away from the field to win the 1,000 freestyle with a time of 10:41.74. O’Leary finished nearly nine seconds ahead of her closest competitor, leading from start to finish in the race. In the 200 breaststroke O’Leary once again came out on top, finishing first in 2:30.47, just ahead of second-place Esther Mehesz of Conn (2:30.95). Sophomore Molly Prindle (2:33.91) and senior Rebecca Maher (2:34.48) finished in third and fourth place respectively.
“I think [O'Leary] set the tone early on for us and swam really well…definitely one of the stand-out performances of the meet,” head coach Steve Kuster said.
O’Leary wrapped up the meet in the 400 individual medley, finishing second with a time of 4:33.46.
Caroline Wilson took top honors in the 400, leading a Williams sweep alongside sophomore Sarah Thompson (3rd, 4:34.02). Wilson, the defending national champion in the event, finished in 4:31.75. Wilson also won the 200 butterfly by a two-second margin, touching the wall in 2:09.43. First-year Maddy Holker also had an impressive swim, taking third place in the event (2:14.80) while sophomore Erica Bucki (2:18.37) and freshman Anna Epstein (2:19.15) made it four Ephs out of the top five finishers. In her third individual event, Wilson took home a third victory, easily winning the 100 freestyle by more than a second (52.38). Senior Bryn Dunbar placed fourth (54.59), just ahead of first-year Breanna Nguyen (54.97).
Nguyen captured an individual win of her own in the 200 freestyle, placing first with a time of 1:57.21. Senior Rebecca Maher was next into the wall in 2:00.11, holding off a late charge by Conn’s Mehesz.
Maddy Holker earned another win for the Ephs in the 100 butterfly (1:00.14). Junior Aly Levine took second in the event with a time of 1:00.83. Rookie Katie Bennett took first place in the 100 backstroke (59.83), just ahead of Angela Sun (1:00.92). Bennett showed her versatility across disciplines by taking second place in the 500 freestyle (5:17.22), a tough change from her earlier sprints.
Sweeping the backstroke events, sophomore Sarah Thompson outclassed the rest of the field in the 200, capturing first well ahead of the rest of the pack in 2:10.62. First-year Faye Sultan took third place (2:15.28) while Sun was right behind in fourth (2:15.83). Thompson also swam well in the 50 freestyle, coming in second (24.87), a scant 12 hundredths of a second behind the leader. Sultan came in third in the event (25.13). Wrapping up the stroke events, senior Liz Visconti led the way for Williams in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.36), ahead of junior Aly Levine in second place (1:12.31).
On the diving boards Williams had another successful outing. Junior McKenzie Murdoch posted a season-high score of 301.65 on the 1-meter board, ahead of sophomore Michelle Higgins, who also had a season-high score (289.95). In the 3-meter competition, the positions were reversed with Higgins capturing the top spot (266.48) and Murdoch close behind (256.42).
“It’s great to open up our conference schedule with a win,” Kuster said. “Conn is a great team, and I was generally happy with the way we swam. Obviously there is always room for improvement and we’re looking forward to working out a few kinks as we move forward.”