INDIANAPOLIS -- Bates senior Kara Leasure surely would have liked a better outcome than what she got Saturday at the NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships. Bates' co-captain swam a 2:26.30 time in her preliminary heat of the the 200-yard breaststroke on Saturday morning, missing out on swimming in one of Saturday night's finals and settling for 28th place out of 31 swimmers overall.
Still, Saturday's race shouldn't obscure the impressive way Leasure did finish her career, by achieving precisely what she set out for at the beginning of the 2011-12 season: not just qualifying for nationals, but qualifying well enough to actually be selected.
Leasure (Los Alamos, N.M.) showed incredible versatility in racing for Bates in the 500 freestyle on Wednesday (finishing 39th in 5:15.20), and in the 400 individual medley on Thursday (finishing 24th in 4:38.97). She is Bates' first swimmer to compete at NCAAs since Charlotte Green '11 and Katelyn Drake '10 in 2009, and she finishes her career with her name attached to seven team event records.
"I can't say enough about how proud I am of her for sticking with her plan and never giving up," said head coach Peter Casares prior to this week's meet. "She had many an up and down this year, and in the end that dedication to all three paid off with three national cuts in three very different events. We couldn't ask for better representation from the program."