MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- Senior captain Kara Leasure became Bates' first swimming event winner since 2005, breaking her own team record in the 200-yard breaststroke, to highlight the third and final day of the 2012 NESCAC Womens' Swimming & Diving Championships at Wesleyan.
The Bobcats finished fifth in the conference for the second straight year, and came out ahead of Connecticut College for the first time since 2003. Only 12-time repeating champion Williams (1,826), Amherst (1,460.5), Tufts (1,261.5) and Middlebury (1,142.5) outscored the Bobcats (867).
Leasure (Los Alamos, N.M.) beat her own former team record of 2:22.25 in the 200 breast with a time of 2:21.11, her second national 'B' cut time of the meet. Leasure beat out the runner-up, Amherst first-year Courtney Flynn, by 0.19 seconds. She is the team's first event winner at NESCACs since Kelsey Lamdin '09 swept the diving crowns in 2009, and the first swimmer to win an event since Vanessa Williamson '05 in 2005.
Other Bates highlights from Sunday included:
- Sophomore Emilie Geissinger (Bismarck, N.D.) made the A Final in the 100 free based on her prelim time of 53.26; she finished eighth in 53.38 in the final, for 22 team points for the Bobcats.
- Senior Jessica Howard (Cumberland, Maine) placed ninth in the preliminaries of the 3-meter diving event with 355.50 points, her second ninth-place outing of the meet. First-year Megan Lapp (Wellesley, Mass.) placed 13th with 297.55 points.
- The Bobcats finished the meet with a seventh-place performance in the 400 freestyle relay. Sophomore Gabrielle Sergi (Newburyport, Mass.), sophomore Emily Depew (Hudson, Ohio), Leasure and Geissinger checked in at 3:33.73 to edge Connecticut College for seventh place.
- First-year Sarah Bouchard (Annapolis, Md.) finished 12th in the 1,650-yard freestyle in a tie of 17:43.14, less than two seconds from the team record set by Tara Dugan '13 (Wilton, Conn.) last year.
The Bates women's swimming and diving team bookended the middle night of the 2012 NESCAC Women's Swimming & Diving Championships with team-record-breaking relay performances, helping to keep the Bobcats in fifth place out of 11 teams thus far.
The Bobcats finished the night with an impressive fourth-place performance in the 800 free relay, where the Bobcats set a team record at 7:45.43. Emilie Geissinger led off for Bates, followed by first-year Kristen Barry (West Hartford, Conn.), Kara Leasure and Sergi. The previous record of 7:47.15 was set a year ago at NESCACs by Geissinger, Leasure, Sergi and Charlotte Green '11.
Bates led off the evening session by setting the team record in the 200 medley relay finals, with Emily Depew, junior Catherine Sparks (New Canaan, Conn.), first-year Allie Skaperdas (New Canaan, Conn.) and Sergi finishing seventh in 1:48.20. The previous record, set one year ago, of 1:48.74 was set by Depew, Amanda Moore '14 (Shaker Heights, Ohio), Katy Zingale '13 (Sudbury, Mass.) and Green.
In other Bates highlights on Saturday:
- Leasure finished seventh in the 400 individual medley, in 4:35.58, an NCAA 'B' cut time.
- First-year Sarah Bouchard (Annapolis, Md.) finished seventh in the 1,000 free in 10:35.04.
- Skaperdas placed 10th in the 100 fly, in 58.97.
Entering the third and final day of the NESCAC championship meet, Bates has 605 points, behind fourth-place Middlebury (822.5) and ahead of sixth-place Connecticut College (529.5). Williams is on its way to a 12th straight team championship.
On the strength of three broken team records, Bates stood in fifth place at the end of Day 1 of 3 at the NESCAC Women's Swimming & Diving Championships.
Catherine Sparks finished third in the finals of the 50-yard breaststroke in a new Bates record time of 30.12 seconds, edging Trinity's Audrey Butler for third place (and eventual All-NESCAC honors) by a hundredth of a second. Amanda Moore placed 11th, with a B Final time of 31.46. Sparks' performance broke Moore's former Bates record of 30.20 seconds set a year ago.
Kara Leasure's former team record of 5:09.66 in the 500-yard freestyle race was set a year ago at NESCACs. That time was bested a total of four times on Friday, twice by Leasure and twice by Kristen Barry. Barry held the record briefly with her prelim time of 5:06.94, with Leasure recording a 5:08.63, sending both swimmers to the B Final. In the B Final, Leasure completed the race in 5:04.09, another new record, second best in the B Final and 10th overall. The result was also a national consideration time for Leasure. Barry finished in 5:05.06, good for 12th place.
The final race of the night saw another Bates team record replaced, in the 400 medley relay. Emily Depew, Leasure, Skaperdas and Emilie Geissinger finished in 3:57.22, good for seventh place overall. Bates' former record of 3:57.60 was set a year ago by Depew, Moore, Zingale and Geissinger.
Other strong performances for Bates included:
- Gabrielle Sergi made the A Final in the 50 free in 24.35 seconds, then sliced .11 seconds off that time in the finals, to claim fifth place in 24.24.
- Depew made the A Final in the 50 backstroke at 28.13 seconds, then took sixth place in the final at 27.83 seconds.
- Jessica Howard narrowly missed the cut for the eight-woman field of the A Final on the 1-meter diving board -- her 380.58 points were ninth-best in preliminaries, a mere 0.36 points behind the last qualifier, Sami Bloom of Tufts.
- Bates took fifth place in the 200 free relay, with Sergi, first-year Hannah Chory (Weston, Mass.), Depew and Geissinger finishing in 1:37.48.