BRUNSWICK, Maine -- Bates sewed up its third consecutive fifth-place finish at the 2013 NESCAC Women's Swimming & Diving Championships on Sunday, as the three-day meet concluded at Bowdoin.
The Bobcats finished with 714 points at the meet, holding off both Connecticut College (709.5) and Bowdoin (707) -- two teams that outscored Bates in dual meets earlier this season -- for fifth place.
For the second straight year, only Amherst (1,972.5), Williams (1,909.5), Tufts (1,017.5) and Middlebury (1,006.5) finished with more points than the Bobcats. The final tallies were closer than the Bobcats might have liked, due in part to the 400 free relay finals race, in which Bates' relay team was disqualified due to an early take-off.
"Seeing our ladies scratch and claw themselves into fifth place -- and deal with the injuries, illness, and even a few DQ's -- made this very special," wrote head coach Peter Casares on the team blog. "It was hard-fought and well earned. Anytime there are 10 points between fifth and seventh, you know all three teams had to show grit and a warrior-like attitude.
"I have to give a ton of credit to Bowdoin and Conn. They dealt with adversity along the way too, and they swam unbelievable while having a tremendous attitude. It was a great meet all around, and I am terribly proud of what the team accomplished this weekend."
Bates highlights from Sunday's sessions included junior Gabrielle Sergi (Newburyport, Mass.) and first-year Caroline Depew (Hudson, Ohio) placing first and second, respectively, in the B Final of the 100-yard freestyle event, good for ninth and 10th places overall, at 53.05 and 53.24 seconds.
Sophomore Sarah Bouchard (Annapolis, Md.) finished 12th in the 1,650 freestyle final, in a time of 17:47.16, while senior Tara Dugan (Wilton, Conn.) placed 15th in 18:05.79.
The Bates women’s swimming and diving team broke the team 200-yard medley relay record while holding on to fifth place among 11 teams at the end of the second day of the NESCAC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships.
After posting a 1:51.14 time in prelims, Bates tore through the finals of the 200 medley relay, the first race of the evening session, with a time of 1:46.72, .02 seconds ahead of fifth-place Hamilton. The quartet of first-year Whitney Paine (Moultonborough, N.H.) in the 50-yard backstroke leg, senior Catherine Sparks (New Canaan, Conn.) in the 50 breast, junior Emilie Geissinger (Darien, Conn.) in the 50 butterfly and Sergi in the 50 freestyle combined on the feat. Sergi’s blazing anchor split of 23.19 seconds stands as the fastest 50 free relay split in team history, .23 faster than Charlotte Green’s in 2011. The foursome trimmed 1.48 seconds off of the team record set a year ago by Emily Depew ’14, Sparks, Allie Skaperdas ’15 and Sergi.
Other Bates highlights from Saturday included:
- Paine came one place shy of qualifying for the A Final in the 100 backstroke, settling for ninth place overall at 58.80.
- Bouchard finished 10th in the 1,000 free at 10:38.65, while Dugan came in 12th at 10:46.20.
- Skaperdas (New Canaan, Conn.) placed 11th in the 100 fly, at 58.85.
- Caroline Depew finished 12th in the 200 free, at 1:54.90.
The first day of the NESCAC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships ended with Bates having rewritten four team records, leading to a strong fifth-place start as a team.
Sergi had perhaps the top performance of the day for Bates in the 50-yard freestyle, where she set the team record in the preliminary heats, going .03 seconds under Charlotte Green’s former mark of 24.11 at 24.08. Sergi made the A Final in the event, where she finished third overall in 24.04, lowering her own mark by another .04 seconds. Caroline Depew made the B Final and placed 10th overall in 24.43 seconds.
“Absolutely amazing day of swimming,” said Casares. “The ladies came to Brunswick ready to go, and on a mission!”
Paine set Bates’ record in the 50-yard backstroke when she swam a 27.25-second time in the preliminary heats of the event, shaving .31 seconds off of the former mark set by Katelyn Drake ’10 in 2010. Paine’s time put her in the finals, where she duplicated the 27.25 to place seventh. “Elle was amazing,” commented Casares. Emily Depew (Hudson, Ohio) made the B Final with a 28.14 prelim and swam a 28.26 in the final for 14th place.
Bates’ 200 free relay quartet of Sergi, Paine, Geissinger and Caroline Depew broke the team record in the preliminary heats with a 1:37.02. With Caroline Depew’s blazing anchor leg of 51.3 seconds — “the relay swim of the meet so far,” said Casares — Bates then swam the final in 1:36.57, edging Middlebury by .04 seconds for third place, and also going .58 seconds under the former team mark set two years ago by Sergi, Geissinger, Kara Leasure ’12 and Green. The Bobcats’ third-place finish represents the team’s first All-NESCAC relay performance since 1994.
Sparks made the A Final in the 50 breast with a time of 30.59, then lowered it to 30.45 in the final, good for seventh place. First-year Melissa Paione (Auburn, Maine) placed 16th in 31.57.
Geissinger also broke the Bates record in the 50 butterfly in the preliminary heats, with a time of 26.35 seconds. Geissinger trimmed one hundredth of a second off the former team record of 26.36, set by current assistant coach Vanessa Williamson ’05 in 2005, but she missed the A Final by one place and .10 seconds. In the B Final she settled for 13th place in 26.72 seconds.
Bates finished off the night with a fifth-place finish in the 400 medley relay, with Paine, Paione, senior Katy Zingale (Sudbury, Mass.) and Sergi finishing in 3:57.53.