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Women nipped in the end, men swim tough vs. Bowdoin

LEWISTON, Maine -- Outstanding swims were numerous, and senior diver Travis Jones had a great final home meet, as the Bates swimming and diving teams played host to Bowdoin on Friday night at Tarbell Pool. The visiting Polar Bears prevailed in women's team scoring by a mere 149-139 margin, while the Bowdoin men outscored Bates 177-121.

The Bates women opened the meet with an impressive win in the 200 medley relay: first-year Whitney Paine (Moultonborough, N.H.), senior Catherine Sparks (New Canaan, Conn.), senior Katy Zingale (Sudbury, Mass.) and junior Gabrielle Sergi (Newburyport, Mass.) completed the race in 1:51.99, 2.07 seconds ahead of Bowdoin.

More terrific races soon followed as the Bates women mounted a surprising lead through the first half of the night. Bowdoin came back, however, and sealed the head-to-head victory in the meet finale, the 400 freestyle relay.

"We knew Bowdoin had an big edge on us coming in and our ladies got off to a great start," said Bates head coach Peter Casares. "In the end we were much closer than we were supposed to be.... and when the meet comes down to the last relay, that's special. The best part, though, is that the women's team should be hungry for a rematch."

Following the medley relay win, Sergi went on to win the 50-yard freestyle in 24.69 seconds and the 100 free in 54.19, remaining undefeated in her individual races this season.

Other women's team highlights included:

  • Paine touched the wall first in both the 50 backstroke, in 28.44 seconds, and the 100 back, in 1:01.23.
  • Sparks won the 50 breast in 31.96
  • Zingale edged Bowdoin's Kelsey Goodwin by .45 seconds, in a time of 1:01.85 in the 100 butterfly. She also finished third in the 50 fly (27.95, behind Bowdoin's Mariah Reading and Bates junior Emilie Geissinger (27.78).

Jones (Ithaca, N.Y.) submitted national consideration performances on both the 1- and 3-meter boards, scoring 281.75 points at 1 meter and 300.10 at 3 meters.

The men's swimmers, in Casares's words, "swam tough tonight and got beat by a deeper team. They have a lot of work ahead of them these next five weeks if they want to challenge Bowdoin at the NESCAC meet. Bowdoin clearly showed us how far ahead they are right now."

Other men's team highlights included:

  • Senior Nick Karlson (Wayland, Mass.) won the 50 free in 22.40 seconds, and posted a solid 49.67 in the 100 free, good for third place.
  • Sophomore Alex Smachlo (Rexford, N.Y.) won the 500 freestyle in 5:01.71 and took second place in the 1,000 free at 10:16.97. Smachlo led a 1-2-3 Bates sweep in the 500, with sophomores Matthew Hillsberg (Sayville, N.Y.) placing second in 5:06.03 and Peter Mihalcik (New York, N.Y.) third in 5:09.03.

Bates competes at its other Maine NESCAC rival, Colby, on Saturday at 1pm.