BRUNSWICK, Maine -- The first day of the NESCAC Women's Swimming & Diving Championships is complete, and the Bates women's swimming and diving team has already rewritten four team records, leading to a strong fifth-place start as a team.
With Day 1 of 3 now complete, Bates stands in fifth place with 311 points, between fourth-place Tufts (375) and sixth-place Connecticut College (271.5).
Junior Gabrielle Sergi (Newburyport, Mass.) 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. First-year Caroline Depew (Hudson, Ohio) made the B Final and placed 10th overall in 24.43 seconds.
"Absolutely amazing day of swimming," said head coach Peter Casares. "The ladies truly came to Brunswick ready to go, and on a mission!"
First-year Whitney Paine (Moultonborough, N.H.) 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. Junior Emily Depew (Hudson, Ohio) made the B Final with a 28.14 prelim and swam a 28.26 in the final for 14th place. "Elle was amazing," commented Casares.
Bates' 200 free relay quartet of Sergi, Paine, junior Emilie Geissinger (Darien, Conn.) 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 and Green. The Bobcats' third-place finish represents the team's first All-NESCAC relay performance since 1994.
Senior captain Catherine Sparks (New Canaan, Conn.) 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.
The meet continues Saturday and Sunday at Bowdoin with 10am and 6pm sessions each day.
Go to the team blog, The Bobcat Chronicles, for Coach Casares' rundown of Bates' big day.