BRUNSWICK, Maine -- 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 at Bowdoin.
The Bobcats have 606 points heading into Sunday's final two sessions of the meet, putting them firmly in fifth place behind fourth-place Tufts (733.5) and ahead of sixth-place Bowdoin (513).
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 junior Gabrielle Sergi (Newburyport, Mass.) in the 50 freestyle. 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.
- Sophomore Sarah Bouchard (Annapolis, Md.) finished 10th in the 1,000 free at 10:38.65, while senior Tara Dugan (Wilton, Conn.) came in 12th at 10:46.20.
- Skaperdas (New Canaan, Conn.) placed 11th in the 100 fly, at 58.85.
- First-year Caroline Depew (Hudson, Ohio) finished 12th in the 200 free, at 1:54.90.
The meet concludes Saturday and Sunday at Bowdoin with sessions at 10am and 6pm.
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 head coach Peter Casares. “The ladies truly 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.