BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Bates associate head coach Vanessa Williamson '05 finished second in the world in her age group in the 200-meter butterfly, highlighting a sensational FINA Masters World Championships for the former eight-time women's swimming All-American.
The last time Williamson competed on the world stage was at the 2014 Masters World Championships in Montreal. She netted a pair of top-10 finishes that year and she stepped up her training regimen this time around in preparation for Budapest.
"Traveling to Hungary, I wanted to make it worth the trip and felt like I got in some great training over the past year," Williamson said. "I wanted to train hard and reap the rewards from it. I lifted three times a week and swam five times a week - sometimes throwing in some double swim workouts when I could."
Over the course of four days, Williamson impressed in multiple events, competing against some of the best swimmers between the ages of 35 and 39 the sport has to offer.
In the 200-meter butterfly, her final event of the week, Williamson swam to the finish in 2:31.01, more than five seconds faster than the third place finisher.
A few days earlier, she got the championships started with a strong 10th place finish in the 50-meter butterfly. Her time of 30.74 seconds was the second fastest among Americans competing in the event.
The very next day she faced a big challenge, back-to-back events. First, she dropped 14 seconds off her seed time in the 200-IM and finished in fifth place after being seeded 20th in the event. Right after that, she finished fourth in the 100-meter butterfly. Williamson was once again the second fastest American in both events.
"I was very pleased with my results and had a lot of fun speaking to swimmers from other countries and even seeing one from a former masters team I used to swim for in California," Williamson said. "I'm not sure if the members of the (Bates) team knew that I was training for this. It was nice of Peter (head coach Peter Casares) to share with the swim/dive team my standings as the meet went on. I received many texts and emails from the members of the team throughout the week and felt very proud to show the athletes that at no matter what age, hard work pays off."
"I'm convinced she is still one of the best athletes walking around this campus, and it showed with four top 10 swims at the World Championships and huge time drops from her seed times," Casares said. "Furthermore, she wore her Bates gear all week with pride, and not only found success herself, but sent another valuable message to every member of our program. Vanessa simply has a knack for doing things right - and making this program better. It's been so fun to work alongside her these past five years!"