Wesleyan hosted the 2015 Women’s NESCAC Swimming and Diving Championships this weekend, packing the Freeman Athletic Center from sunup to sundown with family and friends who were eager to watch the fierce competition. The format was fairly simple, with athletes competing in preliminary events early in the day in order to determine who would compete in the finals later on.
Wesleyan found success Friday in both individual and relay events. Captain Angela Slevin ’15 led the charge with a sixth place finish in the 500-yard freestyle preliminaries and a seventh place finish for the finals in the same event. Her prelim swim was good enough to qualify as an NCAA “B” cut time. Additionally, the Cardinals put up respectable results in the 200-yard freestyle (preliminaries and finals) and the 400-yard medley with seventh and eighth place finishes, respectively.
Swimming resumed on Saturday with a sustained level of energy and enthusiasm from the previous day’s endeavors. The Cardinals picked up right where they left off with remarkable finishes in multiple events. These included the 1000-yard freestyle, where Slevin resumed her dominance with an impressive third-place finish and a Wesleyan record. Fellow captain Rachel Hirsch ’15 also stood out, touching the wall 10th in the 100-yard breaststroke. Along with teammates Serena Zalkowitz ’17 and Zoe Kerrich ’18, Hirsch and Slevin managed a fifth-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay preliminaries with a sixth-place finish in the finals. Finally, Wesleyan diving made a big splash with Carly Feinman ’16 and Emily Kessler ’18 securing back-to-back sixth and seventh place finishes in the 1-meter diving event.
The weekend’s activities concluded on Sunday with teams hoping to make a final push and secure a coveted spot on the podium. Slevin completed her career as a Cardinal in marvelous fashion with an NCAA “B” cut time and a third place finish in the 1650-yard freestyle, one of the longest and most demanding events in swimming. Hirsch also finished strong with a 12th place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke, good enough for an NCAA “B” cut time. As seniors nearing the ends of their careers, these swimmers competed with an incredible level of passion and determination.
“Every swimmer competes with the goal of doing their best, but there was definitely the added pressure knowing that this was my last meet,” Hirsch said. “Overall, this NESCAC championship was a really positive way to end the season. Watching these women come together after a season of illnesses and injuries was inspiring and says a lot about what we can expect from the program in the years to come.”
Despite valiant efforts put forth by all of the schools, Williams College put up an imposing 2013.5 points, securing its 14th title in almost as many years. In second place, almost 800 points behind the Ephs, was Bates College with 1345 points. Third place was taken by Middlebury College with 1203 points and Amherst College finished fourth with 1042 points. The Cardinals ended the championships in eighth place, edging out Trinity, Connecticut College, and Colby. Although these were not the results the Cardinals were hoping for, the Wesleyan women still have much to look forward to as Head Coach Peter Solomon continues to recruit and expand the team. The result will surely be a more competitive squad eager to improve on their results at next year’s championships.
Next weekend, Feb. 20-22, the Wesleyan men look to secure a spot atop the NESCACs as they compete in the men’s championships at Middlebury College. Although they came out on the short side of numerous dual-meets earlier this season, the men’s determination and resoluteness couldn’t be stronger. Regardless of next weekend’s outcome, one thing is certain: there is no limit to the success Wesleyan’s swimmers and divers can achieve in the coming years.