Bayer, Miller, Adams lead Jeffs to 169-54 victory over Union

Adams is a thesis-writing computer science major and competes in backstroke. Bayer, a distance freestyler, a two-time national 200-yard butterfly champion, and a three-time All-American and All-NESCAC selection, is majoring in psychology. Miller is a thesis-writing sociology major and distance freestyler. Many parents and families were in attendance to support the athletes.

“[The end] hasn’t really hit me yet, with NESCACs still coming.” said Adams. “I’m a little sad, and sort of living in a state of denial.” The underclassmen are reluctant to let go of their seniors. “As the women’s team has been particularly close-knit this year, it will be difficult to see them go,” said Liz Chiang ’05.

Amherst dominated the afternoon, beginning with the 200-yard medley relay. Chiang, Jill Wyrick ’05, Gretchen Sisson ’06 and Ashley Simonsen ’04 won, followed by the team of Adams, Hilary Stockbridge ’05, Mia Anderson ’06 and Jamie Fisher ’04 in second.

Bayer coined the team description “small but mighty,” and the characterization aptly applies to this short but powerful swimmer. She broke her own pool record, set in 2001 in the mile, knocking her time down from 17:42.29 to 17:38.86 in her first time racing the event this season, somehow making the grueling 1650-yard race look easy.

Bayer swam smoothly and seemingly effortlessly. “I was happy with my swims,” she said. “It was a good way to end the regular season.”

Rebecca Stein ’05 improved her season’s best 50-yard freestyle, winning the event in 24.82, followed closely by Chiang in second. Next, Wyrick cut a second from her season’s best 200-yard individual medley while leading Stockbridge and Anderson in a sweep.

Kate Shaw ’05 and Kristin Boyd ’05 again took first and second in both diving events. They competed in 11 dives rather than the typical six of the regular season and scored well. Shaw dove a 360.08 in the 1-meter and 380.91 in the 3-meter, bettering her scores from last season. Boyd also improved to 318.82 and 344.17, respectively. The two divers have earned valuable points for the team over the course of the season.

Bayer and Simonsen took first and second in the 200-yard butterfly, followed by Stein’s win in the 100-yard freestyle. McCreary swam a strong 200-yard backstroke, improving her season’s best time to 2:11.79. Massopust and Miller hopped back in the pool to take first and second in the other distance event, the 500-yard freestyle.

To finish up a stellar meet, Stockbridge raced her best 200-yard breaststroke, cutting over 2.5 seconds and making the B cut for Nationals with a time of 2:28.15. Miller cited Stockbridge’s performance as a highlight of the meet, and said that she “went the best time of her life.”

Stein, Chiang, Wyrick and Bayer stepped on the blocks one more time to win the 400-yard freestyle relay ina time of 3:42.56.

The women finished their regular season with an excellent 8-2 record. “Our season was particularly rewarding because we were able to repeat a large portion of last year’s success in dual meets with a considerably smaller squad,” explained Chiang. “I think we were also able to draw inspiration from the men’s team’s dramatic victory over Williams, and their undefeated season.”

The women have been a strong force all season, and many individuals have made great strides of personal improvement. “I’m really happy with our season,” said Miller. “But what’s really exciting is that the best swims all season always come at NESCACs.”

Now the team heads into two weeks of practice to prepare for NESCACs the weekend of Feb. 21-23, hosted by Bowdoin College. “I am really excited about NESCACs,” said Bayer, “I think our team is going to perform well. I think we could surprise ourselves and have some pretty amazing races. Our team is small, but I think we will have a lot of top place finishers.”

The outlook for the regional championships is excellent, and the women should also do well at the NCAA National Championships. “We’re expecting to qualify for nationals in at least a couple of relays, in addition to the swimmers who have already qualified individually,” said Chiang.

Adams reiterated, “There aren’t that many of us, but we have a lot of good swimmers. We’re small but mighty.”