Jeffs dominate Conn., MIT in Cambridge

Tri-captain Liz Chiang ’05, Jill Wyrick ’05, Piper Pettersen ’07 and Lisa Pritchard ’08 opened the meet by winning the 200-yard medley relay with a provisional national qualifying time of 1:51.98. Tri-captain Michelle McCreary ’05 swam a season-best 10:53.19 to place second overall in the 1000-yard freestyle. She was followed by tri-captain Katie Massopust ’05 in 10:54.67, another near season best, and Alexis Johnston ’05 in 10:57.97. The trio swept MIT and went two-three-four against Conn.

In the 200-yard freestyle, Margaret Ramsey ’07 placed second to Camel Kate Kovenock, the premier NESCAC and one of the top Div. III sprinters. Pettersen was impressed by her teammate’s performance. “[Ramsey’s swim] reminded me of some of her awesome races from last year where she came from behind to out-touch a girl who had been leading her since the dive.”

The Jeffs continued to do their best in the freestyle events against Kovenock, with Rebecca Stein ’05 finishing second to the Camel in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles, making a provisonal national cut of 53.16 in the 100-yard. Pritchard placed third behind Stein in the 50 and Petterson praised Stein. “[She tried] out a new dive which undoubtedly helped her drop a whopping half-second in her 50 free for a lifetime best.”

First-year phenom Brittany Sasser continued her sensational season by once again winning both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke events.

More success followed for the Jeffs as Kate Shaw ’05 won the one-meter dive with a national-qualifying 257.20 points. Shaw also won the three-meter dive, the event in which she is reigning NESCAC champion, with a score of 250.80 points.

Pettersen made an unanticipated provisional national cut with her 58.50 victory in the 100-yard butterfly.

The meet closed with the 200-yard freestyle medley. Chiang, Sasser, Pritchard and Stein won with a provisional national qualifying 1:38.67. The Amherst “B” team of Kim, Pettersen, Wyrick and Massopust placed third overall, nearly four seconds ahead of MIT’s “A” team.

Swimming at MIT’s large new pool was a chance for the women to prepare for NESCACs. “It was a great opportunity to swim against two other teams in such a fast pool as a preview of our upcoming championships,” said McCreary. “It was really impressive that even after a tough week of training, many girls were able to step up and have some great races.”

Massopust enjoyed seeing the senior class perform so well. “With such a big class it is pretty awesome how all the girls have not only stuck with it all four years but really stayed strong through the end.”

Amherst has posted fast times in all five of the relay events and is in a great position to have a Jeff team in each relay at the national meet. “Every single one of our relays is top of the line this year for the first time, and the possibility of NESCAC records has kept us all hopping in that cold water for months already,” said Pettersen.

Massopust was equally enthusiastic, “Overall, I think we are in a great place. We are going to start tapering off our training now, have one more dual meet, and then I think we are going to have some big swims at NESCACs,” she said. “We have the potential to send a lot of girls to Nationals this year and so that is very exciting.”

The women’s final dual meet of the season is Saturday at Springfield College at 1:00.