The Jeff’s started last Tuesday’s meet against the Pioneers going one-two in the first event, the 200-yard medley relay. The opening victory set the exuberant tone for the rest of the evening and the Jeffs continued to dominate, winning the next seven events.
However, it was the 100 yard breaststroke and the 400 yard individual medley that made headlines after Amherst took first, second and third in both events.
Co-captain Sarah Malmfeldt ’02 was impressed by the success of the early-season effort. “Although the meet took place during the week amidst classes and work, there were some strong swims that raised our confidence for Middlebury,” said Malmfeldt.
“Notable swims were turned in by Rory Miller [’03] in the 500-yard freestyle and Liz Chiang [’05] in the 200-yard backstroke,” commented Malmfeldt. “I was also impressed by Jill Wyrick [’05], Morgan Bayer [’03] and Lauren Gustafson [’02], who swept the 400 individual medley. Each of them posted impressive times.”
The meet itself gave the women’s team the ego boost they needed going into Saturday’s tough meet against the Panthers.
“Middlebury was a fantastic meet for us. We expected the meet to be closer than it was, but our swimmers stepped up to the challenge of facing a difficult opponent,” co-captain Alison Brown ’02 said. She was enthused because the Jeffs defeated the Panthers handily, 150-93.
The impressive team of Michelle McCreary ’05, Wyrick, Brown and Rebecca Stein ’05 began the meet with a record-breaking time of 4:02.62 in the 400-yard medley relay.
The Jeffs foursome crushed both the competition’s time of 4:08.38 as well as the previous pool record of 4:04.15 set in 1999.
“It definitely helped the spirit of the team to start off strong with a win as well as a new pool record.” said Malmfeldt.
Rookie phenom Chiang won the 50-yard freestyle. Fellow freshmen teammates McCreary and Wyrick also shone with wins in the 200-yard backstroke and the 200-yard individual medley, respectively.
Morgan Bayer ’03 led the team with wins in both the 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard butterfly, and added a strong second place finish in the 1000-yard freestyle.
“The last 50 of Morgan’s 500 freestyle was particularly inspiring. She managed to touch out three of Middlebury’s top distance swimmers,” added Brown.
Although the day yielded many strong swims and impressive times for such an early season competition, it was the 200-yard breaststroke that was the defining moment of the meet.
Hillary Stockbridge ’05 won the race in a season-best time of 2:20.32 and was closely followed by Wyrick, coming in less than four tenths of a second later. Malmfeldt finished soon after her two teammates, helping secure the 1-2-3 finish for Amherst.
The Amherst divers also managed to make a powerful impact, with Cathy Poor ’02 winning both the one-meter and the three-meter events. Freshmen Kate Shaw and Kristin Boyd also helped out with fourth and fifth place finishes in the two diving events against Middlebury.
The strength of the women’s team was further increased because it was a home meet. There was an incredible turnout in the stands for the meet.
“We enjoyed the large crowd support. It definitely helps when there are that many people there cheering us on,” said Brown of the unprecedented number of spectators.
The Jeffs are hoping to continue their winning streak with a victory against visiting Springfield College this Saturday at Pratt Pool.