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Women’s Swimming and Diving | Jumbos place fourth in last meet of semester

Published: Monday, December 9, 2013

Updated: Monday, December 9, 2013 09:12

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Caroline Geiling / The Tufts Daily

In the final event of its fall half of the season, the women’s swimming and diving team took fourth place at the MIT Winter Invitational this Friday and Saturday. Swimming in Cambridge against a field of teams from various divisions, the Jumbos finished with a score of 414 — behind MIT, Harvard and Wellesley, but beating out Wheaton College and NESCAC rivals Bowdoin, Colby and Wesleyan.

Host MIT dominated the meet, racking up 1208.5 points. Following them was Harvard with 676.5 points, Wellesley with 657 points and then Tufts, which posted a 90-point margin over fifth-place Wheaton’s 324 points. The other NESCAC schools, Bowdoin, Colby and Wesleyan, finished with 250, 206 and 31 points, respectively.

Though Tufts did not win any of the events over the two-day meet, the team was nevertheless pleased with its performance. 

“We posted some great times for this point in the season, especially considering how busy everyone has been as we approach the end of the semester,” junior Sam Sliwinski said. “We placed first amongst the teams in our conference, so that was an exciting finish.”

Sliwinski contributed to the team effort with a fourth-place finish in the 100 freestyle, one of Tufts’ highest finishes in the meet, posting a time of 53.64 seconds. She also swam in the team’s 400 freestyle relay, which took sixth, along with junior Keri Golembeski, freshman Sophia Lin and junior Laura Schrier, and on the 200 freestyle relay “A” squad, which also took sixth, along with junior Kathryn Coniglio, senior Jenny Hu and Lin.

“There was incredible energy on the pool in the last session and there were always people cheering at the end of the lane,” Hu said. “I think it was a much-needed confidence boost for the team — so many girls had great performances and it shows that what we are doing in practice and in lifts is working.”

Securing the Jumbos’ best finish of the entire competition, Hu took third place in her signature event, the 200 breaststroke, with a 2:26.43. The time was only 0.16 seconds off her fastest time in the event this season, which won her first place against Wellesley last week.

Other strong performances for Tufts included sophomore Sarah Mahoney’s fourth-place finish in the grueling 1650 freestyle and freshman Amanda Gottschalk’s sixth place finish in 400 individual medley. Sophomore Laura Cui also dropped around five seconds in her 200 individual medley and 200 breaststroke, a significant improvement in those events.

The teams’ divers, who hadn’t lost a single diving event this entire season, saw their undefeated streak broken this weekend against much tougher competition. Senior Sami Bloom took sixth in the one-meter event and eighth in the three-meter, while teammate freshman Kylie Reiman finished eighth in the one-meter and 10th in the three-meter. 

The results are not necessarily ominous, though. In both events, the top five finishes were claimed by divers from Harvard, so relative to the other teams in their division, Tufts still did well. 

Next for the team is its annual winter training trip to Florida, where they look to continue improving and spring into the second half of their season healthy, in shape and ready for their first win.

“We are really going to need to be disciplined about swimming every day over break and keep up with our lift regiment, as well,” Hu said. “The whole team has made so much progress in the last five weeks and the girls know we can’t get out of shape over the holidays if we want to swim fast and achieve our goals at the end of the season.” 

With this training regimen, many of the swimmers are confident that they’ll be able to develop their endurance and catch up to the level of training that many other programs have had.

“Once we return from our training trip over winter break, I think we’ll be in a great position for fast swimming in the second half of the season,” Sliwinski said.

The next time women’s swimming and diving competes, they will be looking to defend their home pool and take revenge against MIT on Jan. 18.

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