Women's Swimming & Diving | Jumbos sink Blue in non-conference dual meet
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 30, 2012 11:11
At the first of two home meets this season, the women’s swimming and diving team beat Wellesley, 171-127, for its first victory of the year. The win came down to a solid team effort across the board, thanks to freshmen stepping up in the distance and butterfly events, as well as junior Jenny Hu breaking the pool record in the 200-meter breaststroke.
For coach Nancy Bigelow, this meet represented a huge win for the team, which is still coming into its own after the loss of many strong seniors last year.
“The meet went beyond expectations,” she said. “We really stepped it up.”
Although Wellesley is not in the NESCAC, the Wellesley-Tufts meet is a yearly event that has fostered a healthy rivalry between the two squads. The Jumbos haven’t lost to the Blue in 12 years, but with a younger team than usual, the Jumbos entered the meet uncertain. Multiple swimmers, however, set personal records and took on new events which contributed to the decisive victory for the Jumbos.
“We did really well and it was exciting to be home,” senior tri-captain Lizz Grainger, who is also a News editor for the Daily, said. “We are winning a lot of races, but they are really close. Every inch counts.”
Hu, who has been a major force in the breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley events for the last several meets, came in first in all three of her individual races and improved her times significantly in each of them.
Hu took the 100-meter breaststroke with ease, and couldn’t keep herself from smiling when she heard her time on the 200-meter. With a time of 2:26.45 in the 200, Hu dropped over four seconds from her time this year, set a personal record, beat the pool record and made the B cut on the Nationals team.
“Jenny [Hu] swam out of her mind,” Bigelow said.
Hu stressed that this meet was a success not only for her but for the whole team, with multiple personal records set and an energetic vibe throughout the meet.
“Everybody did really well,” she said. “We were all excited to race Wellesley at home where there’s a bit of a home-field advantage.”
From the start of the meet, it was clear that Tufts was on its game. The 200-meter medley relay team of senior KJ Kroetch, Hu, sophomore Kathryn Coniglio and freshman Sam Swinton took first place, with the B relay coming in third. Tufts’ swimmers placed first in the majority of events, with the exception of backstroke, where the absence of powerhouse sophomore Samantha Sliwinski forced the other swimmers to step up.
While experimenting with younger members of her squad, Bigelow was counting on her team’s depth to come through against the Blue. The Jumbos showed strength in the distance freestyle events, with freshman Sarah Mahoney pressuring Wellesley’s Ieva Galinyte, also a freshman, in the 1000-meter freestyle. Mahoney and Galinyte were neck-and-neck for a dramatic 11 minutes, with Galinyte out-touching Mahoney to win by .14 seconds.
In the next distance event, the 500-meter freestyle, it was senior tri-captain Christine Garvey beating Galinyte by three seconds.
Due to Tufts’ lack of diving facilities, the divers competed at Wellesley, which meant that they were without the support of their team, according to coach Brad Snodgrass. On the one-meter dive, senior Ali Maykranz risked a new, more complex dive, but failed to complete it.
“If she had done any other dive she probably would have been second or first, but she took the risk,” Snodgrass said. “In the end, it will pay off.”
Maykranz finished third in the one-meter behind the two Wellesley divers, but pulled through with another difficult dive in the 3-meter to finish in second place.
Despite some minor setbacks on the diving front, the Jumbos were still able to cruise to a victory with the first win of the season fresh in their minds. They are looking to this weekend’s MIT invitational meet as another chance to push themselves against teams they don’t see during the conference season.