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Women's Swimming & Diving | Jumbos sweep Wheaton on Senior Day

Tufts tops the Lyons in their final dual meet of the season

Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 01:01

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Gene Buonaccorsi / Tufts Daily

Senior Jackie Cygelman was one of 11 seniors honored at the Jumbos’ senior day against Wheaton on Saturday afternoon. She swam 11:10.98 to take 3rd in the 1,000-yard freestyle.

The Tufts women’s swimming & diving team dominated Wheaton College in their final dual meet of the season on Senior Day. The Jumbos won all 16 events as they dispatched the visiting Lyons with a 169−98 victory, closing out the year with a 3−5 record.

Tufts started the meet off strong when junior Jenny Hu, sophomores Samantha Sliwinski and Kathryn Coniglio, and freshman Samantha Swinton won the 200 medley relay with a 1:52.54 time. Later in the meet, tri−captains Lizz Grainger, who is also a news editor for the Daily, and Christine Garvey teamed with fellow seniors Kathryn Sullivan and Aiai Ren to win the 200 freestyle relay with their 1:43.99 time.

For Head Coach Nancy Bigelow, the relay races provided the afternoon’s most memorable highlights.

“[We] were still very tired from our two−week long training trip but continued swimming hard,” she said. “It’s great that many of them are starting to swim fast again.”

If there were any lingering effects from the team’s two−week excursion to Puerto Rico over winter break, Bigelow’s swimmers shrugged them off. The Jumbos’ relay racers not only thrived when racing together, but also submitted several outstanding individual performances outside the relays.

Sliwinski secured first place in the 50−yard freestyle and the 100−yard backstroke. Hu owned the breaststroke events, winning the 50− and 100−yard competitions, while Garvey took the 200− and 500−yard freestyle. Coniglio placed first in the 100−yard freestyle, and Grainger won the 50−yard butterfly.

A trio of Jumbo divers also contributed to the resounding victory, as junior Sami Bloom, senior Ali Maykranz, and freshman Shivani Bigler all turned in strong showings. Bloom produced personal bests and two victories with scores of 291.37 in the one−meter event and 304.50 in the 3−meter, enough to qualify for the NCAA National Qualifying meet in Springfield.

Diving Coach Brad Snodgrass had plenty to be pleased about, but was particularly proud of Maykranz’s accomplishment.

“[I was] especially happy for Ali,” he said. “[She] joined the team as a sophomore with no diving experience and worked to become one of the best divers in NESCAC.”

With so many Jumbos submitting such strong performances, this Tufts triumph was a true team effort. It was also the perfect way to send off the eleven graduating swimmers and divers participating in their final swim meet at Hamilton Pool, even though saying goodbye was not easy for the coaching staff. Senior Day is always a hard one for me,” said Bigelow, who is currently coaching her 30th season at Tufts and 34th at the college level. “We spend a lot time with our kids and develop wonderful relationships and bonds (with them). It is sad to realize they won’t be with us much longer.”

But for those 11 members of the Class of 2013, their college careers aren’t over just yet. With the regular season behind them, the Jumbos hope to build on their most recent win when they travel to the Wheaton College Invitational on February 1st to get ready for the postseason.

There, and over the next few weeks, the Jumbos will look to shave and taper before the looming NESCAC championships. The Jumbo seniors had their last home meet on Saturday, but will still look for more of a send−off as the championship season approaches.

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