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Women's Swimming & Diving | Strong end to the season for half of women’s team

Published: Monday, February 4, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 4, 2013 08:02


Gene Buonaccorsi for The Tufts Daily

The Wheaton Invitational was the final meet of the season for many Jumbos as the rest prepare for NESCACs.


In a meet more focused on individual performance than team score, the Jumbos came out with a strong showing against Boston-area schools Wheaton, MIT and Clark on Friday and Saturday.

The Wheaton Invitational, an annual meet, was designed primarily to give swimmers that do not make it to the NESCAC Championships a chance to improve their times in a championship-like environment. It has become a tradition not to record team scores during the meet.

So for 17 members of the women’s swimming and diving team, this weekend’s meet at Wheaton College was their last of the season. These women have spent the two weeks leading up to the meet tapering, and shaved the day before to give themselves an edge.

“Of the 17 women who had their final contest, many did their best times or had recent best times,” coach Nancy Bigelow said. “At least everyone came away very happy.” 

The divers had a strong meet as well, with senior Ali Maykranz and junior Sami Bloom posting scores high enough to qualify them for NCAA nationals. Freshman Shivani Bigler completed her first season of diving on a high note with a score of 339 on the one-meter.

“[Bigler] dove in her last meet of the season and did a great job, very exciting end to a terrific freshman year,” coach Brad Snodgrass said.

Sophomore Allyson Fournier also swam in her last events of the season on Saturday, beating her time by eight seconds in the 200 breaststroke, a stroke she just began specializing this season. 

According to Fournier, the team’s winter break trip to Puerto Rico really paid off during this last meet, especially with the shave-and-taper swimmers getting a chance to rest beforehand.

“It was because we put in so much work over [our] training trip in Puerto Rico, shaved, rested and felt confident that we all produced results,” she said.

For the 24 swimmers who will be continuing onto NESCACs in two weeks, the meet was an opportunity to rest a little bit and swim in different events than usual. 

Junior Jenny Hu, the Jumbos’ top breast stroke swimmer, competed in only freestyle events at the meet. She placed fourth in 100-freestyle and was the top Tufts finisher for the event. 

Even without Hu, the Jumbos had strong results in the breast stroke events, typically one of the squad’s deepest strokes.

“The breaststrokers did a good job,” Bigelow said. “It’s really exciting, I’ve seen them work so hard, and it’s really gratifying to see hard work come through.”

Senior tri-captain Amelia Rapisarda decided to take a rest from her usual butterfly events to swim something new, competing in the 100 breast and the 200 back.

“Some of the girls swam normal events if they wanted to improve speed time and get some practice,” Rapisarda said. “But I kind of wanted to take a mental break from mine.”

Bigelow was extremely pleased with the meet, saying that the experience of watching their teammates’ success was a motivator for the swimmers that are moving on to the championships. 

“This was really a great meet for the championship swimmers to get caught up in how well their teammates are doing,” Bigelow said. “[It] gets them psyched to swim up in two weeks.”

The swimmers who are moving on to championships will begin their shave-and-taper process this week. According to Rapisarda, the next two weeks leading up to championships are all about resting and working on technique.

“Taper is always nice. We get to rest and get our bodies ready,” Rapisarda said. “I’m just looking forward to really working on the small stuff, getting ready for what’s next.”

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