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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, February 26, 2024

Women's swimming triumphs in nail-biting meet against MIT

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The Tufts swimming and diving teams are pictured at the MIT Winter Invitational in December 2021.

Women’s swimming and diving took down the MIT Engineers 151–149 for their Senior Day meet on Saturday. Strong showings from all grades combined for the victory, but a storybook finish and pool-record-earning 200-yard freestyle relay composed of three senior Jumbos along with one first-year clinched the win with a time of 1:36:27. The women’s team fell to MIT earlier in the season, but coming off a winter break training trip and a couple successful dual meets, the No. 8 ranked Jumbos were able to edge out the No. 6 MIT Engineers. First-year Lily Klinginsmith, the only non-senior member of the winning 200-yard freestyle team, spoke about the senior meet and the 200-yard free relay.

“It was super fun for senior night,” Klinginsmith said. “The energy was amazing. And personally, I just loved being on a relay with three seniors because it was quite a poetic end to the senior meet to have us just out-touch that last relay to win the meet.”

Both teams were fairly evenly matched throughout the meet. The closeness was reflected starting from the first race, the 200-yard medley relay. Tufts lost to MIT by less than one-tenth of a second, coming in at 1:47:22. MIT was just slightly faster at 1:47:16. The women secured their first top finish thanks to senior Allison Cremer who swam a winning time of 10:41:36 in the 1000-yard free. MIT and Tufts would trade off top finishes and second place for the remainder of the meet.

Other significant achievements included two wins by senior Claire Brennan in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:53:58 and in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:05:93. Senior Katelin Ulmer was on the winning 200-yard freestyle team and gave the Jumbos another win in the 50-yard freestyle event with a time of 24:30. In the diving events, senior Sydney Ho posted a winning score in 1-meter diving with a 305.99, followed by runner-up first-year Malia Leung’s 294.00.

Senior Katelin Isakoff was a member of the winning 200-yard freestyle relay and secured a win of her own in the 200-yard fly with a time of 2:07:91. Isakoff commented on her senior season and this graduating class.

“It’s pretty bittersweet,” Isakoff said. “I think one of the best things that happened this year was getting to become really close with the senior class. And so it’s definitely sad that it's coming to an end, but I'm just really happy for the way that the experience has turned out because of all the people that I’ve gotten to meet along the way.”

She expanded on the closeness of her class to further describe the culture of swimming and diving at Tufts.

“Team culture is one thing that makes our team specifically really special,” Isakoff said. “The team feels like family and everyone has each others’ back in the pool and also outside of the pool. … Our associate head coach always says ‘the sky’s the limit’. And I think just believing in our potential and believing in each other has really helped create a pretty unique and special bond.”

Hoping to use that bond and reach for the metaphorical sky, the women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams will head into championship season on Feb. 9, competing in a week of NESCAC competition. Going into her first NESCAC meet, Klinginsmith expressed her excitement.

“We have NESCACs coming up pretty soon here, so I’m hoping we can secure another win. And I’m just super excited to see everyone drop time and see all the hard work that everyone’s put in pay off,” Klinginsmith said.

Swimming and diving will then head to Greensboro, N.C. for NCAA championships in mid-March. Isakoff described her feelings about the postseason as a whole.

“My big goal is just for us to give it our best effort,” Isakoff said. “No matter the outcome, as long as we give it our best and we do it together, I’ll be really proud of the group and really proud of myself.”

Before that, however, both the men and women will head to Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. to take on Hamilton College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in a tri-meet on Saturday.