WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – Sophomore Caroline Murphy of the Wesleyan University women's swimming & diving team earned NESCAC-champion honors in the 50- and 100-yard backstroke events during the 2018 NESCAC Championship on Friday-Sunday, as the Cardinals finished in eighth overall out of 11 teams with 725 points at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.
At the conclusion of the meet, the Cardinals sat 101 points behind seventh-place Middlebury and 281.5 points ahead of ninth-place Trinity. Williams took home first-place honors with a score of 1,971, while Amherst (1,615) and Connecticut College (1,060.5) checked in at the No. 2 and 3 slots, respectively.
Day One Highlights:
- The Cardinals did it all during first-day action at the conference championship, headlined by Murphy defending her NESCAC title by coming in first overall during the championship final of the 50-yard backstroke with a time of 26.18, as she earned All-Conference honors in the event.
- Junior diver Devon Cooper was outstanding during the championship final of the 1-meter event, boasting a school record of 397.60, which was good for an NCAA Regional Qualifying Standard. The Salinas, Calif. native broke Jessica Holden's program record of 389.75, which was established in 1993.
- During an exhibition of the 50 breaststroke in the preliminaries on Friday morning, senior captain Zoe Kerrich clocked a program-best time of 29.89, as Amanda Shapiro was the previous owner of the record with a time of 29.98 in 2006.
- Kerrich, who hails from Chappaqua, N.Y., was not finished during first-day action, and she took her talents to the consolation final of the 200 IM, where she shattered another school record with a time of 2:08.20. Cara Colker-Eybel established the previous best time in the event (2:08.51) in 2012.
- During the final of the 400 medley relay, Murphy, Kerrich, junior Maela Whitcomb and sophomore Hannah O'Halloran posted an NCAA "B" Consideration Standard with a time of 3:52.03, as the squad finished in sixth overall.
- Whitcomb was sensational during the championship final of the 500 freestyle (5:03.16), as her time was a 14-second improvement from her previous best time. She finished the event in the seventh slot.
- Junior Julia Dietz was the total package during the preliminaries and championship final of the 50 backstroke, notching the fourth-best time in the morning (26.96) and the seventh-fastest time in the evening (27.19).
Day Two Highlights:
- On Saturday, the Cardinals continued their strong efforts, which resulted in one school record, a first-place finish and an NCAA "B" Consideration Standard.
- Murphy earned runner-up honors in the championship final of the 100 backstroke during her rookie season last February at the 2017 NESCAC Championship, but this year, the Gardiner, N.Y. native led the pack in the final of the event with a time of 55.99. The tremendous performance resulted in an NCAA "B" Consideration Standard and All-NESCAC honors for the superb student-athlete.
- In the final of the 800 freestyle relay, Whitcomb, Kerrich, O'Halloran and Murphy were a complete unit, as the women raced through the water and earned seventh-place honors with a program-best time of 7:44.50.
- Whitcomb nearly earned All-Conference honors in the final of the 1,000 freestyle, as she finished fourth overall with a time of 10:26.52. The requirement for All-NESCAC recognition is a student-athlete must finish within the top-three during the final of an individual or relay event.
Day Three Highlights:
- Murphy and Kerrich continued to set the bar high during final-day action on Sunday, finishing fifth and eighth overall, respectively, in the championship final of the 100 freestyle (52.12) and the 200 breaststroke.
- Kerrich also reeled off a seventh-place nod in the preliminaries of the 200 breaststroke, clocking a time of 2:25.08, while Whitcomb was the eighth swimmer to touch the wall during the final of the 1,650 freestyle (17:31.43).
- Cooper was impressive off the 3-meter board, placing fifth in the preliminaries with a mark of 392.65, while Cooper and senior captain Emily Kessler placed seventh and eighth overall, respectively, in the championship final of the event.