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Women’s swimming finishes seventh in Ivies

By and
Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The women’s swimming and diving team finished the season with a disappointing seventh-place finish at the Ivy League Championship over the weekend. The meet took place last Thursday through Saturday at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow, N.Y.

“We know that this place was not a true representation of our team’s abilities,” Kelley Wisinger ’11 said. “Despite the finish, this team has a lot of talent and a lot of spirit.”

With several swimmers battling illnesses, the team totaled 627 points, far ahead of Cornell and but three points behind sixth-place Dartmouth.

Harvard led the team standings with 1583.5 points, followed by Princeton, Yale, Penn and Columbia.

“The competition at Ivies was really strong this year,” Ainsley McFadgen ’09 said. “Harvard and Princeton have been the top two schools in the Ivy League since my time at Brown, but, putting them aside, our team definitely felt going into the meet that we were in the same playing field as the other five schools.

“It’s a fast meet, but we have some pretty outstanding athletes on our team who shouldn’t be left off the radar,” she added.

Day one

Thursday was marked by a controversy over the 200 Free Relay. Brown, Harvard and Yale were the only teams to finish cleanly without disqualifying. Other coaches lodged a protest, but a review upheld the results. The tandem of Candice Sisouvanvieng-Kim ’11, Sarah Goodman ’09, Kristen Caldarella ’12 and Susannah Ford ’10 finished in 1:35.42 to take third.

Katie Olko ’10 picked up Brown’s top individual finish of the meet, scoring 253.45 to take fourth place in the 1-Meter dive. Allyson Schumacher ’12 placed 10th in the 500 Free with a time of 4:53.89.

Bridget Ballard ’10, Jamie Firth ’12, Natascha Mangan ’11 and Caldarella swam the 400 Medley Relay to close out the day. They posted a time of 3:51.86 to finish sixth. Overall, the Bears sat in fifth place after the first day of competition.

Day two

Bruno slipped to sixth place after Friday’s events. The day began with Ballard, Firth, Mangan and Goodman finishing eighth in the 200 Medley Relay in a time of 1:46.40.

Mangan notched the Bears’ top finish on the day, clocking in at 56.55 to secure seventh in the 100 Fly. Schumacher finished eighth in the 200 Free in a time of 1:51.42.

Schumacher, McFadgen, Caldarella and Stephanie Pollard ’11 finished the day by taking fifth in the 800 Free Relay in a time of 7:31.69.

Day three and beyond

McFadgen jumped into the pool first for the Bears on Saturday, swimming the 1650 Free. She battled through the long distance and finished in 11th with a time of 17:01.73.

“I had set some high expectations for myself,” McFagden said. “I knew this was my last chance to compete, and I didn’t want to leave anything in the pool. I wanted to score well, for myself and for

the team.”

In the 200 back, Wisinger put together a solid race in her first Ivy final. Her sixth-place finish in a time of 2:02.66 was the Bears’ best of the day. Last year, she just missed out on swimming in the final heat, coming in ninth.

“I didn’t want to let that happen again,” Wisinger said.

Caldarella paced the Bears in the 100 Free, finishing in 52.21 to earn 14th place. The young squad continued to swim well, as Mangan put together a 12th-place finish in 2:04.25 in the 200 fly.

“We tried not to let the names of the schools on the swimmers’ caps affect how we competed against them,” Wisinger said. “We knew we had to compete with whoever was next to us in every race, no matter who it is was.”

In the final swimming event of the meet, Brown’s 400 Free Relay team – consisting of Caldarella, Goodman, Sisouvanvieng-Kim and Pollard – finished in 3:26.98 to take sixth place.

On the diving side, Olko placed 12th with a score of 224.05 in the 3-Meter to close out Brown’s seventh-place finish.

The senior class of Goodman, McFadgen, Helena Sullivan ’09 and Jessica Williams ’09 swam in their last collegiate meet, leaving behind a promising young group of returning underclassmen led by seven juniors. McFadgen said that the team showed grit that bodes well for the future.

“Despite the misfortunes we had at the meet with some of our girls falling ill, we didn’t really lose faith throughout the weekend,”

McFagden said. “We did our best to keep our team spirit high.”

“I think this experience will only make our team stronger next season,” she said. “The girls who were sick still got up and gave it their best. This just shows how strong we really are, which will no doubt be seen next year.”

With better performances during the regular season, the Bears will look to harness that momentum for the championship meet next year.

“We performed well during the dual meet season this year,” Wisinger said. “Next year, we will work on carrying that over into a championship meet format.”

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