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Brown women’s swimming and diving finishes 5th at Ivies, sets four school records

Bears compete at home in four-day Ivy League Championship meet

The women’s swimming and diving team placed fifth at the 2020 Ivy League Championships, finishing the four-day event with 843 points. Princeton won the meet with 1,569 points, edging second-place Harvard, which finished with 1,462 points. Four Bears set University records in their respective races: Sage Matsushima ’23, Miku Takabayashi ’22, Taylor Seaman ’21 and Sarah Welch ’20. Seaman highlighted the weekend with three top-three finishes.

Brown hosted the 2020 Ivy League Championships at the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center. “Our pool is really one of the best in (the) Ivy League. … It’s really fun to finally compete in the pool I worked so hard in,” Matsushima said.

Bruno opened the meet Wednesday night with two sixth-place relay finishes. In the 200-yard medley, Seaman, Matsushima, Audrey Lukawski ’22 and Tory Center ’21 swam to a time of 1:40.79. Then Takabayashi, Marley Cross ’20, Amelia Gilchrist ’20 and Audrey Orange ’23 guided the Bears to a time of 7:15.64 in the 800-yard freestyle.

Takabayashi entered the Ivy League Championships holding the University record in the 200-yard individual medley, and broke her own mark twice Thursday. She first broke her record in the morning’s preliminary races, then shattered it again in the evening’s final with a time of 2:00.53 to finish sixth overall in the event.

Seaman provided Brown with its highest-placing individual performance Thursday, finishing third in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of just 22.51 seconds. To conclude the meet’s second day, Seaman, Center, Cross and Matsushima took fourth place in the 200-yard freestyle. Harvard held a slim two-point lead over Princeton after day two, while Bruno moved to fifth in the standings.

Emma Whall ’22 was the Bears’ first Friday finalist, taking seventh in the 400-yard individual medley. Matsushima then broke the University record in the 100-yard butterfly, finishing third in the event with a time of 53.22 seconds. Matsushima’s time was under the NCAA B-Cut, making her eligible for selection for the NCAA Championships.

Matsushima credited “the training that (Head Coach Kate Kovenock) gave me” for her success as a rookie. “I couldn’t have done it without the team,” she added.

Seaman broke Brown’s second school record of the night Friday, taking second in the 100-yard backstroke in 53.82 seconds, also under the NCAA B-Cut time. Brown held firm in fifth place after day three, while Princeton surpassed Harvard for the lead.

Welch set the Bears’ final school record of the weekend, breaking the University 200-yard backstroke record twice Saturday. She finished fourth in the final with a time of 1:56.95.

Breaking a University record in what was potentially the final meet of her swimming career “felt really special because of the people I was surrounded by,” Welch said. “Being able to look to the sidelines and see everyone cheering, and (knowing) that I could count on them, was what drove me to break that record.”

Seaman came within hundredths of a second of breaking another school mark, coming up 0.01 seconds short of tying the 100-yard freestyle record while taking second in the final.

To close out the four-day championship meet, Nell Chidley ’23 notched a fourth-place finish in the 200-yard butterfly. Center, Cross, Orange and Seaman combined for fifth in the final event — the 400-yard freestyle relay. Brown held on to fifth place in the meet, while Princeton knocked off defending champion Harvard for the Ivy League title.

Despite dropping to fifth place at the Ivy League Championships after finishing fourth in 2019, multiple swimmers emphasized that they were not disappointed by the results. Kovenock “tries to get our minds off of that a lot of the time. We just try to do our best, we don’t care very much about the points … we just see how much better everyone gets,” Takabayashi said.

Next, Bruno will await the announcement of which of its swimmers and divers qualify for the upcoming NCAA Championships.


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