Drenched in Greatness: Swim teams find glory at NCAA Champs; Kendra Stern ’11 named National Swimm
By Carlyn Robertson '14, Managing Sports Editor
The swimming and diving teams had a spectacular showing at the NCAA championship meet. The team headed to Knoxville, Tennessee on Monday, March 21 for the four-day competition. The Jeffs put up fantastic times and broke a few records, and senior Kendra Stern was named National Swimmer of the Year.

The men’s team finished sixth in what was their fourth consecutive year placing in the top ten. Ryan Lichtenfels ’12 won the 500-yard freestyle, earning his second career national title. He beat teammate and two-time defending champion Alex Fraser ’11 with a time of 4:23.91. Fraser was a close second with a 4:25.58 and Tim White ’12 finished in 4:33.91 for 12th place. Fraser’s third place finish in the 200-yard freestyle marked the fourth time in as many years that he placed in the top three for the event. His time of 1:38.47 was just ahead of Lichtenfels, who swam a 1:38.57 for a tenth place finish. Fraser finished 11th in the 100-yard freestyle with a 45.08 and Lichtenfels placed fifth in the 1,650-yard freestyle. The defending champion finished with a time of 15:38.09, while Conor McAuliffe ’14 placed eighth in his NCAA debut with a 15:42.18. First-year diver Colin White also put in a solid performance in his first NCAA meet, placing 12th on the 3-meter board.

Ben McBratney ’12 and Reid Fitzgerald ’11 both set school records during the meet. McBratney placed tenth in the 100-yard breaststroke with a 56.10, which broke both the school and NESCAC records. Fitzgerald swam a 1:49.67 for a twelfth place finish in the 200 backstroke, but his preliminary heat time of 1:49.55 will be the one to go down in the record books. White held the previous record at 1:50.16. Fitzgerald also set the school record for the 100 backstroke. His 49.88 split from the 400-yard medley relay would have done the trick, but he bested that record just a day later when he swam a 49.79 in the individual event.

The men’s team also broke a couple of relay records. Fitzgerald, McBratney, Fraser and Tyler Bulakul ’14 placed third in the 400 medley relay. Their time of 3:18.76 set new school and NESCAC records. Lichtenfels, T. White, Fraser and Parker Moody ’14 won second place in the 800 free relay. They destroyed the previous school and NESCAC record of 6:39.39 with a 6:35.82. Lichtenfels, McBratney, Fitzgerald and Fraser finished 12th in the 400 free relay, and the 200 medley relay was disqualified in the preliminaries.

The women’s team placed ninth overall, marking the ninth consecutive time they have finished in the top ten. First year Allison Merz placed 13th in the 100-yard butterfly with a 56.82. Her preliminary time of 56.25 broke the school record in the event. Emily Swett ’13 placed 14th in the 200 backstroke and Becca Thompson ’12 finished 16th in the 1,650 freestyle. Divers Meggie Meisinger ’11 and Lizzy Linsmayer ’14 represented the Jeffs on both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards. Linsmayer placed 19th on the 1-meter. Meisinger closed off an amazing career finishing in 11th place on the 1-meter and 16th on the 3-meter, with scores of 390.55 and 359.40, respectively. The women’s 400 medley relay placed eighth. Swett, Merz, Abby Hahn ’14 and Kendra Stern ’11 swam a 3:49.19. Thompson, Stern, Suzi Stein ’14 and Audrey Ingerson ’14 joined forces for the 800 free relay, and placed seventh with a 7:30.41.

National Swimmer of the Year Stern was the star of the meet, winning all three of her individual events. Her time of 4:43.37 in the 500 freestyle was two seconds faster than the national record and nine seconds faster than her national title-winning time from freshman year. Stern swam a 1:44.82 in the 200 freestyle and a 49.50 in the 100 free. She finished four seconds ahead of the runner-up in the 200 and bested her own national record by more than a second. Not only did Stern win the national title in both the 100 and 200-yard freestyle events every one of her four years, but she also never lost either event in a meet. It is astounding for a swimmer to go undefeated in two events for their entire collegiate career. Stern wrapped up her amazing career with 13 national titles, ten of which were for individual events.

Issue 21, Submitted 2011-04-09 01:01:18