Women Place Fifth at ChampionshipBy Jennifer Navarro
The women’s varsity swim team placed fifth at the New England Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships on February 18-21. This was the final championship swim meet of the season for the 32 teams and over 400 women athletes competing in the three-day event.
Starting off the meet strong with a sixth place finish and a time of 1 minute, 43.08 seconds were Kirstin Alberi ’03, Ellen Kim ’03, Andrea Harsanyi ’02, and Lauren Erb ’01 in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
Building on the strong opening by the relay, Alberi placed third in the 50-yard backstroke with a time of 28.49. The 50-yard butterfly was dominated by MIT with two high finishes. Andrea Harsanyi ’02 took seventh with a time of 27.69 and co-captain Jennifer Navarro ’00 placed third with 27.38.
The first day of competition finished with a record-shattering 400 medley relay led off by the standout freshman backstroker, Alberi, followed by Lea Engst ’02, Navarro, and anchored by Erb. The relay took fourth place overall with a time of 4:04.99, smashing the previous MIT school record of 4:08.52 by 3.5 seconds.
200 medley leads second day
The second day of the meet the engineers proved to be just as strong as on the first day. Alberi, Engst, Navarro, and Harsanyi captured fourth in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:53.16.
Alberi again dominated the backstroke with a second place finish in the 100 backstroke, just breaking the minute mark with a national qualifying time of 59.99. Navarro followed with an eighth place finish in the 100 butterfly at 1:00.34.
The 800 freestyle relay of Navarro, Angelique Dousis ’00, Harsanyi, and Erb finished off the night with a respectable ninth place thanks to remarkable swims by sprinters Harsanyi and Erb.
The Lady Engineers battled exhaustion as it came to the third and last day of the meet, but exhaustion lost and was nowhere to be seen in the pool when the engineers were racing. Alberi cleaned up the 200 backstroke with a second place finish and a national qualifying time of 2:09.82.
Engst, known to out-touch her competition by .001 seconds, crushed the eight-year school record in the 200 breastroke with a time of 2:30.20 at eleventh place finish. MIT’s two energized distance swimmers, Allison Fielder ’02 and Kristen Clements ’02, had a spectacular showing in the mile (1,650 yards).
400 relay finishes meet
Clements easily broke the 19-minute mark with a time of 18:55.82 which earned her a 13th place finish. Fielder had a rough start with leaking goggles but pulled out a season best time of 19:10.31 at 16th place.
The finale was a third-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay by Navarro, Harsayni, Erb, and Alberi. The relay touched out the top-three powerhouse Middlebury College for the third place finish in the relay. MIT head coach Mary Ellen Mclaughlin built up and coached the Middlebury team for 12 years before coming to the MIT in 1997.
The third-place finish in the relay led to a final team score of 575.50 points and a fifth place finish, just beating out Bates College by 2.5 points.
This finish ties with the best ever by the Lady Engineers at the New England Championship.
Alberi heads to NCAA Nationals at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, March 9-11, swimming the 100 and 200 backstroke and the 500 freestyle.