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Women to Host NEWMAC Finals

By Victoria K. Anderson

TEAM MEMBER

The MIT Women’s Swimming and Diving Team will play host to the 2004 New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference NEWMAC Swimming and Diving Championships February 20-22. The Beavers have finished as runners-up to Springfield College in every NEWMAC Championship since 2001, with the closest contest being in 2002 when the Pride edged past MIT 1078.5 to 1069.5 in the final standings. This year will likely be another two-way battle for first place, as Springfield and MIT boast NEWMAC records of 3-0 and 4-1, respectively, with MIT’s lone conference loss coming from a dual meet with Springfield. The perennial third-place finisher, Wellesley College, also has a 4-1 NEWMAC record, but does not enter the championships with the same dual-meet season strength, as they did not face Springfield and lost to MIT.

In their effort to claim the championship title, MIT will depend heavily on their strengths in the freestyle and individual medley races, in which they hold the top times in the conference at every distance. In the 50, 100, and 200-yard freestyle races, Kathryn M. Duffy ’04 tops the list, while Katherine C. Thornton ’07 holds the top times in the 500 and 1650 freestyle as well as the 200 butterfly. Jennifer A. L’ao ’05 sits atop the rankings in the 200 and 400 individual medley to strengthen the Beavers’ position going into the meet.

MIT will also depend on stroke races to amass points. For the 100-yard races, Aasia Saleemuddin ’04 is ranked 10th in the butterfly, Melissa E. Dere ’06 is ranked fourth in the breast, and Erin M. Zoller ’05 is ranked sixth in the backstroke. Zoller also currently sits sixth in the 200 backstroke while Dere is at third in the 200 breaststroke.

The relays, which have generally been a strong suit for the Beavers, will likely parallel the overall competition, with MIT and Springfield racing for the top spot in each of the relays. Springfield holds the top seed in all five relays, and MIT is seeded second in the 200, 400, and 800 freestyle relays as well as the 200 medley relay.

The meet will start off with the trials for the 200 freestyle relay at noon today, with the finals for the events contested at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday trial sessions will begin at 11 a.m., while the finals sessions will begin at 6:30 p.m. Diving trials will start at 2 p.m. today and at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.