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MIT Women Set Many Records In NEWMAC Finals

Victoria K. Anderson


The MIT Women’s Swimming and Diving team took second place at the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Championships Feb. 20-22 with a total team score of 642 points. Springfield College, the overall team champion, scored 1027.5 points, while third-place Wellesley finished with 558 points. Throughout the weekend, seven MIT swimmers posted automatic or provisional national qualifying times and five broke championship meet records. A total of nine institute records fell during the three days of competition.

The Beavers started out the first day of competition by taking first place in the 200-yard freestyle relay, as the team of Kathryn M. Duffy ’04, Georgene M. Hilb ’04, Stephanie A. Sidelko ’07, and Erin M. Zoller ’05 finished in 1:40.01. In the first individual event of the meet, Katherine C. Thornton ’07 took second in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:06.45, just short of the 5:05.39 that she swam in the preliminary session to break her own institute record in the event. Jen-Jen La’o ’05 also scored a second-place finish in the 200 Individual Medley (IM), breaking a 24-year-old institute record with her time of 2:14.03. Duffy claimed first in the 50 freestyle with a 24.09, falling inches short of the 24.05 that she swam in preliminaries to set new institute, conference, and championship meet records. Both times meet the automatic national qualification standard, assuring the Beavers representation at the NCAA Division III Championships. In the final event of the first day, Zoller, Melissa E. Dere ’06, Hilb, and Duffy placed second to Springfield in the 400 medley relay with their time of 4:05.12.

The second day of competition saw the 200 medley relay team of Zoller, Dere, Thornton, and Sidelko place fourth with at time of 1:55.30. La’o set institute, conference, and championship meet records en route to her victory in the 400 IM, with a provisional national qualifying time of 4:41.72. Duffy also posted a record-breaking time while winning the 200 freestyle. Her provisional national qualifying time of 1:54.15 broke institute, conference, and championship meet records. The closing event of the second day, the 800 freestyle relay, was a thrilling chase to the end, with the MIT and Springfield teams separated by no more than two seconds at any point of the nearly eight-minute race. The MIT team of Thronton, Hilb, Jennifer J. DeBoer ’05, and Duffy touched first with a time of 7:46.43 to Springfield’s 7:46.79, setting new institute, conference, and championship meet records and posting a provisional national qualifying time.

On the final day of competition, Thornton outdistanced the competition in the longest event of the meet, the 1650 freestyle. She won with a time of 17:37.74, which set a new conference meet record and fell under the provisional national qualifying time. Duffy continued her assault on the record books, taking the 100 freestyle by over two seconds. Her institute, conference, and championship record time of 51.82 also fell under the automatic national qualifying time. Dere established a new institute record of 2:28.14 in the 200 breast as she took second place and made the list of provisional national qualifiers. Hilb won the final individual event of the meet, the 200 butterfly, with a provisional national qualifying time of 2:12.14.

Closing out the official competition of the meet, the 400 freestyle relay of DeBoer, Hilb, Zoller, and Duffy finished second with a national provisional qualifying time of 3:36.61. Duffy also competed in an unofficial 50 breaststroke time trial that led to her final institute record of the meet, when she touched in 31.32.