This weekend, the women’s swimming and diving team put forward a number of record-breaking performances as 11 teams flooded the LeRoy Greason Pool for NESCAC championships.

The meet was highlighted by a number of accomplishments, from 12 new Bowdoin records—10 swimming and two diving—to Diving Coach Kelsey Willard being named NESCAC Diving Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.

“Receiving that award, it’s really nice that my other peer coaches in the NESCAC recognize what goes into it,” said Willard. “But I can’t take too much credit because the work that the athletes are putting in is what gives me that award. Having three of them in the top eight—they’re contributing the most points out of any of the other divers to the team and that’s where that award comes from.”

Divers Christine Andersen ’17, Thea Kelsey ’20 and Rebecca Stern ’19 all placed in the top eight in both diving events, a main goal of Willard’s and the team’s for the season. Andersen’s dominant performances not only garnered second-place finishes in both the one-meter and three-meter dives but also set new school records in both events, breaking Victoria Tudor’s ’06 scores from 2006.

For the past few years, NESCAC Championships have been a time to set many school bests. Last year the women’s team broke 14 Bowdoin records at the meet.

“Records are made to be broken,” said Willard. “They are always aware of the records, but being able to see that they can surpass them gives them just the sense of accomplishment that is the whole point of being able to break a record. It’s not necessarily about the number more than that self-assurance that they’re capable.”

While breaking records continues a trend for the program, a particularly noteworthy record was broken this year by Marshall Lowery ’20—Ruth Reinhard’s ’93 200 backstroke time of 2:05.27 from 1993—the oldest remaining team record.

“One of my favorite parts about breaking that record was knowing that it is representative of how amazing a coach we have because it was the last record that [Head Coach Brad Burnham] had not seen set,” said Lowery. “Now that I’ve broken that record, he has coached every single record holder on the Bowdoin women’s swim team, and I think that’s pretty impressive.”

In addition, Andersen, Lowery and Sterling Dixon ’19 earned NESCAC All-Conference recognition for their top-three finishes in individual events.

Though the team has seen improvement each year, the Polar Bears remain in the middle of the league, finishing sixth at NESCACs for the second consecutive year. According to Head Coach Brad Burnham, the team’s unchanging overall finish correlates with the entire sport getting faster.

As the team looks ahead to potential NCAA qualifications, striving for big goals is one aspect of team culture that can help propel the program into the upper echelon of the conference.

“Training with people who have big goals helps you have big goals too,” said Lowery. “I am hoping that having those goals and fostering a team that has similar goals to me will help create a team where everyone is invested and people are very ambitious, and fostering a team like that would help us move up in the NESCAC rankings and have more of a national presence.”

While the swimmers will have to wait until next week to find out if they qualify for the NCAA championship, the process for diving is notably different and four of the five members of the women’s and men’s dive squads have already qualified for the regional meet that precedes Nationals, a new high for the program.