Last weekend, the women’s swimming and diving team took fourth place with 1,092 points in the NESCAC Championships, hosted at Leroy Greason Pool, and broke six school records. All 11 NESCAC teams and 260 athletes were present at Bowdoin for the first time since 2017.
The Polar Bears started out strong last Thursday in the 800 free relay with a fourth place finish and a new school record of 7:31.59. The momentum spilled over into the next day’s preliminary performances with 13 finals qualifying times coming out of preliminaries.
Bowdoin added to its performance with a second place finish in the 200 free relay with another school record-breaking time of 1:33.70.
This race began a slew of successful swims with Anna Roberts ’23 finishing second and Emilie Grand’Pierre ’23 finishing ninth in the 50 breastroke. Roberts broke her own 50 breastroke school record and set a personal best with a time of 28.91. Tatum Zupnik ’24 followed suit with a second-place finish in the 50 butterfly, a new school record and a personal best with a 24.85.
Soon after, Ella Martin ’24 took first in the 50 backstroke with a 25.64. This was the Polar Bears’ only first-place finish of the meet. Lizzie Walsh ’26 followed up with a third place finish in the 200 IM with a personal best of 2:04.51.
To finish out the first night, Zupnik took second with a 23.44 and Ella Riccio ’25 took fifth with a 23.56 in the 50 free, earning them both NCAA B cuts, which are the second-tier time cuts for the national tournament. The team finished third in the 400 medley relay to close out the night.
Brynn Wright ’26 started last Saturday night by winning the consolation final in the 100 butterfly, taking ninth in the event with a 56.84. Following closely behind, Walsh finished second in the 400 IM with a 4:24.84, a personal best and NCAA qualifying time.
Bowdoin dominated the consolation final of the 200 free with Wright, Carolyn Casey ’26 and Riccio taking ninth, tenth and 13th place, respectively. This set the stage for Roberts’s third place finish in the 100 breast, breaking another of her school records with a 1:02.95.
Martin followed up with a fourth place finish in the 100 backstroke with a 56.96. Diver Sadie Smith ’25 dove a 439.05 to take fourth in the finals and qualify her for the NCAA regional meet.
To end the third night of finals, Bowdoin took second in a close 200 medley relay, only out touching Tufts by 0.41 of a second with a 1:42.30. Coming out of the third night, the Polar Bears were in third place, ahead of Amherst by a slim margin.
Sunday started with Liv Smith ’25 placing sixth in the 200 back with a 2:05.56, and Casey followed closely behind in tenth place.
Zupnik won the consolation final heat of the 100 free with a 51.35, taking ninth overall in the event and getting an NCAA B cut. Riccio got fifth in the event with 51.22, winning her an NCAA B cut and season best swim.
Roberts had her final swim in the 200 breast and did not disappoint, placing third overall with a 2:16.41. She once again broke her own school record and got an NCAA B cut. Walsh followed up with a strong 200 butterfly, earning fourth overall with a 2:04.13.
The pressure was on coming into the final 400 relay. Riccio out-touched the Williams swimmer by three hundredths of a second, putting Bowdoin in second in the relay with a time of 3:26.17.
Over 40 NESCAC seniors were also recognized and celebrated by their teams over the weekend. This aspect of the meet was especially meaningful to Bowdoin swimmers.
“I think I speak for the senior class when I say that we have been swimming for a long time,” Peyton Tran ’23 said. “We had a great last conference meet, and I’m really proud of the senior class. I think Covid[-19] messed up a lot, but we have really rallied for the team this year.”
Bowdoin will swim at the Women’s February Invite this weekend in Middletown, Conn. The Polar Bears are also looking forward to the NCAA Championships, which begin in March.