The women's swimming and diving team held its own in a field of tough competition at the NESCAC championships last weekend at Wesleyan University.
In what Head Coach Brad Burnham described as "one of the best meets I have ever been a part of," the Bowdoin women broke two school records over the course of the three-day competition.
With a total of 737.5 points, the women placed seventh out of 11 teams.
The Williams College Ephs took first at the meet with 1853 points, earning their eighth consecutive NESCAC title. Swimming powerhouses Middlebury and Amherst rounded out the top three.
The Polar Bears finished ahead of in-state rivals Colby and Bates, who placed eighth and ninth, respectively.
"The NESCAC swimming conference is by far the most competitive in the nation and we are improving right along with it," Burnham said.
The first year duo of Caitlin Callahan and Allison Palmer led the Polar Bears in individual events.
Callahan's performance in the 50-yard breaststroke earned her a second-place finish behind Colby's Kelly Norsworthy '08.
Her time of 30.12 also broke a 13-year-old Bowdoin record set by Molly Fey '94.
Showing continued strength in the breaststroke events, Callahan placed fifth overall in the 100-yard competition.
Palmer placed fourth in the 50-yard freestyle final with a time of 24.47. "The exciting part is that I have room for improvement for faster swims next year," Palmer said.
Other top finishers for the Polar Bears included captain Jessica Horstkotte '08, who placed seventh in the finals of the 1650-yard freestyle.
She was followed closely by teammate Rachel Gang '11, who finished in ninth.
"Jess's mile was the highlight for me. It was just a beautiful race to watch and she out-touched her opponent by one-hundredth of a second after 18 minutes of racing," Burnham said.
On the final day of competition, the 400-yard freestyle relay team of Palmer, Horstkotte, Kerry Brodziak '08, and Megan Sullivan '11 finished in sixth place. The 400-yard medley relay squad of Erin McAuliffe '11, Callahan, Sullivan, and Palmer also finished in sixth. Their time of 4:01.55 broke an existing school record set in 1993.
"We spent the rest of the weekend fighting for every point we could find. We had so many standout performances it was getting ridiculous," Burnham said.
Overall, the women were pleased with their performance as a team. "My favorite part of the meet was sharing the experience with a great group of girls. Everyone swam their heart out. It was swimming at its best: intense competition, friendly rivalries, and outstanding efforts by everyone," Callahan said.
Palmer echoed Callahan's sentiments.
"There were some truly impressive swims of season and lifetime bests: Kerry Twombly '08 and Leah Navarro '11 in the 100-yard freestyle, and Molly Homoki '11 in the 400-yard IM, just to name a few," she said. "Everyone put in their best efforts and that is an amazing thing to watch."
The men's team will compete at the NESCAC championships this weekend at Middlebury.
"[The men] will definitely feed off the energy that the women brought back after such an amazing weekend," Burnham said.