The women's swimming and diving team capped off their 2009-10 season this past weekend with an eighth-place finish at the NESCAC championship meet.

The Bowdoin women amassed a total of 616.5 points over the course of the three-day meet, which was held at the Middlebury College Natatorium. This finish put them ahead of the Wesleyan, Hamilton and Trinity teams.

Williams, a perennial swimming powerhouse, recorded its 10th consecutive NESCAC title with a record total of 1,954 points.

The three-day format of the championship meet proved to be a struggle at times for the Bowdoin women, several of whom were feeling under the weather.

"I think we were all a little uncertain going into [the meet] because there was a lot of sickness going around, but there were definitely some amazing races over the three days," said Allen Garner '12.

"Over the course of the meet the women became very sore. It is hard to prepare mentally for all these maximum effort swims," said Head Coach Brad Burnham.

Despite what Burnham noted as "a few bumps along the way," the women ultimately finished the meet with a number of strong finishes in championship final events.

Garner led the Polar Bears, qualifying for the championship finals in all three of the backstroke events. She finished fifth in the 50-yard backstroke, and seventh in the 200-yard event.

Garner's fifth place finish in the 100-yard backstroke, however, remained one of the highlights of the meet. Her time of 59.62 seconds earned her an NCAA "B" cut qualifying time, which places her under consideration to swim at the NCAA Division III championships, to be held in March in Minneapolis, Minn.

"I really wanted to break a minute, so I was ecstatic when I looked up [at the scoreboard] and saw that I had just snuck under," Garner said.

Garner cited the support of her teammates as a key role in her successful swims.

"I don't know what was better, looking up at the scoreboard or seeing my teammates right there when my race was over. Honestly, they make it all worth it...They're the ones who make me want to dive in and lay it all out," she said.

"Allen's swims were inspirational to everyone," added Burnham.

Also qualifying for championship finals was Jessie Small '11, who swam to a seventh-place finish in the 50-yard breaststroke. Small also dropped three seconds from her seed time to finish ninth in the 200-yard breaststroke consolation final.

Emily Shoemaker '12 and Katherine Foley '13 rounded out Bowdoin's top performances with strong finishes in the 50-yard butterfly and the 1000-yard freestyle, respectively. Shoemaker's time of 26.98 won the consolation final for the 50-yard butterfly and earned her a ninth place finish overall.

"I really focused on the sprint races, where little things like starts and turns really mattered," she said.

Foley, despite struggling with sickness over the course of the weekend, came through to finish eighth in the grueling distance freestyle event.

"Katherine really came through in her race and had an amazing leg," said Garner.

In relay events, Garner, Foley and Shoemaker teamed up with Megan Sullivan '11 to earn a sixth place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Their time of 3:36.37, 12 seconds faster than their original seed, placed them narrowly ahead of the Colby and Bates squads.

Bowdoin also placed sixth in the 200-yard medley relay, with the team of Garner, Shoemaker, Caitlin Callahan '11, and Kaley Kokomoor '13 finishing with a time of 1:50.50.

This weekend, the men's team will travel to Williams College to compete at their respective NESCAC championship. NESCAC men's swimmer of the week Nathan Mecray '12 will be a key player for the Polar Bears at this event, as will Basyl Stuyvesant '13 and Mac Routh '12.

"The men look fantastic. I am confident they will swim fast, just how fast remains to be seen. I do know they will give everything they have...they will leave it all in the pool," said Burnham.