Swimming and Diving Sends Individuals to Championships
Issue   |   Tue, 03/24/2015 - 23:43
Amherst Athletics
Emily Hyde '15 placed third in the final individual meet of her career.

After their fourth-place finish at the NESCAC championships, the Amherst women’s swim and dive team sent seven swimmers to compete in 14 events in Shenandoah, Texas for the NCAA Division III championships.

Junior Emily Hyde led the team, qualifying for three individual races and three relays on her quest to defend her title in the 200 IM. In addition to the 200 individual medley, Hyde qualified for the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke for her other two individual races. By the end of the weekend, she had broken school records in both. Hyde would swim alongside teammates in the 200 and 400 medley relays and the 800 freestyle relay.

Day one included Hyde’s effort to win back-to-back titles in the 200 IM. Entering the race as the No. 2 seed, Hyde touched the wall in 2:03.09 to claim third place. She followed that performance with a ninth-place swim alongside senior captains Ashleigh Stoddart and Sabrina Lee and junior Sarah Conklin in the 200 medley relay. In addition to breaking the previous school record, the team earned first place in the consolation final with a time of 1:43.36.

The first day of races also featured Stephanie Ternullo ’15, who competed in the 500 free in the first of her three races of the meet. Amherst finished the day in sixth place with 34 points, where it would remain for the rest of the weekend.

“It was awesome to see so many of us, both men and women, sneaking into the top 16 and getting a second swim at night,” Lee said.

Day two kicked off with the 200 free relay, which resulted in a 15th-place finish for Lee, Conklin, Ternullo and Stoddart. In the 100 fly, Conklin took second-place and set a new school record with a time of 54.66. In the 200 free, Stoddart and Ternullo swam in the consolation finals and took 11th and 12th, respectively. Stoddart touched the wall in 1:50.84, while Ternullo finished just behind her in 1:51.07. For the final event of the day, Stephanie Moriarty ’18 and Hyde joined Conklin and Stoddart to claim a fifth-place finish and set a new Amherst record in the 400 MR with a time of 3:46.37.

The women entered day three in sixth place with 94 points and finished the day in the same spot with 125. Hyde claimed Amherst’s second second-place finish of the weekend in her fourth race, touching the wall in 1:02.51 in the 100 breast. The 800 free relay team of Stoddart, Hyde, Marie Maxwell ’18 and Ternullo finished in 7:28.46, which was good enough to finish seventh. Day three also included Conklin’s performance in the 200 fly and Moriarty’s in the 100 back.

The final day of the championships saw Amherst finish in sixth with a total of 173 points. They were the second-highest scoring NESCAC team, behind Williams, who finished in third with 434 points. Hyde finished third in her last individual race, touching the wall in 2:15.96 in the 200 breast. The 400 free relay team of Stoddart, Ternullo, Conklin and Hyde closed out the meet. The foursome took eighth place, finishing in 3:28.23.

“It is promising to know that although our team may not have had a great deal of depth this year, we still have a lot of very talented girls that keep us performing at one of the highest levels in the nation,” Lee said. “This meet was a great way to end my swimming career and finish off the 2014-15 season.”

On the men’s side, nine swimmers went to Texas, where the Jeffs would claim the 13th spot amidst the 54 schools present. Day one saw only two points, which came in the form of a 16th-place finish in the 200 MR. Matt Heise ’16, Elijah Spiro ’18, Tyler Hampton ’15 and Connor Sholtis ’15 finished in 1:31.39, 0.5 seconds slower than their school record-breaking preliminary time. Day one also saw Sholtis swim in the 50 free and Jeff Anderson ’16 race the 200 IM.

The Jeffs jumped 15 spots on day two, from 28th to 13th, earning points five different events. The day kicked off with the 200 free relay team of Hampton, Alex Dreisbach ’17, Matt Heise and Michael Rochford ’15, who finished 15th with a new school record and time of 1:23.09. Next, after missing points on the shorter medley, Anderson claimed 16th in the 400 IM with a time of 3:59.53.

“The season went very well, especially when it came time for championships — the whole team dropped time and performed better than expected,” Anderson said.

The highlight of the day for the Jeffs came during the 200 free, in which senior captain Sholtis broke the school record and claimed the crown, touching the wall in 1:37.37.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better end to a senior season,” Sholtis said. “As a team, we broke three of our five relay records. It’s nice when a whole season’s worth of work really pays off in the end. I’m so thankful and honored to have been a part of the team.”

The win carried the team into another of the aforementioned record-breaking swims in the form of the 400 MR. Sholtis anchored the 10th-place squad including Rochford, Spiro and Sam Spurrell ’18, and touched the wall in 3:17.75. In the final point-earning event of the day, Amherst’s lone diver Asher Litchig ’16 claimed 15th with a 407.80-point one-meter dive. Spurrell rounded out the day, competing in the 100 fly.

The Jeffs finished day three still in 13th with 70 points. The day started with the 200 fly, in which Anderson and Spurrell finished seventh and eighth respectively. Anderson came in at 1:46.52 with Spurrell following close behind in 1:51.46. The only other event to earn the men points was the 800 free relay team of Anderson, Dreisbach, Rochford and Sholtis, which earned 15th with a time of 6:45.38. Both Rochford and Heise competed in the 100 back while Spiro raced the 100 breast.

The final day saw the purple and white finish in 13th with 107 points. To start the day, Sholtis placed eighth in his last individual race, finishing the 100 free in 44.65. Right after, Rochford, who missed points in the 200 back the previous day, earned points with a 15th-place finish in the 200 back. Litchig had another point-earning performance, scoring 499.35 for seventh place in the three-meter dive. The 400 free relay team of Hampton, Dreisbach, Anderson and Sholtis closed the 2015 NCAA championships for Amherst and finished 11th with a time of 3:01.47, 0.8 seconds slower than their school record-breaking preliminary time.

“We’ll have the momentum from this championship season performance,” Anderson said when asked about next year. “Our incoming class looks promising. Their talent combined with the great work ethic we have from this season will hopefully help us fill the holes left by the graduating class.”