Talented Swimming and Diving Teams Bolstered by 18 First-Years
Issue   |   Wed, 11/16/2011 - 02:22
Justin Long
Ryan Lichtenfels ’12 is the reigning NCAA champion in the 500-yard freestyle.

The swimming and diving teams are coming an very impressive season. The men’s team posted a perfect 8-0 dual meet record and placed second in the NESCAC finals with a program-high score of 1,614.5, while the women’s team was the NESCAC runner-up for the sixth time in the past 10 years. The women placed ninth in the NCAA finals, which was their ninth consecutive top-10 finish, and the men came in sixth for their fourth consecutive top-10 finish.

The teams have been highly successful under head coach Nick Nichols, who joined the program in 1998. Three of the men’s eight undefeated seasons have been under Nichols, and he has led them to a 96-16 record in his time here. The women’s team has posted a 37-3 record in just the past five years.

The men’s team will miss Alex Fraser ’11 and Reid Fitzgerald ’11, who were both on last year’s multiple record-breaking 400-yard medley relay team, but they welcome a host of talented first-years. Nine swimmers and one diver join the Lord Jeffs’ ranks.

Returning talent includes Ryan Lichtenfels ’12, reigning NCAA champion in the 500-yard freestyle and three-time NESCAC champion in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Conor McAuliffe ’14 holds the NESCAC title in the 1,000-yard freestyle.
Lichtenfels, Tim White ’12 and Parker Moody ’14 were all on the 800-yard freestyle relay team that won the NESCAC title and placed second at the NCAA championships.

Ben McBratney ’12 currently holds the NESCAC record in the 100 breaststroke. Last year’s squad broke an astounding number of school and NESCAC records, occasionally multiple times within the season.

On the women’s side, there are seven first-year swimmers and one diver. Last year the team graduated Kendra Stern ’11, who was recently named Div. III Female Athlete of the Year and won the prestigious NCAA Top VIII Award. Stern had a spectacular swimming career at Amherst, but the team can look forward to some rising talent.

Abby Hahn ’14 is the reigning NESCAC champion in the 200 breaststroke, and first-year Courtney Flynn promises to be another strong contender in the event.

Allison Merz ’14 competed in the NCAA finals in the 100 butterfly, and placed fourth in the NESCAC for the same event. Senior co-captain Becca Thompson qualified for the NCAA tournament in the 1,650 freestyle last year. Thompson placed fourth in the event at the NESCAC championships, with sophomore Audrey Ingerson close behind with a sixth-place finish.
The swimming and diving team will open their season with a meet on Saturday at Colby.