Strong individual performances highlight swim, dive road meets

by Katelyn McCarthy | 11/23/04 6:00am

This weekend marked the two-year anniversary of the College's unexpected swim team cut. It was only appropriate, then, that the Dartmouth women's swim and dive team would celebrate by traveling up and down the East Coast, road tripping to face tough Ivy League opponents Brown and Columbia.

Kristin Simunovich '06 led the way in the first meet on Saturday against Brown, with a third-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle in a time of 25.53. There were also impressive second-place finishes by Jenny Kunkel '05 in the 200-yard backstroke, Dana Charles '06 in the 200 breaststroke and captain Erin Bingham '05 in the 1 and 3-meter dive events.

After halftime, Nicole Zarba '06 helped guide a momentous effort in the 500-yard freestyle by placing second. Following in third, fourth and fifth place were Lauren Betzing '07, Alex Bochicchio '05 and Megan Vucovich '07, respectively.

Closing the meet, the 400-yard freestyle relay was closely edged out by Brown. The stellar relay team consisted of Liz Mancuso '08, Lizzie Rippe '07, Mariah Cunnick '06 and Simunovich.

As the worn-out Big Green swimmers left Brown's poolside, captain Bochicchio said, "We're broken down, but we're swimming impressively. With all these jolly cheers, I'm excited to travel to Columbia to race tomorrow afternoon."

The next day, the team took on Columbia, losing in a hard-fought battle 194-101. Betzing once again rocked the pool with a first place finish in the 200-yard butterfly. Also garnering first place was the always-impressive 200-yard freestyle relay team, comprised of Cunnick, Simunovich, Rippe and Mancuso. In the diving events, Kate Brodie '06 took second place in both the one- and three-meter dive platforms.

Reflecting on the weekend, Bochicchio noted, "Two years ago the athletic department and administration informed us that we would no longer be permitted to do what we love to do: swim competitively by representing Dartmouth College."

She went on to thank supporters Steve Mullins '54 and John Ballard '55 for their significant financial donations to the swimming program.

Two years ago, Mullins and Ballard erected the Glover Fund in commemoration of their best friend and fellow swimmer John Glover '55, who tragically passed away at an early age. The two alums were extremely active in the fight against the athletic department and administration to reinstate the Big Green swim and dive team, helping to raise $10 million for the team's endowment. "After leaving Dartmouth nearly 50 years ago, Mullins and Ballard only wanted the Dartmouth swimmers and divers to experience the opportunities they had so long ago," said captain Laura Nelson '05. "After nearly a half decade, they are still great friends and supporters -- they know that friendships and experiences formed from being on a sports team can last a lifetime."

The Big Green ladies will travel to Honolulu, Hawaii Dec. 10 for training and competition.