Women’s swimming and diving finishes eighth in Ivy League

by Daniel Lee | 2/24/15 6:01pm

For the second consecutive year, the women’s swimming and diving team finished in eighth place at the three-day long Ivy League Championship with 569.5 points, coming 853.5 points behind first-place finisher Princeton University.

The Tigers managed a narrow victory over defending champions Harvard University, defeating the Crimson by 21.5 points to claim the championship title. Dartmouth faced a difficult preliminary round on Saturday morning, with the team’s highest finish coming from Charlotte Kamai’s ’16 11th-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle, followed one-hundredth of a second later by Kendese Nangle ’16. Despite a strong performance in the finals round later that day, the Big Green was unable to bounce back.

“We knew we had an uphill battle because we had placed eighth last year,” head coach Jim Wilson said. “We came a lot closer in the meets [during the season], but we didn’t get to the goal we wanted to achieve.”

The point differential between Dartmouth and Cornell University, which placed seventh for the second consecutive year, was only 32.5 at the 2015 Championship compared to last year’s 127 point difference, showing signs of improvement for the Big Green.

On the first day of competition, AnnClaire MacArt ’18 broke the school record for the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:50.48, good for a sixth-place finish in the A-Final. MacArt’s record-breaking performance in the finals of the 500-yard freestyle almost never happened. In the preliminaries race, MacArt stole the eighth and final place with a time of 4:51.97, narrowly edging out the ninth-place finisher by only seven tenths of a second.

MacArt cut almost a second off her time with her performance in the finals, breaking the previous Dartmouth record by more than a tenth of a second in the process.

Led by MacArt’s standout performance, Dartmouth sat in sixth place at the end of the first day of competition with 160 points compared to seventh place Columbia’s 157.

“I was really proud of myself for pushing through it because it was a really tough race, and I could see everything that I worked for come together at that very moment,” MacArt said. “To get out [of the pool] and have everyone there was an amazing experience.”

In the meets heading into the Ivy Championship, MacArt had gradually built up to breaking the school record, coming extremely close earlier in the season at Brown University.

At the Brown Invitational, she recorded a time of 4:51.42, a fraction of a second longer than the record held at the time by Danielle Kerr ’14, which MacArt broke at the Championship.

At the end of day two, Dartmouth had slid to eighth in the tournament. Nangle was the highlight of the day, delivering another record-breaking performance that almost never happened for the Big Green.

In the A-final for the 100-yard backstroke, Nangle broke a record that she had set in 2013 by a tenth of a second with a time of 54.78 seconds. Nangle’s time delivered a third place finish in the A-final, a five position improvement over her eighth place finish in the preliminaries.

Nangle now holds four individual school records, including the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard backstroke. Nangle also shares four school records for team events as well, holding a spot on the 200-yard medley, 400-yard medley, 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle relay teams.

The third and final day of competition saw varied success for the Big Green, with the team’s highest finish coming from Kamai, who took ninth in the 100-yard freestyle.

While the individual events did not produce many top finishes for Dartmouth, the 400-yard freestyle team, consisting of Kamai, MacArt, Nangle and Siobhan Hengemuhle ’15, finished in fourth and just beat the University of Pennsylvania team by under one second.

Despite the last place finish, the swimming and diving team had an optimistic overall reaction toward the Ivy Championship.

“Even though we didn’t win, the energy on our team was still so great and there was so much companionship in the atmosphere,” Taylor Yamahata ’18 said. “I wouldn’t say that the meet was a loss because we knew we had done everything we could.”

With the long off-season having just started, the coaching staff stressed one key goal going into next season.

“The most important part is staying healthy, especially because we had many people out with injuries this year,” Wilson said.

With the exception of the Dartmouth Invitational, the Big Green will compete exclusively at other schools next year, MacArt said.

“I’m looking forward to traveling and getting to race at all the different pools,” MacArt said. “But more importantly, because I have more experience and depth, I looking forward to competing at a higher level.”