CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - In an exciting competition, the No. 6 MIT women's swimming and diving team met the No. 5 Lord Jeffs of Amherst College in the Zesiger Center Pool on Saturday afternoon. Amherst led from start to finish, but MIT kept the competition close as the Lord Jeffs edged the Engineers 159-139, handing them their first loss of the season.
Before the start of the meet, five female MIT seniors were recognized for their dedication and contributions to Tech's swimming and diving program
As expected, Amherst's Kendra Stern was the difference-maker for Coach Nick Nichols' squad. Stern anchored the Lord Jeffs' 200 Medley Relay (1:50.12) and picked up another early win in the 200 Free (1:49.82). Stern also won the 100 Free (51.32) with a season-best and NCAA A-cut time.
Elina Hu had a breakthrough meet for the Engineers, taking second in the 100 Back (1:00.98), an instant behind Amherst's Emily Swett (1:00.91). The freshman also took second behind Stern in the 100 Free (54.56).
On the boards, Amherst's Meggie Meisinger took first-place in both the 1-meter (257.30) and 3-meter (254.65) events. MIT freshman Elise Stave placed second in both events with her personal best scores in one- (233.85) and three-meter (216.35) diving.
For the Engineers, junior Amy Jacobi led a 1-2-3 sweep of the 50 Free taking first (24.57) over teammates Nicole Wang (24.63) and Katie Creasey (25.28). Jacobi bettered her season best in the 100 Fly, winning in an NCAA B-cut time (58.53). Freshman Anna Kokensparger also had a pair of individual wins, with her swims in the 200 Fly (2:06.67) and 200 Breast (2:28.57).
In the final individual race, the 200 IM, MIT's Kokensparger and Amherst's Stern faced off in their only head-to-head swim of the day. The two potential All-Americans had already posted national-qualifying times in the event, and many gallery spectators were on their feet for the duration race. In the end, only 0.65 second separated the pair, as Stern (2:06.41) edged out Kokensparger (2:07.06) to clinch the overall win for Amherst.
The Engineers' 8-1 finish marks the winningest season for Coach Dawn Dill since taking the helm of the program in 2003 and ties for the best dual-meet winning percentage in MIT history, matching the same record posted in the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons under the reins of Coach Mary Ellen McLaughlin.
The Engineers (8-1) swim next at the Wheaton Invitational on February 6. The Lord Jeffs (6-1) will compete on the same day in their final dual-meet against the Pride of Springfield College.