Kokensparger Leads Women's Swimming to 14th at NCAA Championship

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Last week, five members of MIT’s swimming and diving team traveled to the University of Minnesota for the 2010 NCAA Division III Championships hosted by Beloit College and the College of Wooster.

After four days of competition, Tech’s women finished 14th of 52 teams, their second-best performance at the national meet, marking the first time in two decades that the Cardinal and Gray ranked in the top 15 at the national meet.

Anna Kokensparger led the way for the Engineers, securing All-American recognition in all three of her individual events. The freshman entered the meet on Wednesday with the nation’s fastest time in the 200 IM and lowered her personal best in the preliminaries (2:04.82), qualifying second. Despite bettering her time and setting a new Institute record with her time in the finals (2:03.23), Kokensparger had to settle for second place behind Logan Todhunter of Williams (2:02.57).

For Kokensparger’s other races, seven became her magic number. On Thursday, she had the seventh-fastest swim in the preliminaries of the 100 Fly before advancing to finish seventh in the finals (56.37). Then on Friday, her MIT-best swim in the 200 Fly (2:03.79) was good enough to qualify seventh for the championship final, where her time of 2:04.63 earned her seventh in the event.

In the relays, three more Institute records were broken. Kokensparger teamed with junior Amy Jacobi and freshmen Elina Hu and Nicole Wang to swim to a 14th-place finish in the 200 Medley Relay (1:47.18). The same foursome placed 10th the next day in the 200 Free Relay (1:35.09). Kokensparger, Hu, Jacobi and sophomore Sydney Giblin swam in the 400 Medley (3:53.90), finishing 10th and bettering the previous MIT-record by nearly five seconds.

Jacobi also swam well in her individual events, missing the qualifying cutoff in the 50 Free by .02 second to finish 17th (23.94). She also took 26 in the 100 Free (52.44) and 33rd in the 100 Fly (58.12).

The end of the week was tough for the MIT women, who were disqualified in the 800 Free Relay and withdrew from the 400 Free Relay.

MIT’s 75 points were sufficient to tie for 14th-place overall, the second-best finish in program history, bettered only by the team’s 11th-place finish at the 1990 championship.