March 18, 2013

MIT Women's Swimming Sends 11 to Nationals

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Eleven members of the MIT women's swimming and diving team will be heading to Shenandoah, Texas for the 2013 NCAA Division III Championships, which will take place from Wednesday, March 20 through Saturday, March 23. This is the most female swimmers that the institution has ever sent to nationals. The No. 7 nationally ranked Engineers won their third straight New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship title late last month, finishing almost 300 points ahead of the competition.

MIT saw all five of their relays qualify for the meet. The 200-yard freestyle relay, which will be swam on the second day of competition, is the Engineers' highest seeded relay in second with a time of 1:33.46, just one-tenth behind Denison University. The 200-yard medley relay is another strong event for MIT, who are seeded in third with a 1:43.89.

Senior Anna Kokensparger (Omaha, Neb.), who wrapped up NEWMACs with seven first place finishes and three new meet records, qualified in all three of her events. She is seeded second in her first individual event, the 200-yard Individual Medley, with her time of 2:03.87, just over half a second behind Emily Hyde of Amherst College. She is seeded 11th in the 200-yard freestyle and 12th in her final individual event, the 200-yard butterfly.

Fellow senior Elina Hu (Oshkosh, Wis.) has a full weekend, opening the meet with the 50-yard freestyle on the first day and ending the weekend with the 100-yard freestyle on Saturday, seeded 20th and 35th respectively. She will also be part of two relays.

Kicking the meet off for MIT on Wednesday is freshman Kate Yu (San Jose, Calif.), who is seeded 27th in the 500-yard freestyle. Next in the 200 IM will be Kokensparger and junior Katelyn Rossick (Middletown, Md.) and, to end the day, four Engineers will swim the 50 free: Hu, junior Christy Rogers (Bend, Ore.), and freshman Katie Siegel (San Jose, Calif.) and Lena Yang (East Stroudsburg, Pa.). Yang is seeded highest for MIT in the event in 13th.

On the second day, Rossick will be the lone MIT swimmer racing in the 400-yard Individual Medley, seeded 19th with her time of 4:31.30. Siegel is seeded seventh in the 100-yard butterfly with her NEWMAC and school record-setting time of 55.32. The final event of the day, the 200-yard freestyle, will be raced by Kokensparger, Yu and junior Joanna Yeh (Frederick, Md.). On Friday, Kokensparger and Rossick will swim the 200-yard butterfly, followed by Siegel and Rogers in the 100-yard backstroke and freshman Kristen Finney (Lake Orion, Mich.) in the 100-yard breaststroke.

On the fourth and final day, Yang and Hu will open competition in the 100-yard freestyle. Rogers will race in the 200-yard backstroke and Finney will wrap up the individual events in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Sophomores Emmie Ryan (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Michelle Cunningham (Wayland, Mass.) will be joining their teammates in a handful of relays.

MIT, who finished in eighth place at last year's championship, will kick off the four-day, eight-session meet on Wednesday with the 500 free, which is set to start at 11:00 a.m.