Feb. 17, 2006
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Springfield College won both relays, including an electrifying finish in the 400 medley to move out to a commanding lead after the first day of the 2006 NEWMAC Women's Swimming and Diving Championships. The Engineers, currently second in the 10-team field, had plenty to cheer about on opening night after smashing school records in both relays.
The Pride grabbed the first win of the night, capturing the 200 free relay with a NEWMAC Championship record of 1:37.91. During prelims, Springfield split 1:37.87 to set the NEWMAC open and Zesiger Pool records. Springfield paced an unprecedented attack on the NEWMAC record books as both second-place Wellesley (1:38.00) and third-place MIT (1:38.42) topped the previous championship mark. The Cardinal and Gray dropped two seconds from the finish at Friday morning's trials.
Thornton led from start to finish in the 500 free, crushing her own Institute record by three seconds en route to a first-place finish and a time of 5:02.16. She missed the NCAA "A" cut by four-tenths of one second, although her time places her among the top 10 clips in the nation.
Babson sophomore Meg Lynch repeated as NEWMAC champion in the 200 IM, bettering her own championship standard by nearly two seconds with an NCAA "B" performance of 2:09.64. Rookie Kristen Schadow grabbed second place for Springfield, while MIT senior Jen-Jen La'O finished just off the Institute record (2:14.49) en route to a third-place finish.
Springfield powered ahead of the field with quality depth in one-meter diving. Although the Pride yielded the top two spots to All-America performers Shanti Freitas (Smith) and Doria Holbrook (MIT), Springfield snared fourth through sixth, picking up 42 of their meet-leading 298 points. Freitas (471.95) and Holbrook (464.75) destroyed the previous championship record on the one-meter board during trials. In the finals, the scores were slightly lower, but the order remained the same as Freitas out-dueled her sophomore rival en route to the top spot on the leader board.
The Pride solidified its spot ahead of the pack with a gutsy win in the 400 medley relay. Springfield led the entire race, but MIT never trailed by more than a half-body length. The two teams quickly broke away from the rest of the heat, but the finish wouldn't be decided until the last instant as Springfield out-touched the Engineers, 4:00.45-4:00.62. Both times sank the previous NEWMAC championship record, while MIT broke its school record by three seconds. Every split for each swimmer was nearly identical. Sophomore Sasha Brophy provided a tremendous effort on the final leg to give MIT a chance for the win (52.77), but she couldn't quite eclipse senior Emily Phillips (52.53), who turned in one of her greatest performances to seal the victory.