Feb. 24, 2008
WELLESLEY, Mass. - Behind First Team All-Conference performances from Nicole O'Keeffe in the 400-yard individual medley and Amy Jacobi in the 100-yard butterfly, MIT's women's swimming and diving team solidified its second-place position during day two of competition at the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championships. The Engineers have 460 points heading into Sunday's final round of events, trailing only seven-time defending champion Springfield College, which owns a narrow lead with 470.50 points.
Wheaton College is also still in the hunt for the title, currently sitting third with a score of 442. Wellesley College, which is hosting the Championships in its Chandler Pool, remains fourth with 329.50 points, followed by Coast Guard (245), Babson College (192), Smith College (156), Clark University (133), Mount Holyoke College (114) and WPI (93).
O'Keeffe's winning time of 4:38.15 in the 400-yard individual medley not only met the NCAA "B" cut standard in the event, but it also completely blew away the rest of her competition. Her finish in the evening's finals was over seven seconds faster than her own qualifying time and nearly a full eight seconds quicker than runner-up Jenny Wu of Wellesley.
Just as impressive was Jacobi's performance in the 100-yard butterfly. The rookie's finishing time of 58.12 in prelims broke both the NEWMAC Open and Championship records as well as met the NCAA "B" cut, but she would do herself one better in the finals. The Cranbury, N.J., native split 57.67 to not only re-establish the NEWMAC Open and Championship records just hours after having set them, but also claim one of the top 10 fastest times in Division III. Following closely behind Jacobi were Jen Chao (59.75, fourth-place) and Ellie Souganidis (1:00.38, sixth-place) to give the Engineers three of the top six finishers and a lion's share of the event's points.
Senior Sasha Brophy also reached an NCAA "B" cut in the 200-yard freestyle, touching the wall at 1:55.19 to earn Second Team All-Conference honors and miss out on winning the event by just 0.26 seconds. Teammate Sarah King finished fifth with a time of 2:00.22.
Brophy garnered additional All-Conference plaudits in the 800-yard freestyle relay, as she led off the quartet that finished as runners-up. Along with O'Keeffe, King and Jacobi, Brophy helped the team finish the race in an NCAA "B" cut time of 7:49.53 - just 0.28 seconds slower than the winning squad from Springfield.
MIT picked up a fourth-place finish in the evening's other relay, the 200-yard medley. Chao, O'Keeffe, Souganidis and King clocked in at 1:55.06, beating Babson's "A" squad by a mere one one-hundredth of a second.
Souganidis had a sixth-place showing in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:11.08), while Lauren Hernley finished 11th in the 100-yard backstroke (1:04.88).
The competition will conclude today, Feb. 24, as the prelims for the 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard butterfly, 400-yard freestyle relay and 1,650-yard freestyle will begin at 11:00 a.m. Meanwhile, the three-meter diving finals will commence at 1:30 p.m. and finals for the day's events will get underway at 6:30 p.m.