Tufts finishes dual-meet season with win against Wheaton

The women’s swimming and diving team triumphed at Wheaton College last weekend. Caroline Ambros / The Tufts Daily

The women’s swimming and diving team closed out the dual-meet phase of its season with a win last Saturday, topping Wheaton College 158-138. Tufts came on strong after its midseason training trip to Puerto Rico, winning two of its last three meets to finish the year at 2-4.

“We had a great meet at Wheaton last weekend,” sophomore Sarah Elghor said. “I would say that our team’s energy and positive attitude definitely helped us win, and that we were able to score 1-2-3 in multiple events. Our team is much stronger than last year, and since we are not rested yet, the fact that we had so many season-best times was a sign that our hard work [during] training trip is finally paying off.”

First-year Anna Kimura paced the Jumbos, earning three of their eight individual victories. Kimura won the 100 butterfly in 1:00.58, the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.00 and the 200 individual medley (IM) with a 2:14.66 time. Tufts also had swimmers place second and third in the latter two events. Senior tri-captain Kathryn Coniglio and junior Sarah Mahoney also had impressive days with two wins apiece. Mahoney notched the first Jumbo victory with a first-place finish in the mile freestyle, which she won by almost 15 seconds, and then went on to win the 500 free as well.

“Sarah Mahoney really stepped up and swam the 500 after she swam the mile,” coach Nancy Bigelow said of the difficult accomplishment of taking both events.

Coniglio also doubled, taking the 200 free with more than four seconds to spare and winning the 100 free. The eighth Tufts win came from Elghor, who won the 50 breaststroke in 28.08 seconds. The Jumbos probably would have fared even better had sophomore diver Kylie Reiman not gotten injured on the eve of the meet, as Reiman was favored to win both diving events. Fortunately for Tufts, the swimmers had enough success to beat Wheaton despite her absence.

Coniglio was proud of the way her teammates battled to a hard-fought victory, coming up big when it mattered most.

“It was an incredibly close meet, right up until the end, but we came together as a group and rose to the challenge,” she said. “Scarlett Hao, Anna Kimura and Amanda Gottschalk really came in clutch with their 1-2-3 finish in the 200 IM at the end of the meet. It was a thrilling race to watch, as everyone was behind their lanes cheering. Before every meet, coach Nancy [Bigelow] reminds us that we each need to rise to the challenge and not assume that a teammate is going to do our part for us. That’s exactly what we did on Saturday, and it was a really satisfying way to end the dual-meet season.”

Tufts kicks off the championship-meet phase of its season at this weekend’s Middlebury Invitational. For 11 Jumbos, this event will be their last meet of the season and thus their championship meet. Needless to say, they’ll all be looking to end their seasons on a high note this Friday and Saturday.

“The [Middlebury Invitational] focuses on our kids who will not be going to the NESCAC Championships,” Bigelow said. “This is their big meet of the season and I hope to see all of them swim their best times and for the divers to get their highest point totals.”

Many Jumbos see the meet as the culmination of a season of hard work.

“We look forward to a lot of fast swims next week,” Mahoney added. “For about half of our team, the Midd Invite is their final meet, so we hope to see some personal records. Coming off one of our best training trips, I think everyone is excited to see all their hard work pay off. Middlebury is a great rival, and we love the chance to race our competition before the championship meet.”