In 2022, Tufts won their first-ever NESCAC Women’s Swimming and Diving title, which ended Williams’ streak of seven consecutive titles. Tufts capped off their best-ever season in 2021–22 by winning their first-ever NCAA titles in women’s swimming — won by Claire Brennan taking first in the 200-yard freestyle and by a team of Mary Hufziger (LA’22), Abby Claus (EG’22) and current seniors Brennan and Katelin Isakoff in the 800-yard freestyle relay. However, a question remained: Was 2021–22 a small bump in the road for Williams, or was Tufts an emerging superpower that toppled a NESCAC dynasty?
At the 2023 NESCAC Championship Meet last weekend, Tufts answered this question with authority. Whereas Tufts only beat Williams in the 2022 NESCAC Championship by a 50.5-point margin, they defeated runners-up Williams in the 2023 meet by a score of 1,984.5 to 1,614.5 — a margin of 370 points. Tufts’ final tally of 1,984.5 points marked the fourth highest in NESCAC Championship Meet history in what was a thoroughly dominant display from start to finish. Along the way, Tufts’ proven winners continued to dominate while their first-year swimmers set numerous records.
On day one, two of the reigning national champions in the 800-yard freestyle relay, Brennan (1:48.31) and Isakoff (1:50.51), teamed up with Klinginsmith (1:49.41) and senior Chloe Deveney (1:51.95) to capture the event with a total time of 7:20.18.
On day two, Ulmer (23.63), junior Jillian Cudney (23.53), Klinginsmith (22.95) and Morse (22.76) teamed up to win the 200-yard freestyle relay with a total time of 1:32.87, which was the second fastest in team history. Wheeler placed third in the 50-yard breaststroke with a time of 29.07 seconds, setting a new team record in the process. Dunn (4:52.59) and Brennan (4:52.74) finished first and second in the 500-yard freestyle while clocking the fastest and second-fastest times in the event in team history, respectively. Klinginsmith finished second in the 200-yard individual medley while setting a new team record with a time of 2:00.95. Ulmer won the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.38 seconds. In 1-meter diving, senior Sydney Ho placed fourth with 27 points.
On day three, Dunn won the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:00.90, which broke the team record, Bowdoin pool record and NESCAC Championship Meet record.
“I think in the [1,000-yard freestyle], I just swam my own race and wasn’t focused on anyone else in the heat and I think that helped me stay in my own head and not get distracted by little things,” Dunn said.
Klinginsmith broke the team record and pool record in the 100-yard fly with a winning time of 53.56 seconds. Brennan won the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:49.15. Klinginsmith (26.19), first-year Quinci Wheeler (28.86), first-year Jade Foltenyi (24.84) and Ulmer (22.82) earned third place in the 200-yard medley relay with a total time of 1:42.71, which set a new team record. Klinginsmith’s backstroke split of 26.19 seconds to lead off the relay also set a new team record.
“I think I did a lot better pacing myself and not going out too fast because I kind of tend to go out too fast,” Brennan said. “But I knew that the girl next to me has a really strong back half, so I just tried to make sure that I had enough energy on the last 50 to make sure that I could stay ahead of her.”
On day four, first-year Madeleine Dunn set a new Tufts team record in the 1,650-yard freestyle with a winning time of 16:51.90. First-year Lily Klinginsmith shattered the 50-second barrier and the team record in the 100-yard freestyle with a winning time of 49.92 seconds. In the final event of the meet, senior Elle Morse (51.11), Isakoff (50.74), senior Katelin Ulmer (51.71) and Klinginsmith (49.12) took first place in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a total time of 3:22.68.
Members of the Tufts women’s swimming and diving program will compete in the February Invitational at Wesleyan on Sunday, Feb. 19 before preparing to compete in NCAA Diving Regionals at NYU on Feb. 24–25 and NCAA Championships in Greensboro, N.C. on March 15–18.
“I want to have as much fun as possible and also score as many points for Tufts as possible,” Dunn said. “We want to place high as a team at NCAAs, so I want to make sure that I can help contribute.”
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Mary Hufziger as the NCAA 200-yard freestyle titleholder in 2022. Claire Brennan won this event.