Three more NCAA cuts met as Wheaton finishes third at NEWMACs
WELLESLEY, MA- Three NCAA Championship standards and two school records on the final day of competition helped the Wheaton College women's swimming & diving team take third place for the third consecutive year at the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship, as the three-day event finished up on Sunday in Wellesley College's Chandler Pool.
The Lyons ended with 566 points in matching the highest placement in program history, while Springfield College won its 10th straight crown with 839. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) took second at 694.
Junior Nicole Zais (Sudbury, MA/Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) provided a handful of Wheaton's highlights from the final day, becoming the second Lyon to ever win multiple individual events during the same NEWMAC Championship. After topping the 100-yard breaststroke field on Saturday, Zais captured the 200 breast on Sunday in an NCAA B cut time of 2:23.88, which was 3.98 seconds better than the runner up. The only Lyon to previously win more than one individual event had been Caitlin Bottomley '02, who nabbed three victories in 1999.
Junior Dania Piscetta (Belmont, NH/Belmont) capped a standout weekend with two more NCAA provisional times, finishing with cuts in five different events. Piscetta was third in the 100-yard freestyle in an NCAA B cut time of 53.18, just 0.13 ticks short of second place and 0.16 seconds shy of the winner. She also reached a national meet time at 58.50 during a 100-yard butterfly time trial, matching a feat she turned in on Saturday.
Sophomore Taryn Brosnan (Westford, MA/Academy of Notre Dame) notched an all-conference finish in the 200-yard butterfly, clocking in at 2:10.15 during a second-place showing to break her own school record. Freshman Caroline Isaacs (San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty) narrowly missed out on the 11-year-old 1,650-yard freestyle standard, the longest-standing mark in the program's record book, falling just 4.12 seconds short while touching the wall in 18:10.30 during an eighth-place showing. However, she did set a Wheaton record by swimming the opening 1,000 yards in 10:55.63.
Two more Lyons came close to setting school records, including senior Iris Meehan (Bar Harbor, ME/Mount Desert Island), whose time of 2:12.12 during a fourth-place showing in the 200-yard backstroke was 0.05 ticks off the standard. Sophomore Julia Wright (Pomfret, VT/Northfield Mount Hermon School) was 0.75 points shy of her own record in the three-meter, 11-dive event, totaling 379.90 while coming in eighth.
Junior Stephany Perkins (Monmouth, ME/Monmouth Academy) played a role in Wheaton's other two top-four finishes, including when she took third in the 200-yard breaststroke at 2:27.96, just 0.10 behind the runner up. During the 400-yard freestyle relay, Perkins, Piscetta and Zais joined freshman Elle Van Cott (Delmar, NY/Bethlehem Central) to place fourth in 3:38.08.
Wheaton's provisional qualifiers await word on whether they will compete at the NCAA Division III Championship, which will take place on March 17-20 at the University of Minnesota.