SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - Wheaton College senior Nicole Zais (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) defended her 200-yard breaststroke title in the final day of the three-day New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship, leading the Lyon women's swimming & diving team to fourth place on Sunday at Mount Holyoke College.
Wheaton, which had placed third in the previous three league meets, held off Wellesley College by 19.5 points, as the Lyons finished with 359.5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) knocked off 10-time defending champion Springfield College with 917.5 points.
In the 200-yard breast race, Zais outdistanced an MIT swimmer by just 0.19 seconds in a thrilling finish. Zais, who posted an NCAA national meet provisional qualifying time of 2:22.96, will await word on whether she will compete at the national championship on March 23-26 at the University of Tennessee. Zais also matched senior teammate Dania Piscetta's (Belmont, N.H./Belmont) program-best 13th all-conference accolade.
Senior Stephany Perkins (Monmouth, Maine/Monmouth Academy) placed sixth in the 200-yard breast, as did she, Piscetta, Zais and sophomore Elle Van Cott (Delmar, N.Y./Bethlehem Central) in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Senior Sara Hollar (La Crescenta, Calif./Flintridge Prep) notched a seventh-place finish during the 200-yard butterfly, while sophomore Caroline Isaacs (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop) broke a school record in the 1,000-yard free during the 1,650-yard free event. Her 1,000 time of 10:55.37 was 0.26 seconds faster than her mark set a year ago.
Alongside Zais' NCAA B cut, Piscetta is in the mix for the 50-yard free event, as she recorded an NCAA provisional qualifying standard on Friday.