WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Bates College claimed fourth place at the 2014 NESCAC Women's Swimming & Diving Championships on Sunday, the Bobcats' best-ever conference finish in the 14-year history of the three-day meet.
Bates scored 1,132 points, eclipsing the team's previous high mark of 927 set in 2003. Host Williams ran away with the team title with 2,007 points, followed by defending champion Amherst (1,216.5), Middlebury (1,207), Bates (1,132) and Connecticut College (1,100.5) to round out the top five teams. The Bobcats had placed fifth at the meet for the past three years.
Bates finished the meet with a superb effort in the 400-yard freestyle relay, earning a close third place behind runner-up Connecticut College, 3:30.15 to 3:29.83. Senior Gabrielle Sergi (Newburyport, Mass.), first-year Sara Daher (Marblehead, Mass.), sophomore Lindsey Prelgovisk (Oakland, Maine) and sophomore Caroline Depew (Hudson, Ohio) broke the former record of 3:32.37 set in 2011 by Sergi, Geissinger, Kara Leasure and Charlotte Green, and they will earn All-NESCAC honors for the top-three finish.
Other highlights from Sunday's competition included:
- Daher placed fourth in the championship final of the 200-yard backstroke, completing the race in 2:03.32 after a prelim time of 2:03.36. Daher supplanted Katelyn Drake's team record in the event of 2:05.08, established in 2009.
- First-year Julia Smachlo (Rexford, N.Y.), who won the 1,000-yard freestyle conference title on Saturday, placed seventh in the 1,650 free with an NCAA B cut time of 17:26.70, trimming nearly 15 seconds off of the former team record of 17:41.25 set by Tara Dugan in 2011.
- First-year Emma Jarczyk (Sudbury, Mass.) placed sixth in the 3-meter diving event, scoring 407.15 points.
- Senior Emilie Geissinger (Darien, Conn.) took eighth place in the 100 free, making the championship final with a prelim time of 53.34 seconds, then finishing the final in 53.82. Sergi was first in the consolation final, ninth overall, in 52.93 seconds.
Over the meet's three days, Bates set at least 13 team event records and notched eight top-three (All-NESCAC) performances, including in two relays.
Bates hopes to be represented in the NCAA Division III Championships, to be held March 19-22 in Indianapolis, and has a plethora of national consideration times to aid in that goal. The NESCAC Men's Swimming & Diving Championships are up next weekend, Feb. 21-23, at Bowdoin.