Swim teams make history with men's 14th-place finish and women's 6th-place 400 free relay

From left to right, Janika Ho, Monica Sears, Logan McGill and Caroline Apathy stand on the podium with their trophies for winning All-America honors with their sixth-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay at the NCAA Division III Championships on March 24, 2018. (d3photography.com)

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Bates College men's and women's swim teams both made program history on the final day of the NCAA Division III Championships Saturday, with the best national finish ever for the men's team and a program-record sixth-place finish in the women's 400-yard freestyle relay.

The Bates men finished the meet with 48 points to claim 14th place out of 53 scoring teams, the best national finish in men's team history. The Bates women scored 76 points to finish 12th out of 51 teams, the Bobcat women's third straight top-13 finish and fifth straight top-17 finish.

Bates' women's 400 free relay team, comprising senior Logan McGill (Dallas, Texas), first-year Caroline Apathy (Devon, Pa.), sophomore Monica Sears (San Anselmo, Calif.) and sophomore Janika Ho (Los Angeles, Calif.) recorded the eighth-fastest trial time Saturday morning, at 3:26.88, to become Bates' first-ever relay team to swim in an NCAA championship final, beating out Wesleyan for the eight-team field by 0.37 seconds. In the championship final, Ho outswam Calvin's Abby VanHarn in the anchor leg to seize sixth place by 0.45 seconds with a time of 3:26.39, after another championship finalist, Johns Hopkins, was disqualified from the race.

A day after they became the Bates men's team's first-ever freestyle relay All-Americans in the 800 free relay, sophomore Tanner Fuller (Wellington, Fla.), senior Jonathan Depew (Hudson, Ohio), junior Alex Bedard (Amherst, N.H.) and senior Teddy Pender (Muscat, Oman) claimed 14th place in the 400 freestyle relay and broke two team records in the process.

The quartet finished their trial in a season-best 3:03.61, 15th-fastest out of 25 squads, to qualify for the consolation final. There they recorded a time of 3:03.07, sixth-fastest in the consolation final, going under the former team record of 3:03.25 established by Pender, Mike Connolly, then-sophomore Riley Ewing (Bedford, N.H.) and Jack Dina in 2016.

Pender and Fuller switched roles in the final, so Pender swam the leadoff leg and gave Bates the lead a quarter of the way through, as he broke his own team record for the 100-yard freestyle with a split time of 44.54 seconds, breaking the former record of 44.72 he established at NCAAs in 2017.

Ewing additionally swam the ninth-fastest time in morning trials of the 200-yard backstroke, at 1:48.46. In the consolation final, the final individual swim of his college career, Ewing finished in 1:47.96 (0.02 seconds shy of his own team record), to take second in the race and 10th place overall.

Pender also swam a season-best time and earned another Honorable Mention All-America honor in the 100-yard freestyle in his final collegiate individual race, finishing fourth in the consolation final and in 12th place overall with a time of 44.77 seconds. Pender had the 11th-fastest time in trials, at 44.83.

Bates competed in three other individual events on the day:

  • Bedard placed 24th in the 200-yard breaststroke, with a time of 2:04.78.
  • Sears placed 27th in the women's 1,650-yard freestyle, with a time of 17:40.93.
  • Apathy took 38th place in the 100-yard freestyle trials with a time of 52.61 seconds.

Pender claimed two Honorable All-America honors on the day, finishing with five in the meet and with 11 in his career, including three in individual events. The 11 All-Americas are the most by a male athlete in college history, surpassing 10-time All-America track and field star David Pless.

Ewing won his seventh career Honorable Mention All-America honor, his second in an individual event, and his third of the meet. Depew claimed his fifth career All-America honor and his third of the meet. Bedard won his fourth All-America honor in his first NCAA Championship meet, and Fuller won three in his NCAA debut.

On the women's side, McGill earned her 13th and final career All-America honor as part of the 400 freestyle relay team, with her first national top-eight finish. She will graduate with the second-most All-America honors in team history and the third most in Bates athletics history.

Apathy won her fifth All-America honor of her debut NCAA Championship meet; Ho won her fifth of the meet and the eighth in her young career; and Sears won her second of the meet and the fifth of her career.