The Wellesley College Swimming and Diving team is off to a mixed start this season, sweeping its Nov. 4 meet against Franklin Pierce University before falling to Simmons College this Saturday for a 1-1 overall record.
The team began the season in captains practices as soon as school began and proceeded to tryouts in mid-September. Wellesley gained a good crop of new swimmers to help bolster the team’s success this season. The team is fairly young, with only one senior swimmer and one senior diver leading the team this season.
Newcomer Claire Whitaker ’19 joined the team this season after spending two years on Wellesley’s club water polo team. She came to tryouts in search of a more competitive athletic experience, one like her high school water polo team’s. So far, she is excited by the progress that the team has made thus far. “The whole team is very dedicated to both the sport and each other,” said Whitaker. “The upperclass members are welcoming and helpful towards the first years. As a whole, we are a group that is dedicated and enthusiastic about what we do, and that is what will drive us to have a successful season, in and out of the pool.”
This weekend, the swim team fell short with an 132-167 loss to the Simmons Sharks, who are 4-1 on the season, despite Jessie Feng ’19’s victories in the the 100 and 200 fly events, with times of 2:166.10 and 1:02.50 respectively. Several other Blue swimmers were also successful at the dual meet, which was held at Simmons College’s Holmes Sports Center. Emily Yeager ’21 earned first place in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:14.85 and took second place in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:03.98.
Additionally, Kayleigh Svensson ’20 captured second place in the 1000 freestyle with a 11:34.73 time and Danielle Peterson ’20 took second in the 100 freestyle in 1:10.87. Solveig Stensland ’21 swam to second place with a 26.06 50 freestyle and Sunny Chiang ’19 took second in the 200 IM with a 2:19.28.
Despite the loss, Swim and Dive remains committed to finding a positive outlook during the meets and encouraging each other along the way. They have used the motivation from their first meet, a landslide victory of 239-18 against Franklin Pierce University, to fuel their progress this season. The meet provided the team with a unique opportunity to test each other in competition as Franklin Pierce has just started their program and only raced with four swimmers at the meet.
Multiple Wellesley swimmers recorded victories in several events and the team won all 15 races. Danielle Peterson ’20 took first in the 200 free (2:03.22), the 100 breaststroke (1:10.51) and the 200 IM (2:18.01). In her team debut, Emily Yeager ’21 won the 50 backstroke in 30.24 and the 100 backstroke in 1:03.43. Teammate Jessie Feng ’19 captured first in the 100 fly in 1:01.78 and the 500 free in 5:34.17.
Diver Maura Sticco-Ivins ’18 also started the season strong, continuing her history of success. Sticco-Ivins was honored as the NEWMAC Women’s Diver of the Week for the week ending Nov. 12. This is the 18th time the senior has received the NEWMAC distinction. At the Simmons meet, she finished first in both the 1M and 3M dives, scoring 295.85 and 288.65 respectively. In the season opener, Sticco-Ivins ’18 dominated the 1- and 3-meter boards, recording scores of 286.60 and 265.20, respectively.
The senior is returning this season after earning the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) 2017 Women’s Diver of the Year award, as well as the NCAA diving title, earlier this year. The senior is a three-time NCAA Division III National Champion, a first in Wellesley College history.
This season the team welcomes new Assistant Swimming Coach and Assistant Aquatic Director Emily Altier, who spent the last year working in various positions within the NCAA’s Postgraduate Internship Program. Head Coach Bonnie Dix is returning for her 31st season with the Blue and Diving Coach Jack Lewis, who was last season’s CSCAA Division III National Diving Coach of the Year, is back for his second year with the team.
The team will next compete on Nov. 18 when they travel to Western Mass. to face off against the Mount Holyoke Lyons.