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Women’s Swimming Competes at NCAAs; Wyer, Relay Team Honored as All-American

By Emily Bustard

Four members of the Women’s Swimming & Diving team travelled to Greensboro, N.C. last week, March 16-20, to compete in the four-day NCAA Division III Championship meet.

The first Panther swimmer to leave the blocks on the morning of Wednesday, March 16, was sophomore Isabel Wyer ’18. Wyer sped through the 500 free prelims with a fourth-place, school record-breaking time of 4:52.65. Not only did she break her personal-best set last month at the NESCAC Championships by 1.91 seconds, but it shaved a full 6.22 seconds off the school record that Marika Ross ’07 had held since 2007. Wyer touched the wall fifth in the event finals to earn All-American Honors (4:53.36).

The next day, Morgan Burke ’17 joined Wyer in the 200 free competition. Burke’s 1:53.46 was good for a 30th-place finish out of the 44 swimmers who competed in the prelims, while Wyer lowered another personal and school record by just over half a second, with a fourth-place finish in the preliminary round (1:49.77).

“I’m most proud of my prelims swim of the 200 freestyle,” Wyer said. “When I was done, my coach told me that I almost gave him a heart attack because of the way I swam it. I was in last place at the half way mark but luckily was able to finish strong.”

But after catching the flu, Wyer had to  take a medical scratch in the event finals that afternoon. Her preliminary time would have qualified her for another individual All-American accolade and a spot on the podium in third place.

“I was only able to swim 3 races, but I am very happy with how they went!” Wyer explained. “Obviously, I wish I could have finished the meet but I still have two more years and I’m really looking forward to them. I am so proud of how my teammates swam. Getting sick was definitely a set back, but Morgan, Steph and Kristin all had great attitudes the entire meet and were so supportive of me. I am so lucky to have those girls as my teammates.”

Burke, Kristin Karpowicz ’19, Wyer and Stephanie Andrews ’18 also took to the water as a team that day in the 200 free relay, for 23rd place out of the 27 teams that qualified (1:36.82).

The team made a slight change in their relay order for the 800 free relay on Friday, March 19, as the lone first-year of the group, Karpowicz, was first off the block, followed by Andrews, Burke and Wyer. Their time of 7:35.57 garnered 15th place and an all-American honorable mention.

“I am most proud of the 800 free relay because this is arguably one of the toughest relays to compete in,” Karpowicz said. “Isabel managed to put the entire team in front of herself so we could not only finish this relay (and go a best time), but be able to continue until the final day of competition.”

Burke then finished 34th in the 51-swimmer field for the 100 free with a time of 52.12 on the last day of the meet (Saturday, March 20).

While Wyer’s illness prevented her from swimming as scheduled in Saturday’s individual 200 back competition, she was able to contribute to Middlebury’s 19th place finish (3:29.90) in the 400 free relay (Karpowicz, Wyer, Andrews and Burke).

The Panthers ended the meet ranked 34th out of the 55 Division III teams that qualified from across the nation.

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