Swimming Leaves Union in Dust


Swimming and diving conquered Union in the natatorium last Saturday — the women’s side by a score of 205–74 and the men’s side 198–75. Each side’s meet had 15 events and both won 12 of the 15.

Frances VanderMeer ’20 continued her impressive win streak with another two victories in the pool. She flew past her competition in the 100 butterfly (58.83) and 50 freestyle (24.64). The fierce competitor also chipped in for the 200 free relay, along with Audrey Kelly ’21, Erin Kelly ’21 and Stephanie Andrews ’18, winning the competition with a time of 1:41.09. The relay’s nearest competitor came in 7.48 seconds behind the Panther’s top squad.

Alongside VanderMeer, Elissa DeNunzio ’18 again had success on the boards, contributing two winning efforts with victories in both the 1- (263.93) and 3-meter (274.95) events.

Other first-place finishes included Sarah McEachern ’21 in the 100 backstroke (1:02.15) and 500 freestyle (5:19.89), Erin Kelly in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.16), Kristin Karpowicz ’19 in the 200 free (1:59.93), Stephanie Andrews ’18 in the 100 free (55.50) and Jessica Lipton ’20 in the 200 fly (2:16.11).

The men’s side saw the same success against Union.

Morgan Matsuda ’19 and Stefan Pla ’18 each won two individual events. Matsuda touched the wall in the 400 individual medley in 4:21.26 as well as the 200 freestyle in 1:47.80. Pla claimed first in the 200 breaststroke (2:14.23) and 100 breaststroke (1:00.55). Pla also contributed a leg in the victorious 400 medley relay (3:36.83), consisting of Pla, Brendan Leech ’19, Keegan Pando ’21 and Nick Handali ’20.

Along with the 400 medley relay, the 200 free relay team of Cory Jalbert ’21, Leech ’19, Keegan Pando ’21 and Connor McCormick ’18, closed out the day for the Panthers on a high note, finishing first with a time of 1:29.55.

Other individual victories were attained in the lanes and on the boards. Mike Chirico ’20 won the 3-meter diving event with 358.43 points. Five other Panthers claimed gold in their respective swimming events: Kevin Santoro ’21 in the 200 backstroke (1:59.52), Leech in the 50 free (22.43), Jalbert in the 100 free (49.61), Handali in the 100 butterfly (53.78) and Andrew Buchser ’18 in the 500 free (4:58.78).

“My main goals moving forward are to stay healthy and in good condition,” Buchser said. “I started this season unable to swim with a back injury, but with help from sports medicine I’ve managed the pain. The bulk of our training is done, so now we just have to stay in shape until we start taper.”

The Panthers head to Williamstown on Saturday looking to improve their conference record, but Buchser points out Middlebury’s results so far may be misleading.

“Teams take opportunities throughout the season to rest for meets,” Buchser said. “We train through all of our meets to maximize our potential by the time Nescacs come around. It’s hard to know how I’m really doing until I’m rested in February. I’m ahead of where I’ve been at this time in past seasons, so it should all be good news moving forward.”

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