Women’s Swimming & Diving Takes Seventh at Nescacs


Emma Stapleton

The Kelly twins ’21 (far left and second right), Harper Baldwin ’19 (second left) and Maya Gomez ’20 (far right) pose after swimming a relay. The 200 free relay team of Francis VanderMeer ’20, Maya Gomez ’20, Erin Kelly ’21, and Stephanie Andrews ’18, managed to complete their heat in 1:34.75, which qualified them for an NCAA B-cut time.


Last week, Feb. 16–18, the women’s swimming and diving team headed to Williamstown, Massachusetts, to take part in the Nescac Championship in which they took seventh place. Williams Ephs took home the gold for the fifth year in a row. Two school records fell for Middlebury thanks to the efforts of Maya Gomez ’20 and Frances VanderMeer ’20.

Gomez started off the meet on a high note for the Panthers with her 50-breaststroke time of 29.14. The top finisher in this event at Nescacs in 2017, Gomez took home the top spot for the second consecutive year. This not only provided momentum for the Panthers, but also for Gomez, who broke the school’s 100-breast record the next day.

These record-breaking performances began with VanderMeer though, whose 23.51 time in the 50 free unseated the nine-year-old record, set in 2009, that belonged to Emily McDonald ’11. However, it is not as if no one saw this kind of effort coming from VanderMeer.

Throughout the year VanderMeer has acquired many first-place finishes and impressive performances. It almost seems as though the record was bound to fall to the swimmer. This time would hand VanderMeer second in the Nescac and NCAA B-cut mark along with the school record.

VanderMeer also completed a second NCAA B-cut performance on Sunday in the 100 free with a time of 51.70, where she placed second for the Panthers.

Gomez’s record-breaking performance in the 100 breaststroke on Saturday was also B-cut-worthy for NCAAs. With a time of 1:02.92, Gomez conquered the record of 1:03.07 set in 2013 by Jamie Hillas ’15. Her second-place finish in the championship race (1:03.89) earned Gomez All-Nescac honors.

Other NCAA B-cut performances came courtesy of the 200 free relay team, who put up a strong showing on Friday night. Comprised of VanderMeer, Gomez, Erin Kelly ’21, and Stephanie Andrews ’18, their B-cut time of 1:34.75 placed the relay in 5th place.

On the boards, Elissa DeNunzio ’18 also finished in 5th place with 426.30 points, good for another B-cut score in the 1-meter competition. On Sunday, DeNunzio competed in the 3-meter competition, where she placed 6th. After the meet, the Panther diver was awarded the Nescac’s Senior High-Point Diver, which no previous Panther diver has ever received.

The seventh-place finish by the Panthers, mixed with the record-breaking performances, proved a solid Nescac meet for Middlebury. Next weekend, Feb. 23–25, the men’s team will travel to Bowdoin’s pool in Brunswick, Maine, to compete in their half of Nescacs.