MIDDLETOWN, Kon. – By the narrowest margins – 0.46 seconds to be exact, the Wesleyan women’s swimming and diving team managed to hit the line just ahead of the Bantams in the final leg of the day, with just enough points to beat Trinity, 154 -146 , in a Wednesday afternoon thriller from the Wesleyan Natatorium. Wesleyan (5-5) has so far improved to 5-0 in 2022, marking the team’s longest streak since the 2016-17 season. After seeing four consecutive matches canceled due to COVID, Trinity (2-2) was back in the pool for the first time since December 4.
In the biggest race of the day, the winner of the double meet came down to the 200 free relay as the Cardinals’ top team. Megan Bauerle ’24, Sarah Schou ’23, Izzy Pennington ’24 and Mixmix Gibbs ’22 needed a strong performance to secure victory for Wesleyan. After the first stage down, Wesleyan formed a significant group in the second stage and led by more than a second into the final sprint. As the Bantam group closed in, Gibbs managed to get just 0.46 seconds ahead of Trinity’s team in 1:40.38 to send the Cardinals home with the win.
Help put in some solid effort leading up to the decisive relay, Olivia Stevenson ’25 caused a stir in the distance events when she won both the 500 and 1000 free to set the tone early on. She started with a 10:59.03 in the 1000 free to take first place by over four seconds faster than second Julianna Rieker (Trinity). Later in the day, Stevenson defeated a group of six competitors in the 500 free, with a time of 5:24.69.
It was another cardinal freshman, Ainsley Dodson ’25, who had a flair for the dramatic on the day when she was locked in a battle against Addison Dunham and Re Umholtz during the 200’s free time. Right up to the final corner where Dodson gained ground on both Dunham and Umholtz, passing them each and touching just 0.01 seconds ahead of Dunham to take first place in the event.
Gibbs followed with another narrow win, this time in the 100 chest as the senior defeated Marissa Lopez-Ona (Trinity) with a strong finish, overcoming a deficit in the last corner until she hit the wall at 1:09.28, just ahead of of Lopez-Ona who clocked in at 1:09:42.
Backing up the Cardinals was a series of the two diving events as Zoe Paglia 23 took first place just ahead of her two teammates Lanckton waist ’22 and Carolina Crosby ’25 as Wesleyan first, second and third in the 1 meter. Paglia took first place with a score of 204.66, while Lanckton was second with a score of 200.25 and Crosby was right behind him with 198.90 to finish third.
In the 3 meters it was Lanckton who dominated with a score of 196.12 as the senior finished first. Crosby finished second with a 166.57 to complete Wesleyan dominance in the diving events.
Wesleyan heads out for a big game on Saturday, January 22, when the Cardinals face Colby in Waterville, Maine, the site of the 2022 NESCAC Championships. The game kicks off at noon.