Williams sets new SCIAC record while Athenas dominate in day three

Matthew Williams (Photo by Joe Bergman)
Matthew Williams (Photo by Joe Bergman)

COMMERCE, Calif. – In the third day of the SCIAC Championships for swim & dive, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps gained ground on both the men's and women's sides. The Athenas now have a commanding lead at 929 with the next closest opponent at 674. The Stags, led by senior Matthew Williams (CMC) earned crucial points in both championship and consolation finals to come within inches of Pomona-Pitzer. The Sagehens currently hold the 678-676 lead over the CMS men.

Again, the women's divers dominated the field in the 3-meter competition. All five CMS divers finished in the top-10, led by senior Carli Lessard (HMC) who placed third at 456.00.

Swimming began with the 400-yard individual medley. Redlands' Ellie Jaques, who had won the 200-yard individual medley yesterday, took the 400 IM on Thursday and set a new meet record in the process. Freshman Ivy Chen (HMC) touched second at 4:30.77 and leaped into the No. 2 spot in program history. On the men's side, freshman Henry Limm (HMC) was seeded third after the prelims and pulled it out in the final 75 yards of the freestyle to win the race in 3:59.39.

CMS took both the men's and women's 100-yard butterfly races with impressive performances by both senior Stephanie Doi (CMC) and Williams. Doi pulled away from Sabrina Kwan from Pomona-Pitzer in the final 25 yards to defend her 2016 championship in the event with a faster time at 56.47.

Williams' time of 48.66 in the 100 fly not only defended his 2016 SCIAC championship, but also set a new CMS, SCIAC and meet record.

Three Stags placed in the top-4 of the extremely competitive men's 200-yard freestyle. Freshman Ben Culberson (CMC) led the way with a second place finish and a 1:41.35. The Athenas did not make it on the podium for the 200 free, but still scored significant points with three swimmers in the championship final.

Freshman Claire Bacon-Brenes (SC) earned her first individual win in the championships with a remarkable swim in the women's 100-yard breaststroke. She went head-to-head with last year's champion and teammate senior Emily McKinnon (CMC). Bacon-Brenes won it at 1:03.51 for a new meet record as the Athenas swept the podium with freshman Bryn Edwards (CMC) and McKinnon rounding out the trio.

Third-seeded sophomore Tyler Welty (CMC) improved on his prelims time by almost a second in the 100 breast to place second in a very tight race. His swim of 56.59 places him at No. 4 in program history.

Again, CMS took first place in the 100-yard backstroke for both genders. First, freshman Jocelyn Crawford (CMC) earned her second individual – third overall – win with a dominating performance at 55.71. Then, Williams defended his SCIAC and national title, beating the next finisher by over a second. Williams led the entire race, ultimately touching at 48.69.

The Athenas were seeded first in both the "A" and "B" teams for the 400-yard medley relay, and both delivered. The Powerful quartet of Crawford, Bacon-Brenes, Doi and senior Kelly Ngo (CMC) out-paced their opponents and added 44 points to their growing team total. By the end of the night, the CMS women owned the 255 point lead over Pomona-Pitzer.

The day crescendoed to the final race of the night. The Stags were eight points behind the Sagehens prior to the race, but were seeded second in the men's 400 medley relay. After the first 100 yards, CMS and PP were within 0.01 seconds of each other. Welty improved upon his earlier individual 100 breast, posting a split of 56.19 to give the Stags a 0.20 advantage over the Sagehens. Then, Williams almost duplicated his earlier time in the 100 fly at 48.82 before senior Graham Spurzem (CMC) anchored the team for the victory at 3:20.75. Now, the Stags trail by just two points heading into Saturday.

The races on the final day of competition include the: 1650-yard freestyle, 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard butterfly, and the 400-yard freestyle relay. Prior to the swimming, the men's 1-meter diving championships at 1:30 p.m. will conclude the diving portion of the meet.

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By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director

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