Relay Teams Lead Amherst on Day Three of Nationals

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Amherst College was led by a pair of top-10 finishes in the 800-yard freestyle relay races on day three of the NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Championships. The four-day championship event hosted by Macalester College at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center concludes on Saturday. 

The Lord Jeff men jumped another two spots in the team standings to finish the third day with 117 points, leaving them 88 behind fourth-place Saint Olaf College. On the women's side, Amherst dropped one spot to sixth place with 149.5 points, only 1.5 behind fifth-place Calvin College.

The Amherst women's 800 relay team of sophomore Kendra Stern (Albuquerque, NM) and seniors Meaghan Stern (Albuquerque, NM), Alex Lee (Piedmont, CA) and Kara MacLaverty (Kenilworth, IL) set a new NESCAC record but came up just short of a national title. The previous national record that was set by Amherst at last year's NCAA Championships (7:22.78) was bested Friday evening by Emory, which swam a 7:21.05 to win the event with the Lord Jeffs close behind at 7:22.55 in second place. Kendra Stern swam an unbelievable 1:46.61 in the final leg to nearly pull off the comeback for the Jeffs.

Amherst's individual performers on the women's side included senior Sabrina Dorman (Chevy Chase, MD), junior Kendall Dacey (West Roxbury, MA) and first-year Rebecca Kelley (Richmond, VA). Dorman wrapped up her weekend—and her diving career—by placing 12th in the 1-meter dive with a score of 377.95. Dorman had placed 15th in Wednesday's 3-meter dive with a 389.80. Dacey swam a 2:07.81 to finish 22nd in the 200-yard butterfly, while Kelley put in a time of 1:08.36 in the 100-yard breaststroke. 

The Amherst men were led by a sixth-place finish in the 800-yard freestyle relay, as senior Christian Witzke (Jacksonville, FL), first-years Tim White (Centerport, NY) and Ryan Lichtenfels (McLean, VA), and sophomore Alex Fraser (Willowbrook, IL) put in a solid time of 6:39.39. The Lord Jeff relay team could not compete with Denison's national record-setting pace that resulted in an impressive 6:32.91.

Amherst's performance in the 800 relay bested the previous NESCAC record by three seconds, which had been set by the Lord Jeffs at the 2009 conference championships. 

First-years Bart Federak (Towaco, NJ), Ben McBratney (Evanston, IL) and Mike O'Connor (Cold Spring Harbor, NY) finished within one second of each other in the 100-yard breaststroke, with Federak leading his teammates by placing 22nd (57.17). Sophomore Reid Fitzgerald (New York, NY) rounded out Amherst's day three participants by swimming a 52.80 in the 100-yard backstroke.

Amherst College Day Three Women's Results
200-yard butterfly
Kendall Dacey – 22nd (2:07.81)

100-yard breaststroke
Rebecca Kelley – 36th (1:08.36)

800-yard freestyle relay
Meaghan Stern, Alex Lee, Kara MacLaverty, Kendra Stern – 2nd (7:22.55)

1-meter diving
Sabrina Dorman – 12th (377.95)

Amherst College Day Three Men's Results
100-yard backstroke
Reid Fitzgerald – 35th (52.80)

100-yard breaststroke
Bart Federak – 22nd (57.17)
Ben McBratney – 23rd (57.20)
Mike O'Connor – 34th (58.12)

800-yard freestyle relay
Christian Witzke, Tim White, Ryan Lichtenfels, Alex Fraser – 6th (6:39.39)