Amherst Teams Place Top 10 at Nationals; Stern Grabs Top Honor

KNOXVILLE, TN – The Amherst College swimming and diving teams each placed in the top 10 at the NCAA Division III Championships, which concluded Saturday night at the University of Tennessee. Kendra Stern '11 (Albuquerque, NM) highlighted the final day of competition for Amherst by winning a national title in the 100-yard freestyle for the fourth time, as she was named National Swimmer of the Year. 

Amherst's men earned 198 points to finish sixth, marking the fourth consecutive year the Lord Jeffs have cracked the top 10. The Amherst women totaled 121 points to place ninth and finish in the top 10 for a ninth consecutive year. Denison (500.5) won the men's title by a single point to snap Kenyon's 31-year streak of taking home the team championship. Emory was crowned the women's champion with 614 points. 

Stern is the first Lord Jeff to earn Swimmer of the Year honors since Brittany Sasser '08, who won 13 national titles (8 individual, 5 relay) in her four years at Amherst. Stern's win in Saturday's 100-yard freestyle was the 10th individual national title of her career and the 13th overall. She won the 100 as a first-year (49.78), sophomore (49.37) and junior (48.98), and her fourth would come in a time of 49.50 seconds. In her four years Stern never lost a 100- or 200-yard freestyle race at any meet.

Also wrapping up an outstanding career on Saturday was Alex Fraser '11 (Willowbrook, IL), who placed 11th in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 45.08. He would also anchor the 400-yard freestyle relay, joining Ryan Lichtenfels '12 (McLean, VA), Ben McBratney '12 (Evanston, IL) and Reid Fitzgerald '11 (New York, NY) to finish 12th (3:04.27).

Fitzgerald closed out an impressive weekend by setting a team record in the 200-yard backstroke. Tim White '12 (Centerport, NY) held the previous record of 1:50.16, but Fitzgerald finished Saturday's race in 1:49.67 to place 12th for five points. His best time of the day would come in the preliminary heat, though, as the new school record will stand at 1:49.55. 

Lichtenfels was defending his title in the 1,650-yard freestyle, but he would settle for fifth place on Saturday (15:38.09). He completed the marathon race in 15:23.15 as a first-year and 15:23.80 a year ago, but it was Denison first-year Allen Weik who crushed the competition with a national-record time of 15:06.47. Conor McAuliffe '14 (Andover, MA) was close behind Lichtenfels in eighth, as the first-year earned 11 team points by finishing the race in 15:42.18. 

The women's 1,650-yard freestyle saw Becca Thompson '12 (Evanston, IL) fall just short of her team-record time of 17:22.80, as she completed the race in 17:23.11 to take the final scoring spot. Emily Swett '13 (Rochester, NY) concluded her season by placing 14th in the 200-yard backstroke (2:02.74), while Colin White '14 (Evanston, IL) scored 441.55 points in the 3-meter dive for 12th place, putting the finishing touch on what was an outstanding first season at Amherst. 

Kendra Stern (100-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle)
Ryan Lichtenfels (500-yard freestyle)

(Only Listed if Top 16)

100-Yard Freestyle
Kendra Stern – 1st, 20 Points (49.50)

200-Yard Backstroke
Emily Swett – 14th, 3 Points (2:02.74)

1,650-Yard Freestyle
Becca Thompson – 16th, 1 Point (17:23.11)

(Only Listed if Top 16)

100-Yard Freestyle
Alex Fraser – 11th, 6 Points (45.08)

200-Yard Backstroke
Reid Fitzgerald – 12th, 5 Points (1:49.67)

1,650-Yard Freestyle
Ryan Lichtenfels – 5th, 14 Points (15:38.09)
Conor McAuliffe – 8th, 11 Points (15:42.18)

400-Yard Freestyle Relay
Ryan Lichtenfels, Ben McBratney, Reid Fitzgerald, Alex Fraser – 12th, 10 Points (3:04.27)

3-Meter Diving
Colin White – 12th, 5 Points (441.55)