Stern's Two "A" Cuts Highlight Outstanding Night for Lord Jeff Teams

AMHERST, MA – Kendra Stern '11 (Albuquerque, NM) set a pool record in the 200-yard freestyle and recorded a pair of NCAA "A" times in her first meet of the season, as the Amherst College swimming and diving teams both earned wins over Wesleyan University Monday afternoon at Pratt Pool. The Lord Jeff women (2-0) won 11 of 13 events for a 136-98 result, while the Amherst men (2-0) swept all 13 for a final score of 122-79. 

Stern's time of 1:48.72 in the 200-yard freestyle bested her previous Pratt Pool record of 1:50.92 and was good enough for an "A" cut. That time would have been the second fastest at last year's NCAA Division III Championships, placing behind only her own national record of 1:45.31. Stern was only 0.29 seconds away from setting a pool record in the 500-yard freestyle, posting a time of 4:55.07 to finish well ahead of the NCAA "A" cut (5:00.03). Both of her performances left spectators smiling and speechless, as her final collegiate season is already turning heads. 

Also standing out for the Lord Jeffs was Allison Merz '14 (Los Angeles, CA), whose time of 58.79 in the 100-yard butterfly hit the NCAA "B" mark on the nose and left her nearly three seconds ahead of the runner-up. Fellow newcomer Abby Hahn '14 (New York, NY) won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:09.24. 

Amherst nearly swept the freestyle events, but the Cardinals picked up one of their wins in the 100. Katie Vincett '13 (Pittsburgh, PA) was the first to finish the 50-yard freestyle (25.09), while Becca Thompson '12 (Evanston, IL) had the best time in the 1,000 (10:45.03). Wesleyan's second victory came in the 400-yard freestyle relay, the final event of the evening. 

The Jeffs finished 1-2-3 in both the 100-yard backstroke and the 400-yard individual medley. Emily Swett '13 (Rochester, NY) won the backstroke event in 1:00.77 and was followed by teammates Maddy Sprung-Keyser '13 (Los Angeles, CA) and Louisa Zuo '11 (Palo Alto, CA). The 400 IM was won by Rebecca Kelley '12 (Richmond, VA), whose time of 4:42.79 was more than five seconds ahead of teammates Cassandra Farnow '13 (Chatham, NJ) and Anna Pietrantonio '14 (Chevy Chase, MD), who finished second and third, respectively.

Teaming up to win the 200-yard medley relay were Sprung-Keyser, Hahn, Stern and senior captain Brooke Bennett '11 (Arcadia, CA), who opened the meet with a 1:50.42. Accounting for Amherst's final two victories were Meggie Meisinger '11 (St. Louis, MO) and Lizzy Linsmayer '14 (Denver, CO), who were up against three divers from Wesleyan. Linsmayer edged out a narrow win on the 1-meter board (236.10-235.45), but Meisinger was the top diver in the 3-meter event (258.15-241.65). 

Amherst's men's divers were unchallenged, allowing first-years Colin White (Evanston, IL), Ian Stahl (Weston, FL) and Fadi Hamati (Amman, Jordan) to finish 1-2-3, respectively, on each board. Both of White's scores hit the NCAA "B" cut, as he won the 3-meter event with a 295.35 before posting a 284.85 in the 3-meter dive. 

Two of Amherst's top swimmers were Tim White '12 (Centerport, NY) and Connor Beaulieu '14 (Windsor, CT), who each won a pair of individual events. After finishing the 200-yard freestyle in 1:44.84, White dominated the 500 with a time of 4:41.71, nearly 10 seconds ahead of the runner-up. Beaulieu, meanwhile, bested teammate Ryan Lichtenfels '12 (McLean, VA) by one one-hundredth of a second in the 400 IM in the closest finish of the night, also winning the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:00.84. 

Completing the clean sweep in the freestyle events were Bryson Alef '14 (Santa Barbara, CA), Alex Fraser '11 (Willowbrook, IL) and Nick Egan '14 (Pleasant Hill, CA), who won the 50 (22.60), 100 (47.39) and 1,000 (10:05.48), respectively. Tyler Bulakul '14 (Bangkok, Thailand) continued to excel in the butterfly events, winning Monday's 100 by more than three seconds (52.24). Rounding out the top individual performers was senior co-captain Reid Fitzgerald (New York, NY), whose 54.03 in the 100-yard backstroke led Amherst to a 1-2-3 finish. 

The Lord Jeff men set a Pratt Pool record in the 200-yard medley relay just two days ago against Colby, but they fell just shy of duplicating that performance against Wesleyan. Joining Fitzgerald, Bulakul and Fraser was breaststroker Ben McBratney '12 (Evanston, IL), as the group finished the race in 1:35.79 to miss the pool record by 0.25 seconds. Closing out the evening were Fitzgerald, McBratney, White and Lichtenfels, who won the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:13.39). 

The Lord Jeffs will return to action Saturday, Dec. 4, when they head to Middlebury College for a dual meet with the Panthers.