If, over the past week, you happened to notice your fellow classmates watching swimming instead of paying attention in class, it is not because class was boring. Rather, it’s because the Bates men’s and women’s swim teams were competing at the Division III nationals in Shenandoah, Texas. The swim team is a close knit crew that supports each other all the way from Lewiston to Texas. From the men’s and women’s teams, 12 swimmers competed at nationals. This is the most swimmers Bates has sent in program history.
The team stepped up to the plate from the very first day of competition. Sophomore Sara Daher finished 8th in the 200-yard individual medley, the team broke three event records, and the men’s 200-yard medley relay race team came in 14th place in their first-ever appearance in this type of race.
With the eighth place finish, Daher earned her fifth career All-American award while simultaneously breaking her previous fastest time in the 200-yard IM. The men’s relay team, consisting of freshmen Riley Ewing and Theodore Pender and seniors Andrew Briggs and Matt Gagne, set a new Bates record while becoming first-time All-Americans.
On the second day in Texas, Daher clinched three All-American finishes by anchoring the 200 freestyle relay team to 14th place, placing sixth in the 400 IM trials, and leading the 400 medley relay team to the ninth fastest trial time. The relay team consisted of juniors Whitney Paine, Lindsey Prelgovisk, Caroline Depew as well as Daher. Their ninth-place time was almost four seconds faster than their previous record time. The women also posted the 13th fastest time in the 200 free relay. Composed of Daher, two first-years—Logan McGill and Anabel Carter—and Paine, their time was good enough for another round of All-American awards.
On the third day of competition, the women posted the faster preliminary time for the 800 freestyle relay before claiming ninth place overall at the event, resulting in a third All-American relay team for the Bobcats. The team was composed of Depew, Daher, first-year Nell Houde, and sophomore Julia Smachlo. Daher earned her ninth career All-American award, giving her the most in Bates swimming and diving history. She is second among all Bates women athletes, trailing Keelin Godey ’06 (16).
After the final day of competition, the Bobcats left Texas with a grand total of 30 All-American honors. The eight-athlete women’s team finished with 91 points to place 11th out of 46 scoring teams. The four members of the men’s team scored 16 points to place 37th among 54 total teams. Daher left the competition an unreal 11-time All-American. As a team, Bates set seven more team records in the final day of competition alone. This shows the ability of the team to rise to the occasion and push themselves, a sentiment that was expressed by sophomore Dan Walpole.
“This year was such a great year for both our men and women’s teams,” said Walpole. “It was a really fun year and with such a large senior class as role models, we really competed at our best. The freshmen this year were also a great addition to the team as they’re all so fast, which really helps the team to grow.”
According to Walpole, “The results make the 6 A.M. year-round practices feel worth it.”