The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed against Wesleyan University and Trinity College in their first meet of the year on Nov. 17 at Wesleyan. Bates came out on top against both teams, starting the season on a strong note against two NESCAC teams. Bates will compete against two more NESCAC teams for the Maine state title on Nov. 30, 6:30 p.m. at Bowdoin College.
The men’s swimming and diving team beat both Wesleyan and Trinity by significant margins, finishing the meet with scores of 235-61 and 218-73 respectively. Bates dominated both teams from the start, winning the first six events without exception. This competitive edge, combined with Bates’s impressive depth, led to their overwhelming success.
In the first race of the meet, Bates’s 200-yard medley team, comprised of Daniel Waterland ‘22, Alex Bedard ‘19, Matt Puckace ‘19 and Rory Collins ‘19, placed first with a time of 1:38.03, 0.03 seconds off Trinity’s second place team. Alexander Ignatov ‘20 continued to add to Bates’s success with a second first-place finish in the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:17.82. First-year Kyle Jorgensen ‘22 won the 200 yard freestyle for Bates in a time of 1:48.84.
Bates continued to further their lead with an abundance of first-place finishes: Bedard in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke (58.82;2:15.51), Puckace in the 200-yard butterfly (2:03.33), Christopher Draper ‘22 in the 100-yard freestyle (48.23), Waterland ‘22 in the 200-yard backstroke (1:59.20), Ignatov in the 500-yard freestyle (4:54.49), Andrew Hall ‘22 in the 100-yard butterfly (53.46), Pieter Cory ‘22 in the 200-yard individual medley (IM) (2:01.33), and finally in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a team composed of Collins, Draper, Hall and Bedard (1:28.35).
First-years Ossie Heard ‘22 and Sam Poulos ‘22 made up the diving portion of the team, placing second (162.20) and third (139.95) in the 3-meter dive and third (155.10) and fourth (132.25) in the 1-meter dive respectively.
Out of the 16 competitive events at this meet, a Bobcat placed first in 13 of them, six individually by first-years and both relays with a first-year leg, showing the strength of Bates’s new recruits. In addition to the surplus of first place finishes, many Bates swimmers bolstered the scoring with second and third place finishes.
“We have a larger team than we have in multiple years,” Bedard said. “Everyone has the potential to score points and place high whenever they get in the water. It is really exciting to have a team with this much talent.”
Similarly, the women’s team also scored two wins, however their victory over Wesleyan was earned by a much narrower margin and was more heavily dependent on the second and third place finishers. Coming down to the final event of the meet, the Bobcats secured their win against Wesleyan in the 200-yard freestyle relay, where Bates earned a first place finish by 0.28 seconds over the Wesleyan team. The meet ended with two Bates victories of 154-139 against Wesleyan and 193-94 against Trinity.
“I knew it would be close—what I didn’t know was how good the team would be with their back against the wall,” Head Coach Peter Casares said. “Each and every [race] mattered, and it was fun to see them swim their best when they needed to.”
Leading Bates to the win were first-place finishes in the 200 and 500-yard freestyle by Maya Reynoso-Williams ‘22 (1:58.67;5:22.17), 200-yard butterfly by Saskia Wong-smith ‘22 (2:17.00), 200-yard backstroke by Caroline Sweeney ‘22 (2:11.01), 100-yard butterfly by Caroline Apathy ‘21 (59.60) and finally by the 200-yard relay team composed of Suzy Ryckman ‘22, Reynoso-Williams, Sweeney and Apathy. Notably, five of the six individual events won by Bates were earned by first-year swimmers and the meet winning relay was driven by three first-year legs, showing once more the strength of Bates’s new recruits on both teams.
“I think we knew that this year especially for the women’s team that this would be a tougher meet and we were excited and up for the challenge,” team captain Catherine Mullen ‘19 said. “We graduated two key seniors last year and have some key returners abroad and injured so we knew a lot of people would have to step up in order to bring two NESCAC wins back to Bates.”
Unlike the men’s team where first-place finishes were in abundance, the women’s team had to make every race and every placement count throughout the meet in order to secure the win. The team must also work to make up potential points lost in the two diving events as Bates does not currently have any divers.
“I think one of our biggest strengths this year is numbers,” team captain Lucy Faust ‘19 said. “Ever since I’ve been on the team, we’ve had a roster with either exactly 24 or less. To have 28 women with the potential to score at NESCACs means that we have flexibility with injuries and other circumstances to be a strong team to swim against.”