Bates swimming and diving is officially the best team in the CBB, after sweeping their dual meet with Bowdoin and Colby this weekend. The women won 147-93 over Bowdoin and 207-74 over Colby, while the men managed a dramatic 121-120 victory over the Polar Bears and a 199-93 against the Mules.
The Bates men kept their undefeated record intact by beating Bowdoin on Friday night, but it was far from comfortable. Heading into the final event of the meet, the 200-yard freestyle relay, the Bobcats were trailing by eight points. In order to win the meet, Bates needed one of their three competing relay teams to finish in third, while another of the teams had to win the race. Incredibly, Bates pulled it out. The team of senior Ben Sommer, sophomore Teddy Pender, and juniors Jack Dina and Michael Connolly came in first in 1:27.28, and the Bates “B” team of senior Hikaru Asao, junior Joshua Rines, and first-years Matthew Puckace and Morgan Lewis finished third with a time of 1:29.64, nearly three seconds faster than Bowdoin’s “B” squad. In the individual events, standouts included Puckace, who won the 200-yard butterfly, Pender, who triumphed in the 100-yard freestyle, and sophomore Riley Ewing, who prevailed in both the 200-yard backstroke and 200-yard IM. Reflecting on all the drama, veteran head coach Peter Cesares commented, “A meet like this happens once every decade, if you’re lucky.”
Saturday was considerably less tense for the Bobcats against an outmatched Colby. Among the many winners for the men were junior Mike Connolly in the 100-yard freestyle, Pender in the 50-yard freestyle and 200-yard IM, and sophomore Sam Clough in the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events. After their dominant performance, the men remain undefeated, having won the Maine State Meet and beaten Wesleyan, Trinity, Middlebury, Bowdoin, and Colby. Their next challenge will be on January 30 against Connecticut College.
The women’s weekend was much less stressful than the men’s, and full of successes. Against Bowdoin, 11-time All-American Sara Daher ’17 won both the 200-yard backstroke and 200-yard IM, while sophomore Nell Houde was victorious in a pair of long-distance races, the 500-yard freestyle and 1,000-yard freestyle. Seniors Lindsey Prelgovisk (100-yard freestyle) and Melissa Paione (200-yard breastroke) also recorded impressive wins, along with sophomore Logan McGill (50-yard freestyle) and diver Evan Jarczyk ’17.
Bates’ senior swimmers starred against Colby, as Paione, Prelgovisk, Whitney Paine, and Caroline Depew combined to win the 200-yard medley relay in the first race of the meet. Those four swimmers all won individual events as well; Paione prevailed in the 50-yard breastroke and 100-yard breastroke, Paine finished first in the 50-yard backstroke, Depew was victorious in the 500-yard freestyle, and Prelgovisk dominated across three events, the 50-yard butterfly, 100-yard butterfly, and 200-yard IM.
After claiming the CBB titles, the Bates men and women appear on track to improve upon their incredible 2014-15 campaign. With their unblemished records, Maine State Crown, and newly earned CBB championship, this season is already a massive success.