Bates’ men’s and women’s swim and dive teams continued their near perfect 2016-2017 season last weekend, effectively dispatching their in-state rivals, Bowdoin and Colby, in two separate dual meets, and claimed the CBB championship for the third year in a row. The men’s team has been perfect this season, winning all six of their dual meets, and finishing first in the Maine State Meet back in December. The lone blemish on the women’s record came two weekends ago at Middlebury where they lost by a score of 160-140.
On Friday, here at Bates’ own Tarbell Pool, the women narrowly defeated Bowdoin by a score of 154-145, while the men’s team won handily by 38 points, 163-125. In Bates’ lone home meet of the season, newcomer to the team Monica Sears ‘20 did not disappoint. Sears glided her way to a new pool record in the 1,000-yard freestyle, completing the marathon event in 10:36.31. She finished just one tenth of a second ahead of the previous record time, much to the delight of her teammates and a formidable home crowd. Riley Ewing ‘18 starred for the men, winning both the 50-yard and 100-yard backstroke events. For the Bobcats, this marked their third consecutive dual-meet victory over the Polar Bears. This meet was Bowdoin’s first official dual meet of the season.
After a quick turnaround, both teams made the trek up I-95 to Waterville on Saturday to cap off their doubleheader weekend against the Mules. Colby was outmatched by both teams, as the Bates men and women won convincingly 163-125 and 182.5-93.5, respectively. Each teams’ sound effort gave Bates their 7th consecutive dual-meet victory over Colby. Ewing starred in the backstroke again, winning the 100 and 200 yard races, while All-American Sara Daher ‘17 took care of business in the 100 butterfly. The impressive CBB sweep for both the men and women is particularly impressive on the men’s side, considering they are not fielding any divers on their roster this season, and have to compensate for lost points each meet.
Despite this setback, in backstroker Ewing’s view it was the team’s depth that keyed them to victory in both meets this weekend. “There were a lot of events this past weekend where we were scoring three men in the top four spots. As important as it was to win events, we needed the second, third and fourth finishes in order to gain back points lost on diving,” he commented. “That’s where I was truly impressed with the team collectively. Our distance swimmers are faster than ever, the number of sprint freestylers we have is ridiculous and our strokers are always solid.”
Back to back meets like these are also crucial preparation for the upcoming NESCAC and NCAA meets. “Our focus of the season is always on championship meets, which includes NESCAC’s and NCAA’s,” said Daher. “These were not only great confidence boosters for the program, but also important training exercises. Having back-to-back meets the past two weekends allows us to physically get a feel for a three-day conference championship meet at the end of the season.”
Both teams are approaching a well deserved weekend off, before diving back into the pool at the WPI Invitational in Worcester, MA on January 29, their final meet before NESCAC championships. With their impressive performances so far this season, both teams are poised for historic showings at the upcoming conference meet in February. The men should have no problem finishing above fifth in the conference for the first time in program history, while the women are set for a battle with Middlebury for the conference crown. Remarked Ewing, “The best thing we can do going into this last phase of the season is to keep spirits high and to keep cheering for each other. We identify as a wolf pack, and we are ready to hunt.”