GETTYSBURG, Pa. – The Ursinus College women's swimming team's quest for a sixth consecutive Centennial Conference crown is off to a dramatic start.
The Bears set a meet record and eked out a neck-and-neck race to win gold in the other relay and conclude the first session of the conference championship with the slimmest of leads. Ursinus netted 104 points on the night, good for a two-point edge over Swarthmore with Gettysburg (94) lurking in third.
Sophomore Sophie May was part of both the first-place 200 medley and 800 free relay squads, and the Bears needed every ounce of her remarkable talent to escape with a victory in the latter. Looking out of it with 200 meters to go, May made up the ground with a staggering split time of 1:52.13, easily the fastest of the night. She took the lead just a bit into the final 50 yards and never let it go as Ursinus held off Swarthmore by a little over a second with a time of 7:39.74.
Senior Peyten Lyons, senior Clara Baker, and May had already established the conference record for the championship meet in the 200 medley relay with a 1:45.03 a year ago. This time, they blew it out of the water. Joined by freshman sensation Sophie Lear, the quartet blazed its way to a 1:43.99, well ahead of Gettysburg (1:46.42) in second and enough to move them up 13 spots to 17th in Division III. The Bears have now won the 200 medley relay at the last four conference championships.
The 800 free relay was far more drama-filled. Sophomore Katherine Kurzinsky, freshman Katie Schultz, and senior Caroline Powell swam the first three legs of an incredibly tight race with the Garnet; Swathmore held a slim lead with 50 yards to go, but May turned on the jets and lifted Ursinus to its seventh straight gold medal in the event.
The CC championships resume Friday at 10 a.m. with prelims in selected events.