CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - On the opening night of the two-day, three-session MIT Winter Invitational on Friday evening, the MIT women's swimming and diving team won five of the six events, rewrote three school records and earned six NCAA B cuts, starting things off on a strong note. Senior Anna Kokensparger (Omaha, Neb.) and freshmen Kate Yu (San Jose, Calif.) and Lena Yang (East Stroudsburg, Pa.) all notched their first individual wins for the weekend.
The first school record to fall was in the 200 freestyle relay, the opening event of the night. Yang, sophomore Michelle Cunningham (Wayland, Mass.), freshman Katie Siegel (San Jose, Calif.) and junior Christy Rogers (Bend, Ore.) won the event in 1:34.60, narrowly missing the NCAA A cut of 1:33.54 but easily getting the B cut of 1:36.54. The previous record was 1:35.09 from the 2009-10 season.
Yu won the 500 freestyle in 5:06.16, finishing almost three seconds before the second place finisher from Keene State, earning the best time in her collegiate career by over seven seconds. Junior Sarah Weiss (Edina, Minn.) and sophomore Taylor Pearl (Solon, Ohio) also had strong finishes, touching in 5:12.26 and 5:13.72 respectively. As she has done on several occasions already this season, Kokensparger won the 200 IM in 2:05.98, dropping three and a half seconds from the last time she swam it. Junior Katelyn Rossick (Middletown, Md.) touched second in 2:07.81. Both Kokensparger and Rossick earned B cuts, bringing the night's total to three after only three events.
MIT's best showing was in the 50 freestyle, where five Engineers finished in the top six. Yang finished in 23.61, tying for first with Keene State's senior Kaila Umbarger. She broke the school record of 23.74 from the 2009-10 season, got a best time by over half a second, and earned a B cut in the process. Rogers was third in 23.93, also getting a best time and a B cut. Cunningham was fourth in 24.32, senior Elina Hu (Oshkosh, Wis.) was fifth in 24.36 and freshman Sarah Osmulski (Rumson, N.J.) was sixth in 24.50.
Four Engineers placed in the top ten in the 1m diving portion, earning 53 points for MIT. Junior Mia Stevens (Lakewood, N.Y.) finished in third place with a score of 239.3, Grace Connors (Bronxville, N.Y.) was fifth, Elise Stave (Chapel Hill, N.C.) was seventh and Jessica Wass (Bismarck, N.D.) was eighth.
In the final event of the evening, MIT won the 400 medley relay in 3:49.85, breaking the school record from 2011-12 of 3:50.88 and getting the NCAA B cut by almost five seconds.
The Engineers will return to the pool tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. for the second session of the meet and then again at 5:30 p.m. for the final session.