Feb. 18, 2007
WELLESLEY, Mass. - For the second time in three days, junior diver Doria Holbrook smashed Institute and conference records in the diving portion of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championships, but it wasn't enough for MIT to hold off Springfield College, as the Pride overtook the Engineers on the final day of competition to claim its seventh straight title. Springfield finished with 812.5 points, while the Engineers closed in second-place for the eighth straight year with 717.5 points. Host Wellesley College claimed the third spot with a point total of 621.
Holbrook, who shattered the one-meter diving records on Friday, recorded an astonishing 553.30 in prelims of the three-meter before easily winning the event with a 514.85 in the finals. The Yakima, Wash., native surpassed the previous MIT record by almost 100 points, as Lori Blackwelder Peterson's 464.30 in 1985 was the previous standard. The highest previous conference mark had been 533.60.
However, the event's importance to Tech's point total was erased by the impressive Springfield divers, who claimed the next three spots after Holbrook. Erin White, Michelle Reggio and Melissa Nelson finished 2-3-4, respectively.
MIT had another record-breaker on the evening, as sophomore Nicole O'Keeffe's 2:26.54 in the 200-yard breaststroke was not only good enough for second-place and an NCAA "B" cut, but it also set a new Institute mark. O'Keeffe surely would've grabbed the win in the event if not for the amazing swim of the Pride's Moira Price, whose time of 2:20.95 reached the NCAA "A" cut.
The Cardinal and Gray did claim two victories in "B" consolation finals on the last day of swimming. First, freshman Stephanie Brown touched the wall ahead of all competitors in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:17.21. Then, in the final event of the competition, Tech's "B" 400-yard freestyle relay team of Abby Clark, Jackee Nowicke, Ashley Pinchinat and Jessica Harpole clocked in at 3:42.57 for the win.
Senior Katherine Thornton, ranked fourth in the country in the 1650-yard freestyle, placed second in the event with a time of 18:02.44. Springfield's Emily Sheahan was the impressive winner, finishing with an NCAA "B" cut time of 17:45.79.
Head coach Dawn Gerken singled out her graduating seniors and graduate students for special praise after what was their final competition for the Cardinal and Gray. Grad student Katrina Cornell and seniors Stephanie Sidelko, Harpole and Thornton were all praised for their hard work and dedication to MIT swimming and diving.
"I just want to thank all of our graduating athletes for everything that they did for this program over the years that they were a part of this team," she said. "They were truly a fun group, and working with them was one of the most rewarding experiences of my coaching career. All four girls helped this program grow tremendously and their contributions will be missed."