William and Mary captured their first Colonial Athletic Association title in five years last weekend in Christiansburg, Virginia. They finished the competition with 663.5 points.
The Tribe opened day one with commanding performances in the 200 Medley Relay and 800 Free Relay. In the 200 Medley Relay, senior Anna Kenna gave the Tribe a lead they would never look back from with her 25.58 split. Junior Annie Tuttle and sophomore Corinne Davenport maintained a healthy lead, while senior Missy Cundiff finished the relay with a blistering freestyle split of 21.70, which was good enough for a gold medal finish and a new record time of 1:40.34 in the event.
In the 800 Free Relay, juniors Katie Stevenson and Grace Tramack and senior Ellie Henry maintained a first-place position throughout the entirety of the race. Junior Elizabeth Intihar, the team’s anchor in the event, finished the race with the fastest split of the final heat at 1:47.12, which was good enough to beat North Carolina Wilmington by four seconds.
Day two began with Intihar claiming her first individual medal, a silver in the 500 Free. Freshman Ellie Scherer made a splash in her CAA Championship debut, as she earned silver in the 200 IM with a third split of 34.61 that cemented her second-place position. Henry and junior Maura Graff racked up important points in the event, with Henry winning the B finals heat and Graff recording a sixth-place finish.
The highlight of day two was in the 50 Free where Cundiff convincingly won gold. Her time of 22.26 was a CAA championship record and is an NCAA B qualifying time where she will look to continue the remarkable season she is having for the Tribe. This momentum continued into the final event of the day, the 400 Medley Relay, where the quartet of Graff, Kenna, Stevenson and Tuttle claimed the Tribe’s fourth medal on day two. The closest relay of the championships so far was neck and neck until the final split where the Drexel Dragons edged William and Mary by .55 seconds.
In an intensely close race with less than a second separating first and third finishes, Intihar secured her second individual podium finish with a bronze in the 200 Free. Stevenson finished half a second behind her in fourth place, gaining crucial points for the Tribe.
Tuttle earned a silver medal in the final split of the 100 Breast, finishing just a half a second behind the leader. In the 100 Back, Kenna finished in first and shaved half a second off her previous qualifying time.
The Tribe continued to impress in the relay races with a strong performance from Cundiff, Stevenson, Kenna, and junior Broke Lamoureux in the 200 Free Relay. Although disappointed to not retain the gold in the event for back-to-back years, quick splits from Cundiff and Kenna were close enough for a second place finish.
Early in the day, Kenna earned a spot on the podium in the 200 Back to extend the Tribe’s lead. In the 100 Free, Stevenson put on a dazzling display of strength and determination that ultimately led her to a gold in the event, beating all her competitors with a time of 49.89. Improving her time by almost a second from the qualifiers, she held the lead through the entire race with the fastest times in both splits.
Following suit, Tuttle was laser focused on bringing home the first CAA Women’s Swimming Championship for the Tribe in five years. With over a second and half separating her from second place, her dominant final split won gold with a time of 2:14.14. The points she secured in this event put the Tribe in a very comfortable lead that they would ride out to the end of the day, winning their third CAA Championship in seven years.
Head coach Nate Kellogg added to the team’s accolades by winning the CAA Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year award for the second year running.
“I’m so proud of the way our women handled themselves throughout the entire season,” Kellogg said. “They established their identity as touch, fearless, relentless, and resilient. This group displayed this throughout the meet. We also owe a ton of gratitude to our alumni, who paved the way for this group.”
The Tribe will shift their focus to the NCAA tournament, which will be held from March 16-19 in Atlanta, Georgia.