Wednesday, Feb. 22-25, William and Mary competed in the 2023 Colonial Athletic Association Swimming and Diving Championship at the Hampton Aquaplex in Hampton, Virginia.
The four-day meet pitted the Tribe against fellow CAA opponents UNC Wilmington, Northeastern, Towson, Delaware, Drexel, Monmouth and Stony Brook.
Although falling just short of repeating last year’s title, the women’s team finished strong in second with 534.5 points. The men’s team placed slightly lower, finishing No. 5 in the conference with 424.5 points. UNCW men’s and women’s teams both took gold, repeating their men’s title and winning the women’s championship for the first time in 17 years.
Despite a disappointing overall finish, the women’s team wasted no time getting to work on day one of the meet. It began their record-setting weekend in the very first event. Senior Katie Stevenson, junior Kat Vanbourgondien, sophomore Ellie Scherer and freshman Sophia Heilen finished first in the 200 yard medley relay, setting a new CAA record with a time of 1 minute 38.53 seconds.
The men’s relay of juniors Kent Codding and Cole Younger and freshmen Brock Rempe and Alex Valliere finished fifth with a time of 1:27.56, marking the fifth fastest time in team history.
On day two, the Tribe continued to find success with more podium finishes across multiple events. Senior Elizabeth Intihar captured bronze in the 500 yard freestyle event with a time of 4:51.51, improving upon her preliminary swim time by over three seconds. Heilen continued her impressive weekend with a second-place finish in the 200 yard individual medley event, setting a new Tribe women’s record with a final time of 1:59.30. Stevenson took bronze in the women’s 50 yard freestyle, earning the only podium spot for the Tribe in the event. In the 400 yard medley relay, the women’s relay squad of Vanbourgondien, Scherer, Heilen and Stevenson broke another CAA record, taking first with a finishing time of 3:36.15.
Day three was arguably the Tribe’s best day, with more point-earning finishes from both the men’s and women’s teams. Heilen broke her third CAA record of the weekend in the 100 yard butterfly event, finishing with a time of 52.96. Senior Noah Fields was able to medal for the men’s team in the 400 yard individual medley, clocking an official time of 3:53.14 that was over a second quicker in the final heat. Stevenson earned her fourth medal of the meet in the 200 yard freestyle, setting a new Tribe record and capturing silver with a final time of 1:46.40. The 100 yard breaststroke earned the Tribe 36 points for the women’s team alone after first and third place finishes for Scherer and senior Annie Tuttle, respectively. Rempe finished fifth in the men’s final, setting a new freshman Tribe record with a time of 53.93. To finish off the day, Vangourhondien took second in the 100 yard backstroke, bringing her medal total up to three for the meet.
The final day of the championships resulted in three more Tribe gold medals across three different events. Stevenson’s dominance continued in the 100 yard freestyle event, where she finished with yet another CAA record of 48.37 and secured her third gold of the meet. Tuttle followed in the very next event, earning her third career gold in the 200 yard breaststroke with a time of 2:13.45. Heilen won a third straight event for the Tribe in the 200 yard butterfly, while Fields set a Tribe men’s record winning bronze with a time of 1:45.69 in the same event.
As the championship concluded on Saturday, the Tribe accumulated seven gold medals and set four CAA records. Although both teams aimed to finish higher in their respective standings, the Tribe put on a strong final performance that gives the team extremely high hopes going into next season.