SWARTHMORE, Pa. – Despite a stiff test from Swarthmore, the Ursinus College women's swimming team's unblemished run lives on.
The 20th-ranked Bears overcame a strong start by the hosts by winning seven of the last nine events of the day, racking up a bevy of season-best times in a hard-earned 149-113 decision that stretched their overall dual-meet winning streak to 54 and gave them a 35th consecutive Centennial Conference triumph.
Freshman Sophie May recorded a pair of individual wins in addition to a relay victory, while junior Clara Baker and senior Sydney Gundersen teamed up for two relay wins and grabbed one personal first place apiece as the Bears handed Swarthmore its first loss of the season at the site of their last conference loss five years ago.
Ursinus (6-0, 4-0) started strong with a dominating effort in the 200 medley relay. Lyons, senior Olivia Tierney, junior Clara Baker, and senior Sydney Gundersen lowered their CC-leading mark to 1:48.74, moving up five spots to 15th in Division III in the process. Freshman Sophie May, sophomore Haley Sturla, senior Meggie Leitz, and freshman Katherine Kurzinsky claimed third in 1:51.63, narrowly missing a runner-up clocking.
The Garnet (4-1, 4-1) staked their claim as the prime challenger to the Bears' quest for a fifth straight conference title this spring, producing the winner in three of the first four individual events. Hannah Kloetzer dominated the 1000 free in 10:50.44, though Ursinus had the runner-up in freshman Rebecca Warren (11:10.74) and junior Kathryn Longenecker (11:21.79) placed third.
Clare Cushing captured the 200 free in 1:57.28, just ahead of a season-best 1:58.07 from Gundersen. Leitz was fourth in 2:00.08.
Lyons put a halt to the Swarthmore momentum with an impressive 59.40 in the 100 back, good for a season best and enough to edge Hyeyun Chae by a shade under two-tenths of a second. Freshman Katherine Kurzinsky was fourth in 1:03.12, and junior Katherine Madden registered a season-low 1:03.60 to land in fifth.
Maggie Eberts claimed the 100 breast crown in 1:08.85, with Tierney hot on her heels at 1:09.17 and Sturla in fourth with a 1:10.37.
The Bears found their rhythm starting with the 200 fly, where Leitz (2:10.77) and senior Katherine Porter (2:11.63), who trimmed nearly four fill seconds off her previous season best in the event, gave them a critical 1-2 finish.
May came right back with a personal-best 25.04 to take first prize in the 50 free, where Baker (25.54) touched the wall in third.
Gundersen touched in 54.43 seconds, a season best, to finish 1.75 ticks ahead the Garnet's runner-up in the 100 free, where Kurzinsky (56.29) was third and freshman Allison Thomas (56.81) fourth.
May picked up her second individual win of the afternoon in the 200 back, recording a conference-leading 2:08.43 to top Chae by nearly a second. Lyons placed third in 2:10.94, a season best by more than a full second.
Tierney, the CC leader in the 200 breast, clocked a 2:29.91 to win the event by more than two seconds.
After Kloezter and Cushing stopped a run of five straight Bear victories with a 1-2 effort in the 500 free, Baker led a 1-2-3 sweep of the 100 fly. Baker posted a season-best 58.29, Leitz was second in 59.19, and Porter cut almost a second off her season low to take third in 59.48.
Lyons was third in the 200 IM (2:15.70), won by the Garnet's Sophia Lee.
The Bears put a bow on a hard-fought victory as May, Kurzinsky, Baker, and Gundersen won the 200 free relay in 1:40.48, the top mark in the CC this season and good for 37th in the nation.
Ursinus closes out the 2016 portion of its schedule at West Chester's Golden Ram Classic. The two-day invitational gets underway on Friday, December 8.