LANCASTER, Pa. – Two gold medals, two conference records. The Ursinus College women's swimming team could hardly have scripted a better start to their quest for a fifth consecutive conference crown.
The Bears opened their title defense and 'drive for five' with a dominating performance on the first day of the Centennial Conference Championship, setting new program and conference records in a pair of relays. Junior Peyten Lyons and freshman Sophie May were involved in both historic swims for Ursinus, which racked up 112 points on opening night and will take a 14-point lead over second-place Swarthmore into Day 2.
The Bears started their title defense in style. Junior Peyten Lyons, senior Olivia Tierney, junior Clara Baker, and freshman Sophie May eclipsed the previous conference record in the 200 medley relay, clocking in at a blazing NCAA B cut mark of 1:45.03. That time, which currently ranks 18th in Division III, was more than two seconds clear of second-place Gettysburg and lowered the previous CC record – set at last year's meet by Lyons, Tierney, Baker, and Alexandra Hemp – by over a second. It also marked the third straight year that the Bears have captured gold in the event.
Ursinus capped the evening with one of the most dominant relay performances in CC championship history. Lyons, May, Leitz, and Gundersen teamed up to shatter the previous conference record by almost eight full seconds with a time of 7:32.61 that moves them all the way up to sixth in the nation. Leitz, Gundersen, and Lyons were also involved in the previous CC benchmark, set two years ago at the league championship meet.
The Bears have won the 800 free relay at the last six conference championships, becoming the first program in the meet's history to accomplish that feat.
The CC championship resumes Friday morning with prelims in the 500 free, 200 IM, and 50 free. The evening session will feature the finals of these three events in addition to the 200 free relay.