INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Four All-America certificates and a pair of Centennial Conference records made for a dream start for the Ursinus College women's swimming team on the first day of the NCAA Championships.
Junior Clara Baker established a new conference standard in the 50 free and teamed with classmate Peyten Lyons, senior Olivia Tierney, and freshman Sophie May to finish 13th in the 200 medley relay, becoming the first Ursinus relay team to attain All-America status. The overall placement gave the Bears eight team points.
Baker is an All-American for the fifth time, putting her within one of matching the program record held by Jennifer Derstine. Lyons, Tierney, and May all received the honor for the first time.
The Bears' foursome had already made history just by competing at the national meet, representing the first relay in program history to even qualify for the Division III championship. They did themselves one better, lowering their own record from the CC championship by .05 seconds to 1:44.98, enough to earn one of the last two spots in the evening session.
There, the Bears reset their morning mark by more than half a second, completing the race in 1:44.33 to outperform three other teams. Baker's fly split of 24.48 was the fastest of the night and second-best overall for the meet's first day.
Baker broke another record in the morning session, touching the wall in 23.86 to nip the former conference mark by .02 seconds and finish 29th overall. The time was two full tenths of a second faster than her previous PR and put a second CC individual record on Baker's resume; she also owns the standard in the 100 butterfly.
Senior Sydney Gundersen was also in action on Wednesday morning, placing 41st in the 200 IM with a time of 2:08.83 in her national championship debut.