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EIGHT Smith swimmers earn the title of IRON WOMEN @ Mount Holyoke Invitational

December 2, 2012

What a way to close out the competition season of 2012…


Congratulations to our EIGHT Iron Women: Paige Christie (2nd time), Claire Dudek, Christina Goethel, Christine Hart, Hannah Francis, Emily Lane, Alyssa Pascuzzo, and Kelsey Swensen!!!  Hugs and high fives were shared after every race- especially after each one of them dragged themselves out of the pool during the last 400 Freestyle Relay.  Twenty-three swimmers and divers competed in the Iron Woman challenge yesterday.  Every single one of them is now a more confident, mentally tough athlete.  They will look back on their college swimming and diving career and remember this awesome feat!


Overall, Smith’s team cohesion and support were two qualities that stood out to the coaches and to the spectators @ the Mount Holyoke Invitational yesterday.  There was not one race or dive where there was an absence of cheering/clapping from the Wild Bunch.  Each athlete on Smith’s team continuously acknowledges the hard work each person puts forth during competition and practice. 


We also had a tremendous Wild Bunch fan club cheering on the team from the stands: Emily Clark’s family, Cece Arrison’s family, Alyssa Pascuzzo’s friend, Laura Nunnelly’s family, Paige Christie’s family, Jackie Blei (from Smith’s ESS department), the Kulik family, as well as Hannah Francis’ dad who diverted a flight from DC to Chicago to see Hannah swim, and Kelsey Swensen’s dad who drove up from Annapolis, MD to watch Kelsey swim!  The friends and family of the Wild Bunch are just as dedicated as the athletes!  Thanks for traveling from near and far to cheer on the team.


There were many highlights from this weekend!  The divers had a wonderful meet, diving eleven dives on each board!  Garbo is really starting to perfect each and every dive- entering the water with minimal splash at almost vertical in both the 1M and 3M!  Garbo earned a new personal best in total points on the 1M! Cece had a tremendous meet- diving a front 1 ½ with a full twist for the first time!!! It was so exciting to see her come up from her dive and have Kim and the Smith Divers run over to her and give her a HUGE hug! Congratulations Cece!!!


Besides the Iron Women events, there were also many fast swims.  In the opening 200 Freestyle Relay, Emily Clark anchored the ‘A’ relay with a split of 27.97, a half second faster!  Her arm tempo and drive continues to be a strong force throughout her swims.  Laura Nunnelly debuted a 50 free at 29.55, charging to the wall at the finish.  Sophie Mettler-Grove continued to focus on driving in and out of the wall, touching the touch pad in 29.62.  Jill Anderson also started off the meet very well; her split was 33.35, which is .2 seconds faster! Helen Zhang also saw a small drop in her relay split as well: 30.45! 

In the 50 breaststroke, Ariel Orr (33.71-7th) and Olivia Bannon (33.98-9th) are getting more and more hold on the water through their pull and the use of their core. 

In the 500 freestyle, Iron Women Paige and Kelsey worked side by side, pushing one another to continue to hold solid pacing despite having been in sprint events prior.  Emily Lane busted out a season best time: 5:49.2!  She looked smooth and strong in the water.  Christina Goethel swam the 500 freestyle for the first time since high school!  She exited the water with a smile, pleased with her performance overall!


The 50 fly proved to be successful for Smith swimmers.  Alyssa Pascuzzo swam in 29.97- not phased by the 500 freestyle she swam just before.  Emily Clark debuted her 50 fly at 30.89, maintaining solid core engagement and body undulation throughout.  Paige Christie beat her 50 fly time from last year’s Iron Woman, 31.34.   Bina Milger flew in at 31.91- focusing on keeping a fast tempo with powerful, longer strokes.  Helen Zhang also debuted her 50 fly, wowing the team with a 34.87.  It was the best we’ve seen her core action in her fly look to this day!  Rachael Gainer also slashed almost 1 ½ seconds off her time, breathing nice and low, and getting excellent low recovery, 35.01. 


Despite being four events into the Iron Woman, Alyssa Pascuzzo went for it in the 200IM, touching the wall within 2 seconds of her season best.  Christina Goethel also went for it, surging forward on her breaststroke length, 2:48.2.  Laura Nunnelly swam a season best, 2:31. 75!  Using more power on her backstroke will help her cut even more time off her swim.  Greta Stacy debuted her first 200 IM, 2:36.73.   She continues to find success with her “give it all you’ve got” attitude.


In the 50 freestyle, Sophie Mettler-Grove maintained her ferocious tempo from the relay and touched the wall at 29.78.  Jill Anderson also swam a personal best in the 50 free, 33.06, kicking violently and pushing herself through the water toward the touch pad.  Great job Jill!!


The 200 breaststroke was another exciting race!  Christina Goethel swam a season best time of 2:55.7 from a 3:02.79.  She joked after the race that her warmup should be exactly the races she swam for the Iron Woman prior to the 200 breast.  Ariel Orr swam very close to her season best, staying long and strong throughout the race.  She will find even more small bursts of power as she continues on her journey toward leg and core strength.  Olivia Bannon swam a personal best time, came in 2nd place, swimming a gutsy first 100 in 1:13.  She held on to her strong tempo and raced the entire pool to the finish in 2:35.57!


Mackenzie Bradley switched up her events for this meet and debuted her individual event in the 200 backstroke.  Her tempo looked effortless and her stroke was very connected; she came in 2nd– 2:22. 28.  Robin Currens cut two seconds off her 200 back through her aggressive lane swimming, 2:24.94.  She is working on gaining speed in and out of her turns during practice.  Emily Clark came in 5th, starting out with a driving tempo, spending all her energy as she touch at 2:26.32.  Emily Lane swam a season best time in her 200 back, 2:35.87 from a 2:39 mid, as did Kyle Boyd, slashing almost fourteen seconds!


The 200 fly was an exciting race for all of our Iron Women.  Each one of them displayed determination and tenacity approaching and swimming this event.  As some of their technique deteriorated due to fatigue, their will carried them to the finish line- knowing a break was coming.  Excellent job to all swimmers in this event!


Both 400 and 200 Medley Relays, the breaststrokers displayed solid speed.  Ariel Orr split a low 33.  Leah VanHoeve split a 35.67, getting more connection with the water as she pulled.  Helen Zhang split under 1:25 in her 100 breaststroke, focusing on sculling in during her pull.  Hayley Bezubka split a low 1:01, knocking off tenths of seconds during each meet!


The 50 backstroke saw Paige Christie beating her time from last year’s Iron Woman!  Nice job Paige!


Bina Milger found more rhythm and power during her 100 fly- less than 1 seconds off her season best time.  Rachael Gainer slashed five seconds off her fly time: 1:21.22!  She is really working on coming home and pushing through in the last 25.  Rachel Dean also dropped a second off her time, 1:27.63.  Her kick is becoming more effective and powerful with her practice!


Paige Christie continued to show her ferocious side in the 200 freestyle, pushing through fatigue and thriving in the second half of the race.  Greta Stacy’s 2nd time swimming the 200 freestyle proved to be very successful- she went out stronger in the first half and gave it all she had left coming home; she dropped three seconds for a 2:19.  Meri Millman and Hayley Bezubka swam side by side, challenging each other the whole way, swimming a 2:14 and 2:15 respectively.  Meri made very productive technical changes during her race, which positively impacted her performance.  Hayley is one second away from her personal best time in her 200 free! Jill Anderson swam another personal best in her 200: 2:39.22!!!


Emily Clark, Mackenzie Bradley, and Laura Nunnelly swam their 100 backstroke with aggression: 1:08.72, 1:08.96, and 1:09.15.


Olivia Bannon continued to dominate in the 100 breaststroke, breaking the 1:13 mark, 1:12.96. 


The 1650 was one of the most exciting distance races as of this year.  Ayla Staelin-Lefsky swam 21 seconds off her fastest time this early in the season! Both Mackenzie Bradley and Kyle Boyd had 1-2 swimmers that were swimming around their pace.  Mack pushed herself to swim through one of the swimmers within the first half of the race.  Kyle Boyd and a Wellesley swimmer battled and pushed one another to swim their best throughout the entire 66 lengths of the pool.  Kyle was also 21 seconds off her fastest time.  Well-done distance swimmers!


Congratulations Iron Women and Smith Swimmers and Divers.  It is always a pleasure watching you perform. 


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