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January 28, 2013


This past Saturday, the Wild Bunch held another intrateam: Wilds vs. Bunches meet at their home pool.  Teams had to swim or dive a designated number in order to earn points for the team.   Vanessa McFarlane, Garbo Garborcauskas, Cece Arrison, and Jenika Parson regaled us with three decided dives, but then had the option to introduce their own creativity with: a three bounce somersault, a handstand dive into a dive or somersault and a BIG splash dive.  All the divers beat their required score for the first three dives.  Each one highly enjoyed cannon-balling or semi-jack knifing into the water, splashing all four coaches.   Cece Arrison was named winner of the Big Splash, earning her team the lead in the Wilds vs. Bunches rivalry.

The individual swimming events consisted of 100s of stroke, a 50, 100, and 300 free.  Breaststrokers Olivia Bannon and Leah VanHoeve, knocked off seconds in their 100, 1:11.63 (tenths of seconds away from her personal best time), and 1:17.02 (almost in the 1:16!!).  Despite being sick and out of the water for two weeks, Greta Stacy improved her 100 backstroke time by three seconds: 1:11.7!

The 100 freestyle had everyone cheering the sprinters on.  Meri Millman finally touched the wall in 59.34!  Very close behind her was Hayley Bezubka almost breaking a minute with 1:00.28, which a personal best swim for Hayley!  Meri and Hayley have consistently been incredibly motivated, energetic and competitive in practice; their efforts show in this race! Devi Dearmon-Moore also rocked another 100 freestyle, dropping one second to swim 4 lengths in 1:03.77.  She has been working so hard on her kick drive, getting her tempo up and charging into the finish.

Mackenzie Bradley, Paige Christie, Emily Lane, and Claire Dudek all smashed their 300 freestyle time, 3:16.26, 3:16.69, 3:25.75, and 3:30.62.  Emily Lane touched the wall with a big grin on her face.  Claire started using her legs a little bit more and really worked on starting off the block with a strong, confidence dive. Similar to practice, Paige and Mack continued to push each other- each one moving away a little and the other quickly keeping pace.

The Wilds and Bunches channeled their inner 8 & under swimmer by competing in the 100 yd Medley Relay, 100 freestyle relay, 3×100 IM relay, and the 100 kick with fins relay.  The divers competed in the last kick with fins relay.   All swimmers and divers were laughing while sprinting as fast as possible during the kick relay.  The Wilds ended up beating the Bunches due to a loss of a fin by the Bunches.  The important part was that people swam and dove well, competed, and had fun.

The last dual meet is on its way this weekend!  My how January has FLOWN by.  See you at Mount Holyoke!


Smith College & Seven Sisters 2013 @ Wellesley Smith places 4th @ Seven Sisters; Jenika Parson breaks Seven Sisters 1Meter Diving Record; Mackenzie Bradley Chosen as Pineda Award Winner

January 22, 2013
Splash Cheer!

Splash Cheer!

Continuing on the journey for speed and  power down the lane, and skillfulness and expertise on the boards, the Wild Bunch traveled east to Wellesley College for their last meet of J-Term.  Throughout the weekend, the Bananas grew more and more energetic; they swam with more drive and purpose while those who dove, continued to excel on the boards.

Jenika Parson dove with poise and confidence on both the 1M and 3M; she broke the Seven Sisters diving points record on the 1M while also earning another NCAA consideration on both boards.  Because of her win on the 1Meter board, Jenika also earned a place on the 2013 Seven Sisters Team.  Congratulations, Jenika.DSC_0395

Cece Arrison and Garbo Garborcauskas also continue to improve each and every dive.  Cece Arrison missed a NCAA consideration on the 1Meter board by seven points!  She has grown so much as an athlete and competitor.  Both Cece and Garbo possess a calmer demeanor, which represents the trust they have in their learned ability.  Keep striving!

Along with the fantastic diving, there were many season bests and a few personal bests for the swimmers.

Jill Anderson went bananas in her 50 free split 32.67 and her 100 freestyle: 1:11.47, both personal best splits!  Jill’s ferocious kick sets during practice have helped push her arm tempo in her races!  Jill also holds the record for leg press on the team: 310+ pounds of multiple reps! Congrats Jill!

Olivia Bannon continued to drop time in her 50 breaststroke split and 200 breaststroke: 33.3 and 2:34.56.  She has been working on staying longer and more powerful with each stroke during practice this week since her races were primarily lower body driven.  Olivia also had a season best time in her 50 freestyle: 27.73.

Kyle Boyd continues to surprise everyone with her building swims in all of her events.  She swam personal bests in her 500 freestyle: 5:43.94 and 1650 free, 19:46.83.  Kyle’s 200 freestyle time was also a season best time.  Kyle is a quiet, yet aggressive competitor.  It is always exciting to watch her race.

Mackenzie Bradley, finishing in 2nd during the 1650 with a season best time of 18:27.56, and .37 sec away from her fastest 400 IM time, was awarded the Marly Pineda award during the Seven Sisters banquet on Saturday.  As Mackenzie shook Wellesley’s Athletic Director’s hand and gave Kim a hug, the entire group of coaches and swimmers/divers stood to applaud Mack as a person, athlete, and competitor.  CONGRATS MACK!

Stef, “the Terminator” Cervantes, despite some shoulder discomfort during the meet, fought the clock and swam two season best times in the 100 back and the 100 fly: 1:28.79 and 1:25.61.

Paige Christie’s mile debut at Seven Sisters was also a personal best time: 19:35.45.  She is one second faster in this event than she was last year (and has only swam this event one time!)  Paige continued to swim fastest times in her 100 back, 1:08.04, and 200 back as well 2:24.89.

Robin Currens debuted a 200 free and 500 free this season, swimming 2:12.19 and 5:46.94! Pushing through body fatigue, Robin finished the meet with a 1:00.88 as the anchor of the 400 “A” Free Relay.

Recovering from a shoulder injury, Rachel Dean swam the 50 and 100 freestyle with solid technical form; she was .12 away from swimming season bests in both races.  Well done, Deanie!

Devi Dearmon-Moore was determined to swim the 50 free in under 30 seconds, and DID with a time of 29.42.  She also took almost 2 seconds off the 100 freestyle as well!  Devi also competed in the 100 breaststroke- the length of her kick and her drive forward with each stroke was wonderful!.

Claire Dudek continues to gain power and speed each week.  She swam personal bests in the 100 breaststroke, 1:20.56 (cut four seconds off), 500 free, 5:55.48, and debuted her mile swim, 20:37.25.  Claire has been working diligently on the explosiveness of her start during every practice.

Continuing along the line of personal bests, Hannah “Grizzles” Francis, went under 1:16 in her 100 breaststroke, 1:15.86, and debuted her 200 freestyle at 2:15.49 in her relay.  Despite not breathing very much during the first 100 of her 200, she was able to push through intense oxygen debt.  We look forward to seeing that time drop as she gains more experience swimming the 200.  What a gutsy swim!

Christina Goethel smashed both of her IM times!  She dropped seven seconds in her 200 IM, going out faster in the butterfly and backstroke lengths.  She also cut eleven seconds off her 400 IM: 5:44.01.

Christine Hart had an awesome meet, dropping time in every individual event!  She dropped a second in her breaststroke: 1:14.23, a second in her 200 breast: 2:42.06, four seconds in her 200IM: 2:30.6 (a personal best time!), and dropped six seconds in her 100 backstroke.  Christine saw the opportunity to practice backstroke during the week before the meet and it paid off!

Emily Lane debuted her mile swim with a 19:50.44 during this meet.  She and Kelsey Swensen helped each other during the swim since they swam in the lanes next to each other!  Emily also saw a nice time drop in her backstroke: 2:32.4.  Approaching the 400IM with a positive attitude, Emily swam a season best by nine seconds: 5:26.47.

Sophie Mettler-Grove swam season best times in each of her freestyle events!  For her 50, she went 29.43.   She dropped a second in her 100 free 1:03.95, driving in and out of her walls with better drive and improved tight streamlining.  Sophie rocked her 200 freestyle in the relay, dropping three seconds 2:20.66.  Keep bringing the energy, Sophie!

Bina Milger had a great breakthrough in her 200 fly this weekend.  She descended her last fifty of the race, but also starting to swim with more power and length in the last twenty-five.  She dropped three seconds, 2:48.50.

Meri Millman found a new sprint level this weekend- almost going under a minute in her individual 100 free, but then making it up in the last relay, going a split of 59.94.  The first part of Meri’s 100 looked much more purposeful- her head was down during her breakout, her stroke tempo is improving.   In practice we will continue to work on finish timing as well.  Meri also swam an even-split 100 backstroke: 1:11.14.  As she becomes more comfortable letting her head relax in the water, she will easily slide into the 1:09 range.

Laura Nunnelly’s tempo and lane swimming helped her drop from 1:09.15 to 1:08.88.  Her determination and practice effort have allowed her to keep edging seconds off her backstroke times.

Ayla Staelin-Lefsky battled a sore throat and cough during the whole meet.  Her mental toughness prevailed during the last session where she swam a lifetime best time in her 1650.  Her 500 split was three seconds faster than her individual 500 swim.  For the first half of the race, Ayla really focused on holding the water and accelerating into her walls.

Kelsey Swensen worked well with lane-mate, Emily Lane, to swim a 19:49.73 mile swim.  Both Kelsey and Emily brought their pressure up during the last 200 of the race, pushing each other to finish well.

Sarah Tucker swam a fearless 200 freestyle – swimming the first 100 only a second and a half off her 100 time, and came home stroke in the second half of the race.  She was only one second off her personal best time, 2:19.94.   Sarah also had a solid swim in her 200IM, working with fellow backstroker Laura Nunnelly.  Sarah swam a season best time of 2:34.65.

Leah VanHoeve’s breaststroke looked very powerful and long in both her 100 and 200- she swam season best times of 1:17.23 and 2:45.63.  Her effort to swim technically well during challenging sets is paying off!

And last, but not least, Helen Zhang swam with more vigor and passion in her freestyle events.  She broke the 30 mark in her 50 freestyle, 29.93 as well as dropped two seconds in her 100 free: 1:05.19.   Helen’s kick tempo was much more powerful during her individual and relay swims.  She also debuted the 200IM with a time of 2:54.48.

Great job continuing to acquire speed, power and mental toughness during a time when your bodies are tired!  There are only three or four more weeks of the season for us to enjoy. DSC_0329

Get fierce Wild Bunch!  Keep on working hard!

Smith’s Last Home Meet with Wellesley: It’s all about the CCCP- Twelve Swimmers and Divers Honored for 4-year Commitment to the Wild Bunch.

January 14, 2013

Taken from SmithPioneers Athletic Website

Congratulations to the twelve swimmers and divers who were honored Saturday afternoon: Bina Milger, Stef Cervantes, Christina Goethel, Rachael Gainer, Sophie Mettler-Grove, Sarah Tucker, Kelsey Swensen, Rachel Dean, Jenika Parson, Emma Reim, Ariel Orr, and Mackenzie Bradley! 

You have all made such a positive, wonderful impact on the team!  Your teammates and coaches will miss your energy, passion, drive, and unique personalities. 

Your legacy will live on in Wild Bunch history =).

The support from friends and family for the Wild Bunch during this meet was phenomenal!  A bunch of WB alumna even came back: Jenny Prince, Carly Mailly, Becca Chazin, and Faith Latella.  The athletes definitely fed off of your enthusiasm and cheering!

Despite twelve days of non-stop training, the Wild Bunch put forth a valiant effort during each of their races. 

Claire Dudek split a 27.97 as the anchor of the Smith College C relay, kicking her legs ferociously throughout her swim.  Claire also had personal bests in the 100 freestyle, 1:00.52 and her 200 freestyle, 2:11.66!  As soon as she harnesses more explosive power off her turns and starts, she will be even more efficient in the water!

Mackenzie Bradley won all of her races, either edging out her competition early, or slowly gaining on them throughout the race.  She knocked three seconds off her 500 freestyle time, 5:28.29, and half a second in her 200 fly, 2:18.29, holding 35s after her first fifty fly.  What a competitor!

Kyle Boyd also had a fantastic meet; she swam two personal best times in the 1000 freestyle, 12:11.56, and 5:48.54 in the 500 freestyle (negative splitting!!!!).  While she did a wonderful job sticking to her race plan and using the swimmers around her to help motivate the mighty racer inside her, she is still learning how to spend all of her energy as efficiently as possible. 

Mighty mite, Paige Christie, swam a phenomenal 200 freestyle, 2:05. 47!  She went out the same speed as one of the Wellesley swimmers, feeding off of her and pushing past her during the third fifty.  Paige swam season bests in the 500 freestyle and 200 fly, 5:36.17 (one second slower than her personal best time), and 2:32 respectively.  Paige is acquiring a new level of speed and mental toughness in her daily practice, which is shining through in her races during meets! She also split 59.99 as the anchor in the 400 Free Relay!

Again in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle, Ayla Staelin-Lefsky swam season best times: 2:25.22 and 6:16.7.  Ayla’s first 200 in her 500 freestyle is actually her fastest 200 free time: 2:24.69.  While the first race may have gotten out the jitters, Ayla can be confident than she has the ability to swim with more power and hold (and still have energy left) after a 2:24 200 freestyle. 

The Wild Bunch backstrokers found great success in the first relay, swimming season best 50 backstroke times.  Robin Currens finished at 31.68, Laura Nunnelly finished at 32.42 and  Sarah Tucker  touched the wall at 33.77.  Robin carried her speed into her 100 backstroke, improving by almost one second, 1:06.00.  Robin has been working on the initiation of her turns as well as tighter streamlines off her walls.  It is definitely starting to pay off!

Our breaststrokers also had a wonderful 100 breaststroke.   Christine Hart finally broke her 1:16 streak and drove into the wall at 1:15.66.  Leah VanHoeve maintained excellent power and hold on the water and stepped into the 1:17.98 range.  Christina Goethel focused on her core engagement and swam a season best time of 1:22.35. 

Bina Milger debuted the grueling 200 fly at the meet this weekend.  Although she was a little nervous about the feat ahead of her, her driven, hard-working personality took over and got her to the touch pad. 

In the 50 yard freestyle, Sophie Mettler-Grove, Stef Cervantes, and Rachel Dean all had wonderful swims.  Sophie swam a season best time due to kicking more with her legs and establishing a deeper catch in her freestyle, 29.55.  Stef emptied as much of her tank as she could, dropping half a second, 30.99.  Rachel Dean swam with passion and fervor, swimming her second best time this season in her 50: 32.83.  Stef, the terminator, Cervantes smashed her past season best 100 freestyle time by four seconds, 1:08.34.  Stef Cervantes 2:51.33, Sarah Tucker 2:37.64, Christina Goethel, 2:48.07, and Olivia Bannon, 2:33.25, all swam season bests in the 200 IM as well!  Great job Swimmers! 

Divers Cece and Garbo had extraordinary 1M and 3M dives- nailing their pikes, twists, and entries.  They had the best diving meet of their careers!  Both divers improved their point scoring by at least twenty points overall.  Congratulations divers!!!


Another solid meet in the books!   They all earned a well-deserved day off on Sunday. 

Seven Sisters is this coming weekend!  Hope to see as much support there as we had at this meet!

Thank you families and friends of all the athletes, especially those of the seniors who have supported, loved, and encouraged the seniors since day one.



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. 


Wild Bunch swims/dives the Owls! Jenika Parson qualifies for NCAA in 1M and 3M!

November 18, 2012

This Saturday, the Wild Bunch traveled down to Westfield State for their third dual meet this season.  What a meet they had!  There were some tremendous swims and dives from both teams- many season and personal bests!

Thank you to our FAN group: the Christie family, Nunnelly family, Arrison family, Parson family, Hart family, Bierwert family, and Kulik family who traveled to Westfield to support the team, cheer, and bring goodies after the meet!  You helped energize both the Smith and Westfield teams by being there!!

Jenika Parson’s family watched their daughter earn two NCAA Qualifications in the 1M (277.0 points) and the 3M (269.85)!  It was so wonderful to have Jenika back healthy and diving well!  Cece Arrison’s family also traveled to Westfield to support her and the team.   Cece beat her top score on the 3M by almost thirty points (193.75).  Congratulations divers! Jump High, Tuck Tight, Smith Divers do it right!

Emily Clark lead the 200 Medley B Relay with a 31.78, almost a second faster in her 50 backstroke.  The hard work she’s put in on her turnover and hold has paid off this week!  Rachael Gainer continues to gain speed in her anchoring leg of the relay, swimming a 28.08 down from a 28.8 as well in the B Relay!   Christina Goethel swam a season best time in the 50 breaststroke in the C Relay with a time of 39.98.  Senior Rachel Dean also swam a personal best time in her 50 fly with a split of 37.66 down from a 38.16 in previous years!  To anchor the C Relay, Jill Anderson sped down the lane with ferocity and drive and touched at 32.99 as her split, earning a personal best in a 50 free in a relay!

Our distancey folks swam next in the 1000 freestyle.  Despite the slightly warmer water, Emily Lane pulled out a season best time by a second, 11:56.68, swimming with great acceleration through the water.  Ayla Staelin-Lefsky slashed almost twenty-five seconds from her previous personal best in the 1000 free!  She held very consistent pacing throughout- determined to set her year off with a dynamite swim!  She went 13:09.05!  Ayla is striving to get stronger in and out of the pool this year!

Greta Stacy debuted her 200 freestyle at a 2:22.97.  While she admitted that she went out a little conservatively, for a first time 200 free, it is a very decent time!  She will continue to lower that time with more experience racing that distance in practice and during meets!  Sophie Mettler-Grove dropped two seconds in her 200 freestyle, 2:23.26.  She is set upon gaining more speed and power in her strokes and off her walls throughout the rest of the season.  It is thrilling to see her get amped for her races and sets in meets and practice!  Emma Reim also swam a season best with a 2:10.72, swimming very strong and quick paced throughout her 200 free! She is continuing to drop time as she gains range of motion and strength!

Robin Currens swam a gutsy 100 backstroke, swimming the first 50 around the same time she swam the medley relay and coming home just as ferociously.  She dropped two seconds, swimming a 1:06.89 and winning the backstroke!  Robin continues to drive effectively down the lane in practice.  With some added turn speed, there is no stopping Robin this season!  Sarah Tucker was also fired up for her 100 backstroke and knocked a second off her time as well, 1:11.28.  Her tempo never slowed throughout the race.

In the 100 breaststroke, Hannah Francis debuted, earning a personal best on her first race, 1:16.36!  We have never seen her smile so big after she glanced up at the clock.  Christine Hart, Christina Goethel and Helen Zhang also improved their times 1:16.27, 1:24. 27 and 1:25.40 respectively!  Olivia Bannon was also a standout in the 100 breaststroke, dropping one and a half seconds, 1:13.10.  Her strokes were long and powerful!  Great job breaststrokers!

Mackenzie Bradley won the 200 fly by swimming with a competitive purpose and shaved off two seconds, 2:18.92.  Stef “The Terminator” Cervantes and Rachel Dean both also earned best times in their races, getting great hold on the water and swimming smoothly throughout this grueling race.  Stef took 18 seconds off her swim to earn a 3:04.27! Rachel slashed four seconds off her time to touch at 3:23.07.

The 50 freestyle was an exciting event!  Alyssa Pascuzzo debuted the 50 free with a 26.78, a personal best, and she won the event!

The next event, the 100 freestyle had many season best times.  Sophie Mettler-Grove dropped two seconds to touch at 1:04.87.  The sprint AFAPs have been paying off in practice!  Christina Goethel again swam a personal best, breaking into the 1:09.27 with increased tempo and quick breaths throughout.  Bina Milger almost broke 1:01 in her 100!  Her continued core connection and fast turns in practice are beginning to pay off!  She is an extremely diligent, hard worker!  Robin Currens also debuted her 100 freestyle, swimming a 1:01.26, which was one second faster than her relay split.

The 200 backstroke was next.  Emily Clark flew in this event, sliding through the water to touch at 2:21.92, earned first place for Smith.  Laura Nunnelly also picked up her tempo and power during her swim to knock off almost four seconds, 2:27.44.  Sarah Tucker also had another exciting swim, touching the wall in 2:30.64, three seconds faster than the previous meet!  Well done backstrokers!

Our breaststrokers shined again in the 200.  Christine, the racer at heart, Hart, swam using great drive and core engagement and touched the wall for a best time of 2:43.90.  Helen Zhang also dropped two seconds, using her legs more in the last fifty to swim a 3:06.38.  Olivia Bannon, continued her long, powerful strokes in the 200 and touched the wall in 2:39.59 (less than four seconds away from her personal best time!).

Next, our distance swimmers were back in the pool ready to tackle the 500 freestyle.  Kelsey Swensen still warm from her 1000 free, knocked nine seconds off her swim to earn her college career personal best, 5:41.90.  She was determined to keep her pacing strong throughout the race!  Emily Lane also dropped three seconds, 5:51.79.  She was determined to push through discomfort to find glory!  Go Smith distance!

Alyssa Pascuzzo had another season best swim in the 100 fly, 1:02.84, .08 seconds away from her personal best last year!!  She has been working on increasing her power and recovery speed in her fly during practice.  Paige Christie also swam a season best in her fly, 1:07.1!  She has also been working on getting great hold in the water.

In the 200 IM, Alyssa continued to thrive, touching in 2:19.04, less than two seconds away from her personal best.  Emily Lane also debuted the 200 IM in 2:36.17, a second away from her personal best time as well!  Great job swimmers!

The final relay was an exciting event!  All three of Smith’s relays as well as Westfield’s relays were neck and neck at the beginning!  This created a wonderful dynamic and increased motivation for the swimmers to go for it!  In the senior relay, Mackenzie Bradley swam her 100 free in 1:00.8.  Sarah Tucker slashed a second off hers, 1:04.11.  Kelsey also improved her relay split by a second 1:02.83.   In the relay closest to them, Paige Christie flew and touched at 1:00.37.  Kyle Boyd got her tempo up and swam a 1:03.1!  In the third relay, Olivia Bannon debuted a 100 free in 1:01.34, violently kicking her legs during the last 25.  Ayla Staelin-Lefsky earned a season best time anchoring that relay with a 1:09.62.

There were SO many fantastic events during this meet!   The Westfield coaches: David and Adam as well as the Westfield swimmers were very welcoming and helpful.  Kim and Amanda were very proud of the Wild Bunch during this meet due to the exemplary sportsmanship demonstrated as well as the swims and dives that pushed the envelope.

The limits are infinite for our swimmers and divers.  We hope to continue to see them executing their swims and dives with intelligence, ferocity and passion.

PVI @ Mount Holyoke College is the last meet of 2012: December 1st.

Keep working hard Wild Bunch!

Wild Bunch Captures their First Dual Meet Win!

November 16, 2012

Our divers wished the swim team well as they boarded the vans and headed down 91 to Elms College Tuesday evening.  The divers stayed home and gained extra practice with Louie as the swimmers competed with Elms’ team.   Coach Bill Tyler and the Elms’ team were very welcoming; they had welcome signs up for us in the pool area.  Laura and Kyle were excited to see Coach Tyler since they swam with his daughter before coming to Smith.   The Wild Bunch entered the pool, dressed in their Smith gear and also adorned with other Wild bunch “swag” and secret psych up gifts.  They were unfazed by the extra distance they would have to tackle due to the 25-meter pool.  A few even commented that they liked the extra distance- their turns were no longer jammed!  Throughout the meet, we were continually impressed with Smith and Elms’ (swimmers and coaches) support of both teams.  Members of Elms’ men’s team came and supported their women.

There were a decent group of fans supporting the swimmers as well.  The bleachers were right on the pool deck so our “cheerleaders” were right in the action! .  From Smith, Becca Chazin ‘12 and her friends drove down to cheer.   Hayley Bezubka’s parents, Donna and John, brought a cooler with their dinner and watched an exciting meet.  Laura Nunnelly’s father, John, also drove down to watch Smith swim!  Thank you all for your continued encouragement!


Wild Bunch Highlights:

Smith had many teammates scoring points toward the overall win.  The opening relay of Emily Clark, Ariel Orr, Alyssa Pascuzzo, and Hayley Bezubka brought in the first win of the night in the 200 meter Medley Relay.  They all had driving swims, which converted to season best times in yards.  Emily Clark has been really working on her upper body strength in and out of the pool, Alyssa has been devoting time to practicing her high pace tempo in her fly over the past week, Ariel has continually been working on the strength of her breaststroke pull and the connection of her core to her kick and swim, and Hayley has been striving toward finding earlier speed in her swims. Jill Anderson also swam the anchor leg of the ‘C’ relay with a season best converted time of 33.51!

Alyssa Pascuzzo, Mackenzie Bradley, and Emily Lane also had strong swims in the 200-freestyle, coming in 1st, 2nd, and 4th places.  Rachel Dean swam a season best in a converted 200 freestyle of 2:38.68!

Greta Stacy and Christina Goethel used excellent teamwork and continued to push each other in the 100 m breaststroke. Greta debuted her breaststroke with a converted time of 1:22.97.

Meri Millman, like Hayley, is also working on finding speed earlier in her sprints.  She sped to a season best in her 100-freestyle with a converted time of 1:00.82.

Looking strong and maintaining very consistent pacing, Paige Christie debuted her 200 backstroke with a converted time of 2:26.46.  Sarah Tucker was also charging down the lane in her 200-meter backstroke, holding the water very well.  Her converted time was a season best time of 2:33.24.

Olivia Bannon maintained long strokes during the majority of her 200-meter breaststroke, swimming a season best time of 2:41.35.  Christine Hart, or as Kim calls her, Chrysanthemum, had a tremendous 200 m breaststroke; she fought for length and core engagement on almost every stroke!  She swam a converted season best time of 2:44.77.  Christina Goethel was relaxed and ready to go in her 200-meter breaststroke.  Her tempo was driving while she thought about holding water during her scull in of her pull.  She is finding great improvement holding water in practice this week!


Laura Nunnelly and Sohpie Mettler-Grove debuted their “500 Free” (400 meter swim) at Elms. Both women were excited and ready to swim despite not training for this distance race.  Laura Nunnelly negative split her 400m swim, trying to out-touch her teammate Kyle Boyd to the finish, touching at 5:58.29 (converted time).  Kyle and Laura used to swim with each other during high school, so it was exciting to watch them get into their competitive groove again.  Sophie Mettler-Grove worked with Ayla Staelin-Lefsky during the race, focusing on maintaining solid core engagement and power of each stroke.  Sophie clocked in at 6:33.51 (converted).  It was great to see them congratulate one another at the end of the 400m free.


Mackenzie Bradley, Laura Nunnelly, Christine Hart, Hannah Francis, and Devi Dearmon-Moore debuted a 200 IM at the Elms meet while Steff “The Terminator” Cervantes was able to get another shot at this event.  Even with the slight addition of distance to this event, none of the swimmers backed down during their swim.  While some felt slightly fatigued, due to their confidence in their strength and technique to carry them to the finish, they all swam very intentional and effortful races.


It was really wonderful to compete against Elms’ swimming team.  The swimmers and coaching staff display exemplary sportsmanship and cooperation!


Tomorrow, we return to competing distances in yards at Westfield State University at 1pm.  See you there!

Courtesy of Helen Zhang’s photography

Smith Swims and Dives with Confidence @ Home meet with Springfield College

November 7, 2012

Smith swimmers watching and supporting Smith divers!

With spirit, confidence and a slew of supporting fans in the bleachers, the Wild Bunch performed very well against Springfield College on Tuesday, November 6th.  It was thrilling to look up and see so many new and familiar faces in the stands.  Springfield and Smith posted some very fast, strong swims and dives.  There were a few spectacular races where the Wild Bunch pressed through Springfield.

Mackenzie Bradley had a tremendous 200 fly where she came from a body length behind the Springfield swimmer in the last fifty and edged her out by two seconds at the end of the race.  Mack accomplished this not too long after swimming a bold first 1000 free: 11:04.25, less than six seconds off her best NEWMAC 2012 time.  Kelsey Swensen and Emily Lane both stepped up and swam fantastic first 1000 freestyles.  Kelsey improved her best time from the Fall 2011 by almost eighteen seconds, 11:45.52.  The distance swimmers looked courageous and bold 1000 freestyles.

Kyle Boyd had two great swims in the 200 free and the 500 free.  She attacked her tempo and began to push earlier in both events, earning times close to one second off her NEWMAC 2012 times, 2:14.42 and 5:54.47.  Ayla Staelin-Lefsky also had a tremendous meet, slashing two seconds off her 200 free, earning a Personal best time of: 2:26.19, and was three seconds off her best 500 freestyle time during NEWMACs 2012.

Emma Reim debuted her 200 freestyle at a 2:13.95, maintaining excellent acceleration in and out of her turns and keeping a consistent stroke flutter kick throughout her race.  Sophie Mettler-Grove improved her season best 200 freestyle time by five seconds, working on her core connection and holding water throughout her swim, 2:25.16.

Robin Currens is gaining speed and power in her 50 backstroke (from the relay); she hit 31.93, which is a steady improvement throughout the season thus far.  Robin continued to drop seconds in her 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke as well.  Laura Nunnelly took her 100 back out with a driving tempo and cut another second off her time, 1:09.5.  She is also consistently dropping time in her 200 back as well 2:38 to a 2:31.05.  Sarah Tucker succeeded in going a half second faster in her 100 back as well as a second faster in her 200 backstroke.

Our breaststrokers demonstrated acquisition of more power, speed and endurance in the 100s and 200s breast.  Ariel Orr plunged into 1:13.78 in the 100and 2:42.33 in the 200, getting excellent core engagement during both her swims.  She is less than three seconds away from her best times in both events.  Olivia Bannon kept her stroke long and strong during her swims and knocked off time in her 100, 1:14.42.  Christina Goethel debuted her first 100 breast of the season, looking strong at a 1:24.91.  Leah VanHoeve swam her personal best time in her 200 breaststroke, 2:49.5, concentrating on sculling in and shooting her arms out during her swim.  Her strokes were very long and powerful.  Helen Zhang also dropped another three seconds off her 200 as well.  She made sure that she engaged her core during the kick of her breaststroke.

The freestyle sprinters had a successful meet as well.  Bina Milger succeeded in attaining a 28.25 by working on her core connection and solid turns.  Rachael Gainer is dropping time steadily in her 50; she swam under a 29, 28.8 for the first time this season!  Stef “the terminator” Cervantes cut three seconds of her 50 free time, 31.36, which also translated well into her 200 IM.  She swam her best time of the season, 2:52.58, coming home in a 38.14!

Cecelia Arrison was very confident in her familiar dives; she maintained overall great form throughout almost each dive on the 1M and 3M.  Cece improved her 3M best dive score: 165.3 from a 157.5.

In the 100 freestyle, Alyssa Pascuzzo got her tempo going from the very beginning and almost managed to out touch two other Springfield swimmers.  They helped her go a 58.06.  She will definitely get to her 57 within the next few weeks if she keeps training as well as she has been.  She also succeeded in winning the 100 fly with a time of 1:03.73, a three second improvement from the past week.  Meri Millman is a true competitive spirit, yearning to challenge those around her.  She is also steadily dropping small bouts of time.  1:01.02 is her season best time thus far.  Hannah Francis went into her 100 freestyle confidently and almost broke a minute (1:00.91).  Her legs were violently kicking at the very end of her race.  She demonstrated the same zeal in her 100 fly too: 1:08.92, which is a solid first 100 fly time!  Greta Stacy succeeded in reducing her 100 free by another second, 1:04.75.

Bina Milger made sure that her fly strokes maintained good length and power and improved her season best time by three seconds, 1:12.98.  She has been putting in the extra practice on her open turns, which is proving to pay off!  Devi Dearmon-Moore and Stef Cervantes both debuted their 100 fly with time of 1:13.94 and 1:26.5, which were very technically sound, solid swims for them both.

Our other IMers, Alyssa Pascuzzo, Olivia Bannon, Sarah Tucker, Ariel Orr, and Christina Goethel pushed themselves to swim through the end of meet fatigue (and dinner hunger pains).  Alyssa improved her times by over five seconds!

The Swimmers and Divers all brought forth an immense amount of vivacity towards competition and towards cheering for both Smith and Springfield swimmers.  We all enjoyed being challenged by one another including Springfield’s team.  We wish Springfield luck with the rest of their season.  The Smith athletes continue to challenge themselves in and out of the pool everyday- keeping their season goals in mind while keeping their ultimate goal of success at NEWMACs or Nationals.

Thank you to all the family and friends who attended the meet yesterday!  It is always heartwarming to see fans cheering in the stands (and at home watching live feed from the computer).

Until next week- Tuesday, November 13th AWAY at Elms College at 7pm.