The University of Richmond women’s swimming and diving team lost to Villanova University 169-131 on Friday at the Robins Center Natatorium.
This is the only meet the Spiders host at the Natatorium and it recognized senior swimmers Sara Greene, Olivia Hutton, Lauren Medlin, Claire O’Shaughnessy, Jenna Miller, Mattie Williams and Rachel Pak.
“Four years is a long time,” Medlin said, “But I just feel so connected to this team now, it is a part of who I am.”
Medlin said it was nice to swim in a pool they’re all comfortable in.
“We know the walls and we know the blocks really well. We don’t have to get used to anything during warmups. It’s definitely just muscle memory,” Medlin said.
The meet began with the diving events: UR first-year Sally Harrington and UR first-year Tess Weatherhead representing the team.
The two divers tied for second on the 3m board with a score of 236.18. On the 1m board, Harrington took second with a score of 237.45 and Weatherhead took third with a score of 236.7.
Junior swimmer Katelyn Pennell pulled ahead during the first 25 meters of the 200-medley relay. Greene helped the team push forward during the breaststroke.
Sophomore swimmer Abby Fuller and Medlin helped put space between Villanova in lane four and the relay team finished first with a time of 1:45.67. The remaining two UR teams finished in third and fifth.
The 200-yard freestyle was a close race between UR and Villanova.
First-year swimmer Katie Chignell was neck and neck with Villanova for most of the race. During the last 25 meters of the race, Chignell pulled ahead and beat out Villanova for first with a time of 1:54.15, an improvement of .42 from her seed time.
Junior swimmer Lucy Yeomans took 5th with a time of 1:56.91 and junior swimmer Alexa Connors took 6th with a time of 1:58.04. Yeomans took third in the 100 free with Chignell taking sixth.
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Connors led during the first 50 meters of the 500-meter freestyle, with junior swimmer Megan Carson close behind in lane three. The swimmers kept a consistent pace throughout the race, but after 400 meters, Villanova pulled ahead.
The 50 free was a charged event, each swimmer neck and neck, with Fuller soon pulling out in front and finishing first at 23.56. Medlin finished in second at 23.81 and first-year swimmer Julia Krichev placed third with a time of 24.53.
“I haven’t felt that fast in a race in a long time,” Medlin said, “I’ve been trying to go faster and I was able to do that.”
During the 100-meter butterfly, UR held tight to first place for the entire race. Fuller took first at 56.30. The Spiders took third and fourth.
UR also took second, third and fourth in the 200-meter butterfly.
Sophomore swimmer Carstyn Klosterman started the 200-yard backstroke ahead of the other swimmers but was soon passed by Villanova after the first 50.
Both Klosterman and first-year swimmer Caroline Weldon kept close to Villanova and were close to first but lost by 0.05, with Weldon taking second, Pennell taking third and Klosterman taking sixth.
UR women’s swim head coach Matt Barany said he was happy the team is back and racing.
“Honestly, I think there are a lot of highlights,” Barany said. “One of the things that I like to see is that we went out and we got in the races, and we raced.”
Barany said the team faded a bit at points but he was proud of the swimmers for not shying away from the challenge.
“These women deserve enormous credit, and I will forever be appreciative of their role in trying to navigate these last three years,” he said.
Barany wishes the team could host more meets at the natatorium as the swimmers are on the road for most of their competitions.
“You want to go to college and be able to race in your home court and your home field and have that advantage and we don’t have that enough,” Barany said.
The swim and dive team will race against Fordham University at 11 a.m. Jan. 21 at Fordham University in New York.
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