Blue Swim & Dive Opens Season With Thrilling 144-143 Win Over Wheaton

Kayleigh Svensson and the Blue rallied for a 144-143 victory on Saturday (Frank Poulin).
Kayleigh Svensson and the Blue rallied for a 144-143 victory on Saturday (Frank Poulin).

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Wellesley College swimming & diving earned a 1-2-3 sweep in the 200 IM to rally for a 144-143 dual meet victory over New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) rival Wheaton College in the Blue's 2018-19 season opener on Saturday at Chandler Pool.

Trailing 127-111 following Event 13, the Blue swept the top three spots in the 200 IM and finished second in the 400 Free Relay to clinch their first dual meet victory of the year. Wheaton is now 2-2 in dual meets.

First years Jessica Wegner (Taipei, Taiwan) and Shelby Ripp (St. Louis, Mo.) finished one-two for the Blue in the 200 IM, with senior Sunny Chiang (Troy, Mich.) took third. Wegner's time of 2:15.24 was her second first place finish of the day, while Ripp took second in 2:15.43 and Chiang added a time of 2:18.18.

In all, Wegner was one of three Blue first years, along with classmates Hannah May (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Peyton Wang (Palo Alto, Calif.), to earn victories in their collegiate debuts on Saturday. Wegner was also the only competitor to finish under a minute in the 100 Fly earlier in the meet with a first place time of 59.15. 

May earned Wellesley's first win of the meet with a thrilling first place finish in the 200 Free. May finished in 1:58.44, touching the wall just ahead of Wheaton rookie Delia MacLaughlin (Powell, Ohio), who finished the race in 1:58.67. The Blue had three of the top four spots in the 200 Free, with Ripp and classmate Paulina Gonzalez (Caracas, Venezuela) taking third and fourth in 2:02.55 and 2:04.61, respectively.

Wang took first in 55.38 in the 100 Free, again besting MacLaughlin for Wellesley. MacLaughlin finished in 55.41 to lead Wheaton in the event, ahead of May, who took third in 55.69. Junior Kayleigh Svensson (Palo Alto, Calif.) also grabbed a Blue victory in the 200 Back, finishing just of Wheaton junior Katherine Vitello (West Kingston, R.I.) in 2:14.51. Vitello recorded a time of 2:14.78.

The Blue swept both diving events, as senior Ingrid Henderson (Berkeley, Calif.) and first year Emma Roberts (Boxford, Mass.) were the only two competitors. Henderson totaled 210.00 on the 1-meter and 210.52 on the 3-meter. Roberts finished with scores of 193.21 on the 1-meter and 186.45 on the 3-meter.

Wheaton earned victories in the remaining events, despite close finishes in both the 50 Free and the 200 Breast. In the 50 Free, junior Maggie Lawler (Bingham Farms, Mich.) out-sprinted Wegner to win the event 25.25 to 25.32. Wheaton earned three of the top-four spots in the 200 Breast, but junior Erin Kean (Shrewsbury, Mass.) narrowly defeated Blue junior Danielle Peterson (Livingston, N.J.) with a time of 2:34.25. Peterson was just tenths of a second back at 2:34.32.

Wheaton's victory in the 400 Free Relay wasn't enough to rally the Lyons for the win, as Wellesley took both second and third to earn a total of six points and hold on for the 144-143 final.

Wellesley returns home to host Simmons next Saturday, November 10, at 1:00 PM. Wheaton will travel to Bridgewater St. for a 6:00 PM dual meet on Wednesday, November 7.