Rebecca Schantz / The Dartmouth
"We swam against [the University of Vermont] at home, but it was during interim, so this was really our first real meet and it was really fun to have the stands full with a lot of friends and parents here to watch," women's co-captain Erin Henn '14 said.
In addition to honoring the seniors, the meet was also a chance to recognize the generosity of two swimming and diving alums, Steve Mullins '54 and Victoria Hall Gmelich '91, who have contributed to the team as supporters and benefactors. The Big Green rose to the occasion, swimming in front of an energetic home crowd that included Interim President Carol Folt and athletic director Harry Sheehy.
After losing to UConn last season, Dartmouth was optimistic about its chances this year.
"Last year they beat us in a close meet that came down to the end," head coach Jim Wilson said. "This year we are a stronger team than we were a year ago, thanks to our new freshman class."
Both the men and women had emphatic starts to the meet, out-touching their competition across the boards as both teams took first-, second- and third-place finishes in the 200-yard medley relay.
"Being able to start off strong definitely put the team in really high spirits and set the tone for the rest of the meet," men's co-captain Zack Doherty '13 said.
Doherty is a member of The Dartmouth Staff.
The first-place finishes continued as Olivia Samson '16 touched the wall first in the 1000-yard freestyle, the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle, controlling the middle-distance and long-distance events of the meet. Fellow freshman Jun Oh '16 complemented these victories with his own on the men's side, including posting a season-best time in the 1000-yard freestyle.
"Having a freshman swim two really hard events back to back and win them was a really great way to start the meet and carry on the streak," Doherty said.
Both squads also had a clean sweep of the breaststroke events, with Charlotte Williams '13 taking first place in both the 100-yard and the 200-yard breaststroke on the women's side, and Nejc Zupan '14 besting his opponents on the men's side.
"Zupan is like a warm cup of cocoa on a winter day because he is so comforting to have on the team," Wilson said. "Any event you put him in, he is going to win."
Kendese Nangle '16 also had a strong individual performance, taking first place in two of her three events, touching the wall first in the 100-yard backstroke and the 50-yard freestyle.
Despite a few glitches that the team must work through before the final meet of the regular season, the men and women posted strong times across the boards, Wilson said.
The divers also had strong performances, earning points to help contribute to the Big Green's success.
Even though it was not the seniors' last home meet of the season, the opportunity to honor the Class of 2013 made for a very special day for the swimming and diving teams.
"It was a sentimental meet for everyone," Henn said. "A lot of people's parents were here, so it was definitely a high energy meet."
After devoting countless time and energy to the team, the seniors were recognized for their dedication to the program in a ceremony that they had watched from the other side for the past three years.
"Being recognized by our underclassmen was a very cool ceremony," Doherty said. "It has been great to watch the senior ceremony every year, but to be the ones in the spotlight and given that respect as a class was a very nice feeling this year."
Since they first joined the squad freshman year, the Class of 2013 has seen the teams make great strides and experience tremendous growth.
"The seniors have seen us at bad times," Wilson said. "They were here before we started moving in the league. The swing that we have made in their four years here has been pretty amazing."
The seniors will have one last chance to shine in home waters as both the men and the women take on Columbia University at Karl Michael Pool next Sunday.