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CMS men's and women's teams celebrating their SCIAC titles

CMS Women's Swimming and Diving Wins SCIAC Title; Lewis Repeats as Swimmer of the Year

COMMERCE, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's swimming and diving took a lead into the final day of competition and dominated the individual events to pull away as the Athenas earned the 2020 SCIAC Championship by almost 100 points over second-place Pomona-Pitzer on Sunday at the Brenda Villa Aquatic Center.

Sophomore Augusta Lewis, who set her third SCIAC meet record in three individual events on her way to winning the 200-yard breaststroke on Sunday, was named the SCIAC Swimmer of the Year for the second year in a row. She also was named the Newcomer of the Year last season, an award which this season went to Ella Blake, who was second in a 1-2-3 finish in the 1650 on Sunday, but earlier won the 200 free and the 500 free to earn two golds and one silver in her first SCIAC competition. 

Lewis won the SCIAC top swimmer honor last year after a runner-up finish, which was still a proud accomplishment, but she found this year to far exceed it. 

"This was so much more rewarding," Lewis said of being able to win the team title to go along with her individual accolades. "I think we've all trained so hard, and we really came together as a team It means a lot to jump in the pool together and share the championship together."

CMS finished the meet with 1196 points, while Pomona-Pitzer was second with 1104, followed by a big drop-off to third place, which Chapman held with 490 points. 

The Athenas entered the final day with a 50-point lead, and any thoughts of that lead slipping away were pretty much vanquished in the first event, when CMS finished with the top three finishers in the 1650, as well as No. 5 and No. 6. First-year Gracey Hiebert won the championship in 17:12.18, followed closely by Blake in 17:14.77 and junior Mia Syme in third at 17:26.96 to sweep the podium. First-year Arisa Cowe also came in fifth place, while sophomore Leila El Masri was sixth, as the Athenas earned 90 points from five swimmers, while second-place Pomona-Pitzer had only 37. 

CMS kept up the momentum in the 200-yard backstroke, where first-year Jameson Mitchum set a new SCIAC meet record with a finish in 2:00.70, which also set a new Athena program record as well, breaking the old mark of 2:02.10 held by Tessa Dover since 2010. Junior Christina Campbell was third in 2:03.85, while sophomore Natalie Larsen and junior Stephanie Lewis finished in seventh and ninth after qualifying for the finals to add to the CMS point total. 

Junior Natalia Orbach-Mandel just missed a win in the 100 free, finishing in 51.56 to fall just .11 behind winner Haley Kirtland of Pomona-Pitzer, while juniors Janet Tran and Allie Umemoto qualified for the finals and finished fourth and fifth.

Lewis then stepped up and finished off a spectacular weekend with her third SCIAC meet record in as many tries, winning the 200-yard breaststroke in a time of 2:16.81. Sophomore Rachel Wander also qualified for the finals and came in fourth, while first-year Lexi Lee won the consolation heat. 

Sophomore Ava Sealander set a meet record in the 100 fly yesterday and tried to win a second SCIAC title of the weekend, but came in a close second to Abby Smith of Pomona-Pitzer. Cowe and Umemoto also reached the finals and came in sixth and seventh for the Athenas. 

The final relay was drama-free as the only thing to determine was whether the final margin would be 100 points or not, but a very tight 400-yard freestyle went to Pomona-Pitzer in meet record time 3:26.74 to 3:27.18, as Tran, Umemoto, Lewis and Orbach-Mandel swam the second-best time in program history in a runner-up finish. The Sagehen relay win made the final margin of victory 92, but it was still a convincing win for a CMS team that came up short a year ago. 

The Athenas also shared championship honors with the Stags, who prevailed in their half of the SCIAC Championships in a close 14-point battle. Lewis was thrilled that both halves of the program could celebrate together. 

"We all train together, and we're a really close team," Lewis said. "I think it's great that we were able to share that together."

Several athletes will continue on to the NCAA Championships in Greensboro, N.C. next month, including Lewis, who will be gunning for All-America honors in her sophomore season.