CMS Women's Swimming and Diving Ranked No. 18 in Preseason Poll
CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's swimming and diving team, which has its first meet in almost two years on Saturday, will begin the 2021-22 season nationally ranked in the top 20 as it holds down the No. 18 position in the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America preseason poll, the organization announced today.
The Athenas last competed at the 2020 SCIAC Championships, earning a dominant win over Pomona-Pitzer by almost 100 points. CMS was optimistic about a strong performance at the NCAA Division III Championships that March, but athletics was shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic just one week before they were scheduled to travel to nationals.
The 11 Athenas who had tickets booked to nationals all earned All-America distinction after the championships were canceled, and seven of them are returning this winter to try to help the program pick up where it left off.
Leading the way will be senior Augusta Lewis, who was trending towards earning a spot as one of the greatest CMS women's swimmers of all-time. Lewis earned the SCIAC Swimmer of the Year Award as both a first-year and a sophomore, and was a national title contender in the IM events in 2020 before losing the chance to compete. She holds school records in both the 200 IM and the 400 IM and ranks second in the 200-yard breaststroke and third in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Junior Jameson Mitchum is also a school record holder in the 200-yard backstroke, and places fourth in school history in the 100 back. She earned the SCIAC title in the 200 back in 2020, knocking 1.4 seconds off the old CMS record, which had held for 10 years.
Junior Ella Blake was named the SCIAC Newcomer of the Year in 2020 after winning the 200 free and the 500 free at the league championships. She enters the 2021-22 campaign ranked No. 2 in CMS history in the 200 free, third in the 800 free, eighth in the 1000, and eighth in the 1650.
Blake might have won three SCIAC titles, but she settled for second in the 1650 behind her own teammate, Gracey Hiebert, who is back again to swim the distance events after earning All-America honors as a first-year. Her 1650 time at the SCIACs places her sixth all-time in CMS history.
Senior Ava Sealander ranks second in CMS history in three different individual events, and will be an All-America contender in the butterfly this season. Sealander has won the 100 fly in both SCIAC Championships they have competed in, and qualified for the NCAA Championships in both seasons as well.
Senior Natalia Orbach-Mandel took a gap year to come back for her senior season, and she will return to her key role as a sprinter and relay anchor. She ranks fourth in CMS history in the 100 free and 200 free, and sixth in the 50 free, and she swam the fastest 100 free relay split in program history (50.65).
Junior Suzanne Starzyk earned All-America honors in two relay events and will be a top breaststroker for the Athenas this season, where she ranks seventh in CMS history in the 100 (as well as sixth in the 50 free).
The Athenas also have even more depth beyond the seven returning All-Americans. In the Class of 2022, Natalie Larsen ranks in the top five in CMS history in three events, including fourth in the 400 IM, fifth in the 200 IM and fifth in the 200 back. Senior Rachel Wander will be a top breaststroker for the Athenas again, where she stands ranked No. 5 in CMS history in the 100 and No. 7 in the 200. Leila El Masri, meanwhile, ranks ninth in school history in the 500 free and helped set a school record in the 800 free relay in 2019.
In the junior class, Annie Johnson (third) and Arisa Cowe (fifth) both rank among the top swimmers in school history in the 200 fly. Lexi Lee came in fifth in the 200 IM at the SCIAC Championships and sixth in the 400 IM. Makenna Parkinson and Kimiko Adler are also back to lead the diving contingent, after Parkinson finished fourth in the SCIAC Championships in the three-meter and Adler was fifth in the one-meter. Emily Warner also had the fourth-fastest time in prelims at the SCIAC Championships in the 100 fly.
After traveling to UC San Diego this weekend, the Athenas will be back at home for their annual Alumni meet on Oct. 30, and then open SCIAC competition at home against Occidental on Nov. 6 at 10 a.m. CMS will also host Pomona-Pitzer in its annual two-day meet on Dec. 3-4 to cap off the first semester.
To view the complete CSCAA Division III preseason polls, go to the following link:
CSCAA Division III polls