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The Athenas won a tight battle for first by 10 points
The Athenas won a tight battle for first by 10 points

CMS Women's Swim and Dive Edges Pomona-Pitzer by 10 Points to Take Back SCIAC Title

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's swimming and diving team held off a challenge from Pomona-Pitzer to win a tight battle for the 2023 SCIAC title by a final of 989-979 on Saturday evening at East Los Angeles College Swim Stadium.

The Athenas took back the SCIAC title that it won in 2020, before the Sagehens edged them last year in 2022. Katy Shaw won the 1650 and was named the SCIAC Newcomer of the Year, while Jameson Mitchum added a win in the 200 back. Emma Ng Pack won the SCIAC Diver of the Year award after winning the one-meter and finishing second in the three-meter, part of a 1-2-3 finish on both boards with Makenna Parkinson and Izzy Doud, which was pivotal to the team victory. 

CMS began the day with a narrow lead, but got off to a great start with the 1650 and the 200 back to build some cushion. Katy Shaw won the 1650 in 17:21.98 for her second win of the week after taking the 500 and also adding a third-place finish in the 200, while Ella Blake finished second in 17:31.49, concluding a big week for her as well, as she won the 200 and finished second in the 500. Alex Towers also came in sixth to add 13 more points to the CMS total, giving them 50 in the event (Shaw earned 20 for the win and Blake earned 17 as the runner-up). 

The 200 back was pivotal to the CMS win as the Athenas placed four in the finals, earning 64 points, led by the 20 from Mitchum for her third SCIAC title in the event (and fourth overall, including a 100 back title from earlier this week). Quinn Katayama-Stall finished in third to earn All-SCIAC honors, while Anna Werts was fourth and Sammy Ennis sixth.

Pomona-Pitzer made up some ground in the 100 free, but Lexi Punishill qualified for the final and provided 15 big points with a fourth-place finish. Augusta Lewis, who swept the IM events earlier in the week, finished second in the 200 breast to earn All-SCIAC honors, with Kelly Prawira also making the podium in third. Mackenzie Mayfield added a fifth-place finish as Pomona-Pitzer wasn't able to pick up any ground in an events where they had three of the top six, including champion Alexandra Gill, who broke both of Annie Perizzolo's SCIAC breaststroke records which had held for 13 years since she set them for the Athenas at the 2010 NCAA Championships, winning both titles. 

The 200 fly produced a similar result, as the Sagehens won the event with Abby Smith taking first for the third straight championship, but Annie Johnson was second, Annika Sharma fourth, and Allyson Yao sixth, meaning that Pomona-Pitzer only made up one point in the final individual event. That left the deficit at 16 points, and Pomona-Pitzer was only able to make up six points in the final relays as CMS was able to hold on for the win. 

Probably the largest factor in the CMS title was Augusta Lewis' decision to come back for her fifth season, as she was able to earn two first-place finishes (200 IM, 400 IM) and a second-place finish in the 200 breast. Mitchum also had two golds (100 back, 200 back) and a silver (200 IM) in her final season, and the CMS divers sweeping the podium twice resulted in 106 points, compared to 42 for the Sagehens. 

The Athenas will be back in action next month for the NCAA Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, where they will try to improve on last year's 11th-place finish. Lewis will try to win an individual national title after finishing second, third and fourth in the 400 IM, 200 IM and 200 breast, respectively.