Mary Erb ’20 wins NCAA title as women’s swimming finishes Top 10 in the country
She’s a rookie and a national champion: First-year swimmer Mary Erb ’20 won the women’s 200-yard breaststroke at the 2017 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships in Shenandoah, Texas.
With a time of 2:14.61, Erb outswam Williams College's Caroline White, who posted a time of 2:15.08, to become the first Connecticut College first-year student athlete to win an NCAA Championship. It is the seventh NCAA title won by a Conn athlete and the second for the women’s swimming program.
Erb’s win capped a successful weekend of competition for the Camels, who scored 101 points and set a program record with a 10th place overall finish. The team earned All-America accolades in nine events.
“This is an incredible result,” said President Katherine Bergeron. “The formidable women of Connecticut College swimming set a new bar for athletic excellence at the College.”
On the first night of the competition, the 200-yard medley relay team of Maeve Wilber '19, Erb, Lily Gribbel '20 and Olivia Haskell '19 earned All America honors finishing sixth. Also placing sixth and with All America honors was the 400-yard medley relay team of Danielle Fergus '19, Erb, Anna Peterson '17 and Haskell.
Valerie Urban '17 closed out her career with an All-American performance in the 1,650-yard freestyle relay. She finished eighth with a time of 17:01.34.
Urban also earned All America Honorable Mention with a 14th place finish in the 500-yard freestyle. Haskell earned honorable mention with a 14th in the 50-yard freestyle.
Three relay teams also turned in All America Honorable Mention performances: the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Julia Klier '20, Haskell, Juliette Lee '18 and Gribbel (14th place); the 800-yard freestyle relay team of Haskell, Klier, Katie Hammond ’20 and Urban (15th place); and the 400-yard freestyle relay team of Klier, Haskell, Lee and Gribbel finished 16.
Head Coach and five-time NESCAC Coach of the Year Marc Benvenuti attributed the team’s success to hard work and the leadership of several key seniors.
“Practices were intense. We raced and worked hard every day,” he said. “This was a very coachable and adaptable team. The more I challenged them, the better they responded.”