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Ben Goldsmith / Senior Staff Photographer

After starting the season on a losing spell, the Lions finished in third place among 14 teams at the Rutgers Invitational.

Women’s swimming and diving had a strong weekend showing at the Frank Elm Invitational at Rutgers, finishing in third place with a score of 1229.5, behind Navy and the host, Rutgers.

The weekend started out on a high note for the Lions, as the 200-yard freestyle relay team of first-year Susie Zhu, junior Mary Ashby, senior Kate O’Rourke, and first-year Jessica He set a Rutgers pool record with a time of 1:31.95. The squad returned to the pool for the 800-yard relay for a fourth-place finish and a second-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle.

“It was really exciting and a great way to start the meet,” head coach Diana Caskey said. “We were really competitive in all of our relays. We came just four tenths of a second short in the 400-yard free relay on the last night, so the relays are always a lot of fun.”

Zhu’s other weekend successes included a second-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle and fourth-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle. Ashby took second in the 50-yard freestyle, seventh in the 200-yard freestyle, and third in the 100-yard freestyle on the final day.

Sophomore Helen Wojdylo continued her strong season with a 500-yard freestyle in just under five minutes to take fifth place, finished in seventh place in the 100-yard breaststroke, and fifth place in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Ending the first day of competition, junior Jessica Antiles and He posted strong results in the 200-yard individual medley after taking fifth and seventh place to cap off the championship finals finishes for the Lions.

The second day saw six Columbia A-level finishes. Sophomore Julia Samson ended the 100-yard backstroke with a second-place time of 54.88. The team of Samson, Antiles, first-year Emily Wang, and O’Rourke just barely beat the squad of Zhang, Wojdoylo, Zhu, and He in the 200-yard medley relay to finish in second and third.

First-year Allyssa Phelps went fifth in the 400-yard individual medley, and the Lions closed out the day with both Wojdoylo and Antiles in the 100-yard breaststroke finishing seventh and eighth, respectively.

Samson opened the final day of competition in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:58.46 to earn second place. Ashby then followed with a third-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle.

The winner of the weekend, the U.S. Naval Academy, finished with 1648 points, followed by Rutgers with 1447.5 points, rounding out the top three on the weekend.

“I thought we put together a great three-day meet, both in terms of what we did in the water as well as what we did in preparation,” Caskey said.

Columbia will next participate in the NCAA Winter Championships and ECAC Winter Championships from Dec. 1 to Dec. 3. | @CUSpecSports

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