SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – The Lyon of the Week has been announced this week's honor goes to senior Cathleen Pruden for her incredible efforts at last week's NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships. Pruden concluded her collegiate career at the event, solidifying herself as one of the best swimmers in program history.
Pruden, who hails from nearby Raleigh, N.C., earned National All-America and Honorable Mention All-America recognition at Nationals last week. Additionally, she placed no lower than 18th in her three events, including a third-place finish in her signature event - the 400-individual medley.
The former Ravenscroft School standout had an incredible start to her final NCAA Championship on Wednesday evening. In the 200-yard individual medley, she finished 14th overall in the event to earn Honorable Mention All-America with a time of 2:05.41.
Pruden then moved on to Thursday and the 400-IM, where she battled to finish third in her best event with a time of 4:22.21, becoming the only swimmer in Mount Holyoke history to earn All-America honors in three consecutive years. The Lyons' captain then concluded her career in the 1650-free, finishing 18th overall with a time of 17:18.03 on Saturday.
She came into Nationals after posting an outstanding effort at the NEWMAC Championships where she was named the conference's Swimmer of the Year for the second straight season. During that meet, she posted three school records, achieved two NCAA B Cuts and defended her title in the 400-IM event for the fourth straight year with a meet and conference-record time of 4:21.77.
Additionally, she finished no less than seventh in any of the seven events she competed. Among her top performances, included the 400-IM, a win in the 200-IM for the second straight season (school record time of 2:04.40) and placing third in the 1650-free with a season's best time of 17:15.78.
A dominant force for the Lyons this season, Pruden recorded 41 first-place finishes, including 33 individual wins. In addition to finishing third or better in 48 of 54 total races, she placed no less than seventh in any event - with the exception of the 1650-free at NCAA's. She recorded at least two wins in all 11 dual meets, including 10 with three or more victories.
Pruden had an outstanding campaign in 2014-15, highlighting the year with her second straight National All-America honor after finishing eighth at the NCAA Championships in the 400-individual medley. She is the only swimmer in Lyons' history to earn All-America (top-eight) honors twice.
The NEWMAC Swimmer of the Year in 2014-15, Pruden powered her way to 37 victories in the pool last season. In addition to achieving 10 school records, she also defended her NEWMAC title in the 400-IM, posting a conference meet and open record time. She was also the conference champion in the 200-IM and the 1650-freestyle. Among her other top performances was at the 2015 Seven Sisters Championships, where she claimed victory in five events, setting two meet records and achieving two NCAA B Cuts as well.
Pruden has established herself as one of the all-time best at Mount Holyoke through three seasons. In 2013-14, she became the first swimmer in program history to finish in the top-eight at Nationals, garnering All-America in the 400-IM. She was a four-event winner at the Seven Sisters Championship, as well as the NEWMAC Champion in the 400-IM.
During her rookie campaign, she was named the NEWMAC Rookie of the Year – the first-time ever by an MHC swimmer – after winning two events in record fashion. Pruden, who was a three-time Swimmer of the Week honoree in the conference, also posted two victories at Seven Sisters.
In her career, Pruden is a two-time NCAA National All-American in the 400-IM. A two-time CSCAA National All-America First Team honoree, she is also an eight-time NEWMAC champion as well as a two-time conference Swimmer of the Year recipient. Pruden is an eight-time NEWMAC All-Conference First Team selection, as well as a 17-time Seven Sisters Champion.
Named the NEWMAC Swimmer of the Week 15 times during her career, including six during the 2015-16 campaign, she is a record holder in five Seven Sisters events. Pruden also holds 13 of Mount Holyoke's 23 school records, including nine individual.
Interior photo courtesy of the NCAA and the SCAC featuring Pruden (left), Williams College's Megan Pierce - 2016 National Champion (middle) and Kenyon College's Marysol Arce (right).