GREENSBORO, N.C. – Mount Holyoke College senior captain Cathleen Pruden earned her third straight National All-America honor on Thursday evening, finishing third in the 400-individual medley at the NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships. Pruden is the only swimmer to earn All-America honors at Mount Holyoke.
In a field of incredible talent, Pruden (Raleigh, N.C./Ravenscroft School) finished third overall in her signature event with a time of 4:22.21. She came into the evening finals seeded sixth after recording a time of 4:25.24 in the morning preliminaries.
Pruden, who finished eighth in the 400-IM last season and fourth during her sophomore year, battled back in the championship final holding second at the end of the breaststroke. She was just edged out of runner-up as Kenyon's Marysol Arce touched just before her.
Tonight's race was the second of three races at this year's Nationals for Pruden, who finished 14th overall in the 200-IM on Wednesday to earn Honorable Mention All-America with a time of 2:05.41
Pruden secured her position at this year's Nationals after having 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 47 of 51 total races, she placed no less than seventh in any event. She recorded at least two wins in all 11 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.
A former standout at the Ravenscroft School, 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.
Pruden's final swim at NCAA's will come on Saturday as she competes in the 1650-freestyle. The top eight finishers in the finals of each event earn All-American status. Those who finish between 9th and 16th are Honorable Mention All-Americans.