Led by 18th-year head coach Dave Allen, the Mount Holyoke swimming & diving team had a solid run in 2015-16. The Lyons posted a dual meet record of 8-2, finished third at Seven Sisters and were ninth at the NEWMAC Championships.
MHC, which posted victories over the University of New England, Westfield State University, Western Connecticut State University, Clark University, Vassar College, Trinity College, Simmons College and Smith College. This season, the Lyons headed to Wellesley for Seven Sisters, where it proved to be another record setting year.
Pacing the effort at Seven Sisters was senior Cathleen Pruden, who claimed first in the 200-IM, 400-IM, 200-breast, 1650-free and the 200-free relay. She also recorded meet records in three events, while notching a school record in the 200-breast. For her efforts, Pruden, along with juniors Katie Tyler, Anne Kuenning and Emily Craig, were all named to the All-Tournament Team.
MHC headed into the NEWMAC Championship in fine form following wins over Simmons (153-140) and Smith (157-142) to close out the dual meet schedule. Pruden once again stole the show at NEWMAC's, winning her fourth straight title in the 400-IM with a meet, open and school record time of 4:21.77. She also defended her title in the 200-IM, posting another school record. For her efforts, Pruden was named the NEWMAC Swimmer of the Year for the second straight season.
As a team, the Lyons finished ninth overall, backed by a number of strong performances, including Kuenning, who finished ninth in the 100-back (1:00.13) and 10th in the 200-back (2:11.78).
There were a number of record-breaking relays as well, including the 800-free (7:55.52) and the 400-medley (4:00.59), which both finished seventh. The 800-free relay was comprised of Pruden, Craig, first year Bri Groves and senior Erica Carvell, while Pruden, Kuenning, Groves and Tyler competed in the 400-medley.
While the team's season came to a close following NEWMAC's, Pruden's season continued on once again. Powered by her finish in the 400-IM, she earned a third-place ranking in the nation to advance to the 2016 NCAA Championships in Greensboro, N.C.
Competing in three events at Nationals – all of which she entered ranked in the top-15 in Division III - Pruden opened with a 14th-place finish in the 200-IM, recording a time of 2:05.41 to earn Honorable Mention All-America honors. She then tackled her signature event, the 400-IM, the following day. During the morning prelims, Pruden qualified for the event finals with a time of 4:25.24.
In a field of incredible talent, Pruden 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 battled back in the championship final holding second at the end of the breaststroke before she was edged out in the final leg.
Pruden is the only swimmer in MHC history to finish in the top eight three times, having earned fourth overall in the 400-IM at the 2014 Championships and eighth in 2015.
The season concluded for Pruden a day later as she closed out her final trip to Nationals with an 18th-place finish in the 1650-free, posting a time of 17:18.03. All told, Pruden notched seven school records during the season, including several in the same events.
Academically, 15 student-athletes were named to the NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Team, while the squad garnered CSCAA Scholar All-America honors. The Lyons concluded the Fall 2015 semester with the top grade point average among all teams recognized in Division III – women or men – boasting a mark of 3.71.
• Finished third at the Seven Sisters Championships
• Individuals claimed titles at the Championship
– 200-IM, 400-IM, 200-breast, 1650-free (Cathleen Pruden '16)
– 200-free relay (Kuenning, Craig, Tyler, Pruden)
• Seven Sisters All-Tournament Team – Cathleen Pruden '16, Anne Kuenning '17, Emily Craig '17, Katie Tyler '17
• Seven Sisters Records – broken in 2015 (200-IM, 1650-free & 200-breast)
• Ninth overall at NEWMAC Championships
• NEWMAC All-Conference – Cathleen Pruden '16 – Champion (400-IM & 200-IM)
• Cathleen Pruden '16 – Won 41 races and re-set seven school records
• 6x NEWMAC Swimmer of the Week (11/3, 12/7, 1/19, 1/25, 2/1, 2/8) – Cathleen Pruden '16
• NEWMAC Swimmer of the Year – Cathleen Pruden '16
• NEWMAC Academic All-Conference – Claire Beckett '18, Amy Lim '18, Topaz Mukulu '18, Rachel Polfer '18, Emily Craig '17, Anne Kuenning '17, Corrine Green '17, Katie Tyler '18, Erica Carvell '16, Sarah Crocker '16, Kelly Sin Ee Lim '16, Sarah McKay '16, Cathleen Pruden '16 and Emily Serio '16.