The Purchase College women’s swim team made school history on December 7 at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, swimming to its first-ever Hudson Valley Women’s Athletic Conference Championship title.
The Panthers, who won the league championship earlier in the season behind a perfect 4-0 record, totaled 355 team points, outdueling second place finisher Mount Saint Vincent (318) and perennial powerhouse and six-time defending champ Sarah Lawrence, who took third (239).
There was high drama from the beginning of the meet. Purchase rebounded from an unfortunate start in the 200 medley relay. Although the Panthers would go on to set a league record in the event, the team would be disqualified for swimming in the wrong lane. During the first heat, Purchase boasted a 2:09.49 time—shattering the HVWAC record, but the DQ cost the Panthers their first place finish.
Trailing by a large margin after the first event, Purchase used its troubled start as motivation. The Panthers would go on to set two league championship records. Jessica Brothers (SO/Putnam Valley, NY) set a new mark in the 100 individual medley with a 1:10.14 showing, while teammate Kimberley Garrett (JR/Ossining, NY) dusted the competition in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:16.74 finish.
Purchase would go on to take nine first place finishes out of 14 events. Janine Brennan (SR/Somers, NY) took first in the 500 freestyle and 50 freestyle; Brothers placed first in the 200 individual medley, 100 yard butterfly and 100 yard individual medley; Garrett in the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke; and Jen Cruttenden (FR/Watkins Glen, NY) in the 200 freestyle. The relay team of Brennan, Garrett, Cruttenden, Patricia Orellana (JR/ New York, NY) also took first in the 200 freestyle relay.
At the conclusion of the championship meet, Purchase received a league championship trophy and a team championship trophy for its outstanding season in the HVWAC. Brennan, Garrett and Brothers were also named to the HVWAC All-Conference team.
Purchase Athletic Director Ernie Palmieri, who attended the championships, congratulated the Panthers on a job well done. “We’re very proud of the team,” said Palmieri, adding that the team will be recognized with a championship banner. “They’ve done a marvelous job and are a true representation of Purchase athletics and Purchase College.”
The Panthers season isn’t over, though. They return to action on Jan. 23 against Fairleigh-Dickinson-Madison on the road and have another home meet on Feb. 2 against USMMA. Purchase will also host the Skyline Conference Championships on Feb. 9.