Thornton, Tech Women Impress in MIT’s Final Home Meet

Women’s swimming hosted the MIT Invitational meet this weekend, an unscored tuneup for postseason competition.

Racing athletes from Middlebury College, Northeastern University, Tufts University, Wheaton College, and Williams College, the Engineers honored their seniors and won three of the 54 events.

Katherine C. Thornton ’07 did not disappoint in her final home competition for the Engineers, displaying two stunning performances that illustrated why she will be so dearly missed. Her time of 17:29.11 in the 1650-yard freestyle on Friday night was not only tops among all swimmers, but was over 16 seconds faster than her next closest competitor. She is now ranked fourth in the nation in the event.

On Saturday afternoon, Thornton returned to the water to place second in the 500-yard freestyle by clocking in at 5:12.75, a shade over four seconds from the NCAA “B” cut.

Diver Doria M. Holbrook ’08 also proved her importance to the Cardinal and Gray’s chances of success in the postseason, as she won the three-meter diving competition with a score of 317.10.

Head coach Dawn B. Gerken reserved special praise for Erika M. Erickson ’08. Her time of 11:42.64 in the 1000-yard freestyle constituted the top MIT time and a personal best in the event.

“Our distance team really impressed me,” Gerken said. “Erika Erickson’s lifetime best in the 1000 free was a great, well-paced swim, while Kate Thornton looked phenomenal in the mile.”

The Engineers have nearly two weeks to prepare for the 2007 New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Championship, which is on Feb. 16 at Wellesley.