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Eph Women Win 100th Consecutive Dual Meet, 188-106 Over Springfield
January 25, 2003

Each week, Carl Samuelson, affectionately called “Sammer” by his swimmers, sits in the stands with his wife, cheering for the team he founded. Decades ago, three driven female swimmers, two transfer students and one exchange student, asked Sammer if they could train with the men’s junior varsity swim team. Although he could not provide female competition for these girls, Sammer accepted these three women. At the end of the season, the women asked to compete at the New England Championships. After debating with the league president, the three women were allowed to represent Williams at the meet. Sammer and his team of three drove all the way to the tip of Maine to swim at the University of Maine. Despite the small number of participants, the Williams women swam fast enough to place 13th out of 36 teams. Sammer fondly recalls that the girls sang all the way home from Maine, proud of their accomplishment.

This was the beginning of a long tradition of victory for the Williams women swimming program. But more importantly, the motivation and dedication of these women has persisted to make the Williams swim team achieve an incredible accomplishment. Today, against Springfield, the women won their 100th consecutive dual meet victory.

The dual meet tradition began in 1986 against Vassar. The meet took place at Vassar and the Williams women won with ease. Sammer explains that the most important part of the meet against Vassar was the punch and cookies that the women enjoyed after the meet. “It must have been about the socializing,” says Sammer. The social aspect of the team is the glue that keeps this strong team together and united.

The following year, Vassar came to Williams, and once again, the Williams women had no trouble beating Vassar. The winning tradition continued through Sammer’s reign as coach, but it didn’t stop there! Current Head Coach Steve Kuster took over 4 years ago. Although Kuster’s training differs from Sammer’s style, Kuster has extended the winning streak over the past four years. As Sammer explains, the women have “continued the ride.”

Two years ago, the women had a close meet against Middlebury, but pulled ahead in the second half of the meet in order to win. Amherst has also provided competition for the Williams women. However, the Williams team has consistently been stronger and deeper, enabling the continuation of this winning streak.

Coach Kuster believes today’s 100th victory is “a credit to the school, the department, to Sam, but most importantly, to all the women that have participated in the program. This speaks of how well these women have been able to balance academics and a rigorous training regiment, while having fun and competing at a high level.”

As Junior Sarah Wilson says, “While the 100th win was exciting for this particular team, it’s more amazing to think about all the people that have contributed to this incredible winning streak.”

Co-Captain Zibby Stokes is excited about the continued possibilities of this program. “I can’t wait to see how long this will last and how far the team can take it,” says Stokes.

This victory marks the combined efforts of both head coaches, the dedication of the women athletes, and the team unity of the Williams Women Swimming and Diving Team.

AND ONE MAKES 100 WINS IN A ROW

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Williams College women's swimming & diving team is 5-0 on the year after downing Springfield College 188-106 in a home meet. The win was the Ephs' 100th consecutive win in Division III dual and tri-meets.

The Williams women have been the premier team in New England since beginning Varsity competition in 1975. The Ephs are 201-21 (.905) all-time. Williams won the last 11 New England Division III Championship Meets they competed in (1990-2000) and the Ephs have won the first two NESCAC Championship Meets (2001 & 2002).

Williams also captured the first two NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving titles contested back in 1982 and 1983.

The 100th win by the Ephs came in their home pool, The Carl R. Samuelson and Robert. B. Muir Pool. Samuelson coached the Eph women from 1975through the 1998-99 season and he won two NCAA titles (1982 & 1983), 14 New England titles, coached 36 NCAA individual champions and 108 All-Americans while rolling up a record of 174-21 (.892).

Samuelson also coached the Ephmen's swimming & diving team from 1967-99, succeeding Robert Muir who coached the Ephs from 1937-66.

Although 'Sam' is responsible for 73 of the 100 wins he does not recall the one that started the streak. "I remember our very first meet at Vassar in 1975 [66-47 win], but I do not recall the one that started this streak, "said Samuelson. "Vassar was so excited to host us they had a punch and cookie reception for us after the meet." After losing at Bowdoin on January 23, 1988 141-128 the Ephs started the streak at home vs. Mt Holyoke when they won 167-101.

"There was never any effort required on my part to motivate these women, "said retired swim coach Carl Samuelson. "Right from the start they just wanted to represent Williams in the best way they could. I guess it was due to how smoothly the transition to co-education went here. Every member of the team was very attached to and committed to the program and they have all seemed excited about staying in touch after graduation. It's been a great ride."

During the current streak the Ephs have had few serious challenges, but The biggest one came at Bowdoin in 2000. The Ephs have defeated Bowdoin 14 straight times since the loss in 1988, but the 2000 Ephs almost out-coached themselves.

Current Head Coach Steve Kuster and assistant coach Dave Polen decided to juggle the Eph lineup and "go exhibition so as to not run up the score" at Bowdoin in 2000. "We almost miscalculated and cost ourselves the meet," said Kuster. "Which I guess would have been the ultimate rookie head coach mistake." The Ephs, however, did end up eking out an eight-point win -- 143-135 for win number 78.

Of the 21 losses in the Ephs' women's swimming and diving 29-year history, only five have come to Division III schools: Amherst, Bowdoin and Mt. Holyoke have one victory over Williams, while Smith has two. Smith is also the only Division III team to defeat the Ephs in Williamstown (75-56, January 24, 1981).

"When you think about it, the 100 wins in a row, it has been more than a decade of excellence that started with 'Coach Sam' [Carl Samuelson] and thankfully continues today," said Kuster. "It's a credit to the college and the athletic department, but mostly to the young ladies who (over the years) have done an incredible job of balancing hard work in the classroom and the pool with an ability to enjoy the process and have fun, all the while competing at the highest levels."

Last winter the Ephs finished fourth at the NCAA Championships and this year they are gunning for yet another top five finish.