Swim and dive teams down Tufts, turn sights to NESCACs

In their last dual meet of the season, men’s and women’s swimming and diving (7-0) swept a previously undefeated Tufts squad (men: 9-1, women: 6-3) Saturday afternoon at the Carl R. Samuelson and Robert B. Muir pool. The men beat Tufts by a score of 174-116 while the women outscored the Jumbos 290-91.

“I think that it was a pretty fun meet,” said co-captain Elliot Gansner ’02. “We had a lot of people swim [their] best times.”

Saturday’s victory was the women’s 95th consecutive dual meet win, a streak that began under former Williams coach Carl Samuelson against Mt. Holyoke on January 27, 1988. Additionally, the meet was “Senior Recognition Day,” honoring the 16 team members who will be graduating in the class of 2002.

“In general, the meets were very positive,” said head coach Steve Kuster. “This was the last dual meet for the seniors, so it’s nice for them to end at home in front of family and friends.”

Leading the way for the Ephwomen was Meredith Olson ’04, who won three events on the afternoon: the 100-yard breaststroke (1:11.74), 100-yard freestyle (54.43) and the 200-yard individual medley (2:12.62). Cristin Brennan ’02 also won two events, the 100-yard backstroke (1:04.32) and the 500-yard freestyle (5:07.55)

Also winning events on the women’s side were co-captain Britta Hult ’02 in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:33.98), Zibby Stokes ’03 in the 200-yard butterfly (2:18.95), Chrissy Milkosky ’04 in the 200-yard freestyle (1:58.09), Zan Armstrong ’04 in the 100-yard butterfly (1:02.29) and Jessica Yankura ’05 in the 50-yard freestyle (25.29) and Mary Stranghover ’05 in the 200-yard backstroke (2:15.30).

Co-captain Ben Doob ’02 was the only dual event winner for the Ephmen. Doob won both the 200- (1:58.38) and the 400-yard (4:07.04) individual medley races in his last collegiate dual meet. Co-captain Elliot Gansner ’02 won the 100-yard breaststroke (59:59) while Todd Gamblin ’02 and Jeff McBride ’02 won the 200-yard backstroke (1:59.57) and the 500-yard freestyle (4:55.66) events, respectively.

Also, winning events for the Ephmen were Seth Borland ’03 in the 200-yard freestyle (1:48.47), Nathan Krissoff ’03 in the 500-yard freestyle (22.38) and Zach O’Brien ’03 in the 100-yard butterfly (54.58), along with Brian Welsh, who won the 200-yard butterfly in 2:00.31.

In diving action, the Ephs continued its dominance by capturing the top three places on both boards. Rachel Gealy ’04 won the one- (299.395) and the three-meter (290.625) events. Gealy was followed in the one-meter by Sara Gilliam ’04 (252.45) and Grace Wells ’05 (231.6).

Finishing in second and third in the three-meter were Jae Cody ’03 (255.675) and Wells (247.8). The lone male Eph diver, Ross Smith ’05, finished in third place on both the one- (148.05) and three-meter (130.0) boards.

Williams won all four relay events of the afternoon. Leading the way for the women in both races was Stokes. Stokes (1:55.89) was followed in the 200-yard medley by Anne Mayall ’03, and Katie O’Brien ’05 and Lindsay Payne ’05. Swimming on the winning 200-yard freestyle team (1:41.41) were Stokes, Milkosky, Julie Allen ’04 and Yankura.

On the men’s side, Gamblin, Jonathan Loveless ’05, Daniel Morales ’02 and Justin Stach ’03 won the 200-yard medley relay (139.80). Finally, an all-senior team, consisting of Borland, Travis Hobart ’02, Gansner and McBride, won the 200-yard freestyle race (129.98).

With the regular season now complete, the focus of the team is now on the NESCAC Championships.

“We are at a point in time in the season where, for the most part, all of the work is done,” said Kuster. “Now it’s a matter of resting and fine tuning some things and letting people’s bodies and minds bounce back and get ready hopefully for some fast swims at NESCACs on both sides.”

With the championships, which the women will be hosting at home Feb. 22 – 24, fast approaching, the teams have begun to taper off their training.

“We, for the most part, have already started changing our training,” said Kuster. “The women, since we are less than two weeks out [from NESCACs], have started resting. The total amount of work and yardage will decrease significantly.”

The men have an extra week of training, as their NESCAC Championship meet is a week later on March 1-3, 2002.

“Next week, we should be swimming similar yardage, but we’ll be keeping it pretty low in intensity,” said Gansner. “Then, in the two weeks following, we will just rest up and get ready for NESCACs.”

The Williams Ephmen have won the NESCAC (previously called New England) championships for the past 15 years while the Ephwomen have won 14 consecutive championships. Though Williams is favored to win the meet, the championships should prove competitive.

“It should be a pretty competitive meet,” said Gansner. “We feel confident that we will be able to win. We are looking forward to some good races.”

The teams that could challenge Williams for the NESCAC title are Amherst, Hamilton and Middlebury.

Williams defeated Amherst on Jan. 12 and beat Middlebury at home two weeks ago. However, the Ephs have yet to square off against Hamilton this season.

“I think that the expectation year in and year out is that we will do very well. I think that we will swim very well,” said Kuster. “We have had some pretty competitive dual meets, particularly with Amherst.

“I think we need to be prepared to swim our best, and if we do things should hopefully fall into place.”