Last year, men’s swimming and diving won its sixth consecutive NESCAC championship and placed fifth in the NCAAs. Now Williams faces the challenge of living up to last year’s success.
The team will have a hard time filling the large gaps left by last year’s seniors, including Mike Kirwan ’08, Chris Millen ’08, Henry Felkner ’08 and Alex Wentworth-Ping ’08, all of whom were key players in securing the 2008 NESCAC championship. However, captains Tyler Bonewell ’09 and Thatcher Heumann ’09 are confident that Ephs in every class, including the six first-years on the squad, will rise to the challenge of claiming the NESCAC title for the seventh year running.
“After losing a large part of our team to graduation, many people in the NESCAC believe that this might be an off year for Williams,” said Bonewell. “I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the whole team step up to prove them wrong.”
“This is going to be a season that will test the whole team,” said Heumann, reflecting on the trials to come. “Tufts and Amherst, in particular, will be formidable opponents this year, but having that challenge has all the guys really fired up and ready to swim fast. This year, more than years in the past is going to require guys from every class to step up and it’s going to be something very special to see and experience.”
Head Coach Steve Kuster wasted no time in beginning training, as the men were in the pool the moment NESCAC guidelines would allow.
“The tone for the season was definitely set with our first official practice that occurred at midnight on Nov. 1,” said Heumann. “A few hours later, we were back in the water for round two that same morning. It was definitely a hardcore way to start things off. Since then, practices have been just as intense, but everyone knows that all that work will pay off huge come NESCACs and nationals.”
Despite the loss of some stellar seniors, the squad boasts a sizable group of returning All-Americans, including Norman Scott ’09, Ben Wampler ’11, Gary Roberson ’11, Bonewell, Worth MacDonald ’11 and David Lebovitz ’09. Heumann, Tim Ryan ’09, Adam Hollander ’10 and Jordan Hollander ’10 are also expected to have strong performances this season. “Definitely look out for seniors Norman Scott and Tyler Bonewell to continue to be at the top of NESCAC,” said Heumann.
Ben Bodurian ’09, Quinn Sievers ’09 and Jeremy Goldstein ’09 will also continue to be major contributors in their final season while the strong junior class looks to have a breakout year. The team will also be supported by a strong incoming freshman class who the team hopes will add versatility and depth to the squad.
The squad’s first meet, against conference opponent Conn. College, will take place in New London at 1 p.m. this Saturday.