Men’s swimming tops NESCAC foes

Men’s swimming (4-3, 3-1 in the NESCAC) left rivals Wesleyan (7-3, 4-3 in the NESCAC) and Tufts (4-1, 3-1 in the NESCAC) in their wake on Saturday, converting both its overall season and NESCAC records into winning ones. The team posted impressive dual wins in the tri-meet with final scores of 208-79 against Wesleyan and 161.5-138.5 against Tufts.

Despite the outcome, the men began the meet with a relatively rough start. Norman Scott ’09, co-captain Tyler Bonewell ’09, Timothy Ryan ’09 and co-captain Thatcher Heumann ’09 comprised the relay team that finished third in the 200 medley relay. First and second place went to the Jumbos. Though the score remained close, Tufts edged out the men’s team through the first diving break. “Tufts is going to be a major competitor at the league championships in late February,” Heumann said. “The team is in the most intense part of our training during Winter Study. [Many Ephs] were visibly tired, though they responded very well.”

The Ephs rallied, taking the next three events. Gary Roberson ’11 swam a 16:36.34 to win the 1650 yard freestyle, and David Lebovitz ’09 won the 200 yard freestyle, finishing in 1:47.24. Scott and Worth MacDonald ’11 placed one-two in the 100 yard backstroke with respective times of 53.20 and 53.97.

Ephs swept the first, second, and third places in the 200 yard butterfly with strong swims from Ryan, John Guiffre ’12 and Eddie Layng ’11. Sam Blum ’09 and Lebovitz swam one-two in the 200 yard backstroke, and Dan Doran ’12 came in a close fourth in the event.

The team continued to command the backstroke with strong swims from Bonewell and Quinn Sievers ’09; they touched for first and second in the 200 yard backstroke. The Ephs also dictated the 500 yard freestyle: Scott captured first with a time of 4:46.42 while Roberson and Stuart Horgan ’12 solidified the Eph sweep by placing second and third.

Ryan and Heumann clinched first and second place in the 100 yard butterfly. Heumann also won the 200 yard IM with a time of 2:00.29. Though the team suffered a tough second place to the Jumbos’ 400 yard freestyle relay team in the last event, stellar individual performances across the board had already sealed the win for the Ephs.

“The two wins are great for team morale,” Heumann said. “Every meet our team gets stronger and stronger, hopefully, we can keep carrying that momentum through the rest of the season.” Though the men lost to Amherst 108-133 in the tough dual meet on Jan. 10, the team’s escalating energy bodes well.

“We put in a very hard week of work and I knew the guys would be tired, but they rallied after being down in the first part of the meet and raced very well,” said Head Coach Steve Kuster.

The men are next slated to swim Springfield at home on Saturday at 1 p.m.