Men’s swimming claims Little Threes

Men’s swimming and diving took on rivals Wesleyan and Tufts this weekend in an important meet leading up to NESCACs. Despite a delayed start time, the team stayed focused once it arrived at Springfield. Williams walked away victorious, defeating Tufts 172.5 to 127.5 and trouncing Wesleyan 226 to 73. This win comes on the heels of a much closer triumph over Amherst on Jan. 9, when the Ephs defeated the Jeffs 125-118.

The team was dominant throughout the weekend, with swimmers winning first and second place in many heats. Tufts represented the main competition for Williams this weekend, as Wesleyan’s swimmers simply could not compare.

Despite a strong performance overall, the Ephs begun the meet by giving up first place in the first event, the 200 medley relay: The ‘A’ and ‘B’ relay squads took second and third places, respectively. Williams then changed the course of the competition and took the next event, the 1650 freestyle. Gary Roberson ’11 shattered the NESCAC record in the race, finishing with a time of 16:22.20. The only swimmer in the pool he did not lap was his fellow Eph, John Armstrong ’13, who delivered a time of16:41.30.

Roberson also performed well in the 400 free relay with the help of teammates Philip Treesh ‘13, Paul Dyrkacz ‘13 and Tom Vieth ’13. The relay team grabbed first with a time of 3:10.66. This result was especially significant for Williams because the men had been working hard to improve their relay performance. “Our 400 freestyle relay victory positions our relay teams well for the remainder of the season,” co-captain Henry Blackfurd ’10 said.

Tufts sprinters presented the biggest challenge for the Ephs. Strong performances from returning athletes such as Ben Wampler ’12, who won both the 50 and 100 free, enabled the Ephs to maintain their lead over the Jumbos. The Ephs went 1-2-3 in the 500 free, as Vieth out-touched his teammate Dyrkacz, who picked up second place. Armstrong completed the sweep by placing third.

Other standout performers were Stuart Hogan ’12, Chris Corbett ’13 and Worth MacDonald ’11. Hogan won the 200 fly in convincing style, breaking away in the last 50 yards for a clear victory. Corbett and MacDonald won the 200 breaststroke and 100 backstroke, respectively.

This weekend’s win was crucial for Williams because Tufts placed second in NESCACs last year, threatening Williams’ seven-year championship streak. “Tufts always brings a strong and motivated team to swim,” Blackfurd said. “With the NESCAC Championships quickly approaching, it has been great to see impressive swims on little rest.”

The Ephs, with this victory, remain undefeated in conference. Results from last night’s meet against Union came in too late to report, but the team is looking ahead to Saturday’s 1 p.m. meet at Springfield.

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