Men’s swimming outpaces NESCAC rivals

Men’s swimming and diving cruised to a victory in the tri-meet against Tufts and Wesleyan Saturday in the team’s second home meet in two weeks. The Ephs thrashed the Jumbos 175-123 and dominated the Cardinals with a score of 228-59, moving to 4-3 (3-1 in NESCAC) for the year. Williams also competed against Amherst on Jan. 8, but fell 132-111 to the rival Jeffs.

The men set the tone at the beginning of the meet on Saturday, slipping past Tufts’ top relay team to take first in the 200 medley relay and ensuring that Wesleyan’s relay would not place in the first event.

Co-captain Andrew D’Ignazio ’11 commented on the men’s mindset after their loss to Amherst one week earlier. “If anything, a loss is more of a motivator than winning by a little bit,” he said. “It makes you evaluate what you’re doing and what you need to do to improve.”

The men went on to sweep the podium positions in the 200 freestyle. Paul Dyrkacz ’13 continued an impressive season by claiming the top spot, with Phillip Treesh ’13 and rookie Sean Sutherland ’14 rounding out the Ephs’ top three. Dyrkacz would go on to dominate in the 200 breaststroke, finishing a full four seconds ahead of second-place finisher and teammate John Armstrong ’13.
“Paul’s a great swimmer, and we can really count on him,” co-captain Gary Roberson ’11 said. “Every time he gets up and races, he’s going to give it his best, and most of the time that means he’s going to come out with a victory.”

Williams continued to dominate with first and third-place finishes from Greg McElroy ’12 and Eric Liao ’14 in the 100 breaststroke. Zed Debbaut of Tufts claimed second, while D’Ignazio swam to a fourth-place finish and bolstered the Ephs’ winning effort.

In one of the closest races of the day, Tufts’ Brian Marko edged out Stuart Horgan ’12 by 0.15 seconds in the 200 butterfly. “Being in those close races, it gets us all fired up. We just try to rally behind each other and get each other to the wall in every single one of those races,” Roberson said. After Horgan’s second-place finish, Christopher Corbett ’13 cruised into third in the race.

The men collected three more podium sweeps before the end of the meet. Liao, Daeus Jorento ’13, and Chris Greeno ’14 would claim the top spots in the 200 breaststroke, while Dyrkacz would take home the last of his three first-place finishes in the 400 individual medley, with Corbett and David Taylor ’13 nabbing second and third, respectively. The men breezed to their final sweep in the 1000 freestyle with Roberson, Armstrong and Taylor declaring victory for the Ephs.

Men’s diving also turned in a strong meet. Alex Long ’12 was the top scorer for Williams, taking second in both the one-meter and three-meter diving competitions. Rob Gearity ’14 finished third and Alex Verschoor-Kirss ’13 finished fourth in both the one-meter diving competiton and three-meter diving match-up.

The team’s success at the Little Three Championship came after a narrow loss to Amherst at home on Jan. 8. The Jeffs battled to a 132-111 win over the Ephs, vindicating their loss in the teams’ last contest.

The Ephs earned more first-place finishes, but the Jeffs’ squad proved too deep. Williams opened the meet by claiming second and fourth in the 200 medley relay. Dyrkacz nearly managed to catch Amherst’s Tim White on the anchor leg, but Amherst squeezed into first place ahead of the Ephs.

Williams swept the 50 freestyle as Ben Wampler ’12 captured first place, closely followed by teammates Graham Righi ’13 and D’Ignazio.

Armstrong impressed in the 1000 freestyle, holding his own against the Jeffs’ star Ryan Lichtenfels and earning a strong second place. Lichtenfels would claim another victory over the Ephs in the 500 freestyle, though Tom Vieth ’13, Roberson and Armstrong came in just behind him in second, third and fourth.

Dyrkacz turned in another impressive meet for the Ephs that would earn him NESCAC Performer of the Week honors for the second time this season. Dyrkacz won both of his individual events – the 200 individual medley and the 200 backstroke – by nearly two seconds.

The diving team fared similarly, turning in competitive scores that were nonetheless insufficient to conquer the men from Amherst. Long took home second in the one-meter diving competition and third in the three-meter dive.
The team will next host the men from Springfield Saturday at 1 p.m. in their last home meet of the year before traveling to Middlebury on Jan. 29.

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