After a crushing loss to Amherst on Jan. 8, men’s swimming and diving has rebounded with four impressive wins, beating its recent opponents by a composite score of 760-408. Williams competed in the Middlebury Invitational on Saturday after defeating Middlebury 176-121 on Jan. 29. The men’s hot streak started when the team crushed Springfield 181-108 on Jan. 22. The Ephs will look to top their rivals at the NESCACs on Feb. 25 and send several swimmers to the NCAA tournament.
“A loss is never easy or fun,” Head Coach Steve Kuster said, “but I think the loss to Amherst might have actually given my guys some confidence. We swam well and I think the guys really showed themselves that they could compete with Amherst.”
Williams sought to claim its second straight victory at Middlebury on Saturday. Unfortunately, the Panthers were barred from competition due to an unspecified hazing incident. Meanwhile, Williams competed strong from the start against a mix of swimmers from several different colleges, dominating in every event.
The Ephs started the event by earning all five scoring positions in the 200 freestyle: John Armstrong ’13 came in first, clocking in a time of 1:46.41. He was followed by teammates Phil Treesh ’13, Scott Symonds ’13, Chris Corbett ’13 and Liam Gallagher ’14. Furthermore, Paul Dyrkacz ’13 won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:00.09. There were several events in which only Williams competed, including the 200 butterfly, which saw Eph DJ Taylor ’13 swim to first. With the Panthers, the Ephs’ only possible competition, out of the running, Williams swam to a dominant first-place team finish.
Williams took on Middlebury, looking to finish the season’s double meets on a high note on Jan. 29. Despite some early struggles, the Ephs pulled ahead of the Panthers early and never looked back. Armstrong and Taylor got the team going, soundly defeating the lone Middlebury entrant in the 1650 freestyle. The one-two Eph finish was the first of several on the day. Co-captain Gary Roberson ’11 won the 200 freestyle in a time of 1:43.41, followed closely by his teammates Tom Vieth ’13 and Sean Sutherland ’14. The Ephs dominated the sprints and the distance events behind strong senior leadership and a core of talented sophomores. Ben Wampler ’12 and Roberson won the 50 and 100 freestyles, respectively, while the Ephs’ ‘A’ relay squad dominated the 400 freestyle relay.
The team performed well against Springfield, swimming to a decisive victory in a home dual meet Jan. 22. The Ephs opened with a victory in the 400 medley relay and quickly followed it up by sweeping the 1000 freestyle, with Tom Vieth ’13 coming in first with a time of 10:04.19. The Ephs’ sophomores continued to dominate throughout the meet: Dyrkacz, Corbett, Taylor and Daeus Jorento ’13 led the way for the rest of the meet. Taylor won the 200 butterfly and the 200 individual medley, while Jorento took first in the 100 breaststroke and Corbett won the 200. Dyrkacz contributed to the first-place 400 medley relay team, and also brought home second-place times in both the 100 backstroke and 500 freestyle.
The men now have three weeks of practice in which to prepare for the NESCAC Championships on Feb. 25.
“As far as our ability to win NESCACs, that is a pretty sizable mountain to climb this year,” Kuster said. “In order to be in a position to have a chance, every guy is going to be relied on equally. That’s part of what makes this year so exciting. If all 24 guys aren’t firing on all cylinders for three days, we won’t win. It’s going to have to be a total team effort.”
The men will look to continue their recent success when they travel to Bowdoin for the NESCAC Championships on Feb. 25-27.