Men’s swimming will look to defend its ninth consecutive NESCAC title after beating out Amherst for the championship by 127 points last season. The men also claimed fourth place in the NCAA Div. III National Championships last year.
“We graduated four seniors last year,” Ryan Marrano ’12 said. “The four that left were huge point-getters in our lineup and there are some gaps in our roster this year that need to be filled … We know what we need to do to be as good or better than last year, and everyone is putting their best efforts forward.”
One of the Ephs’ graduated seniors, Gary Roberson ’11, holds team records in the 200, 500 and 1000 freestyle. The team also loses Ben Wampler ’12, whose eligibility has expired after four years on the team. The Eph holds team records in the 50 and 100 freestyle.
“Last year we graduated four seniors and within that group we have lost some of our top freestyle sprinters,” Head Coach Steve Kuster said.
The team features 11 rookies this year, and Kuster is confident that they will have a large role on the team. “It certainly should be a class that can contribute … to the team’s success this year,” he said.
Paul Dyrkacz ’13 will return for the men after an impressive sophomore campaign: The Eph qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 200 breast and won NCAA individual titles in the 200 IM and the 400 IM. He holds team records in all three strokes. Martin Soderstrom ’14 will also return after breaking the school record for the 100 breast as a rookie last season.
The Ephs will bring back three members of their stellar 800 and 400 freestyle relay; David Taylor ’13, Tom Vieth ’13 and Dyrkacz will remain on the squad that Roberson led to team records in both distances last season.
Kuster assessed some of the men’s main challenges as a team. “The men will need to stay healthy and focused throughout the season. We will also have to try to replace the sprinters we lost to graduation. We had some very good relays last year, but it will be harder to repeat those efforts this year,” he said.
The men’s goal for the upcoming season is to continue last year’s winning trend. “We have a deep team with a good amount of talent,” Kuster said. “I think we can defend our NESCAC title and will hope to stay in the top five at NCAAs. There will be big challenges, as Amherst will again be very strong and most of the top NCAA teams have very strong first-year classes.”
The men will open their season at home against Union on Saturday at 1 p.m.