Men’s swimming surges to top in NESCAC tri-meet

Men’s swimming and diving (5-2) came out on top in its tri-meet against Tufts and Wesleyan last Saturday.

Men's swimming photo
Rookie Christian Gronbeck ’15 powered to first place in the 1650 freestyle with a blazing time of 16:19.92 last Saturday. Photo courtesy of Wesleyan sports information

The men beat Tufts by a score of 201-93 and ousted Wesleyan 236-52. The Ephs returned from winter break with a disappointing 145-98 loss to a tough Amherst squad on Jan. 7. Prior to the break, the team defeated Conn. College 192-100 on Dec. 10.

The men dominated the 1650 freestyle in Saturday’s tri-meet. Rookie Christian Gronbeck ’15 swam confidently into first place in 16:19.92, followed closely by John Armstrong ’13 in second with a time of 16:36.32 and Adrien Downey ’15 in third. Downey touched the wall in 16:40.70.

Williams also impressed in the 100 backstroke. Andrew Nemeth ’15 finished first in the event with a time of 54.05. Tom Vieth ’13 took second with a time of 54.91, and Dan Druckman ’15 took fourth in 55.76.

The 200 breaststroke yielded success as Nemeth again took first in 2:11.99 followed by Eric Liao ’14 in third at 2:16.88. In the 200 freestyle, Will Brown ’15 and DJ Taylor ’13 claimed first and second in 1:45.34 and 1:46.36, respectively. Thad Ricotta ’15 took home fourth with a time of 1:48.44. Ricotta and Brown also impressed in the 500 freestyle; Ricotta took second in 4:51.50, while Brown claimed third in 4:56.40.

Williams surged ahead in the 400 IM. Paul Dyrkacz ’13, Chris Corbett ’13 and Taylor swept the event. Dyrkacz took first in 4:05.97, Corbett claimed second in 4:10.45 and Taylor rounded out the top three, clocking in at 4:15.73.

Rookie Rohan Bhatt ’15 took first in both the one- and three-meter diving, while teammate Alex Long ’12 claimed third in both events.

“The men rebounded well, especially in the midst of some pretty hard training,” Head Coach Steve Kuster said. “I especially thought that some of the first-years performed well, including Christian Gronbeck, Andrew Nemeth and Rohan Bhatt.”

On Jan. 7, the men faced a challenge in rival Amherst, ultimately falling 145-98. However, the Ephs put forth several strong individual performances in the meet, which are indicative of the team’s substantial depth.

In the 200 freestyle, Vieth set an Amherst pool record with a first-place time of 1:40.69. The junior beat previous record holder and Jeff senior Ryan Lichtenfels, who touched the wall second in 1:42.28. Vieth also took first in the 100 freestyle with a time of 46.87.

Dyrkacz finished first in the 200 IM. His time of 1:53.27 beat a 2004 pool record by an impressive 1.18 seconds. Vieth was also a member of the victorious 400 freestyle relay squad that included teammates Brown, Dyrkacz and Philip Treesh ’13. The foursome took first by a full two seconds with a time of 3:08.67.

The 50 freestyle embodied the tension of the meet, as all six swimmers turned in competitive times. Amherst’s Tyler Hampton finished first in 22.08, but Graham Righi ’13 finished just .05 seconds later in 22.13 to earn second.

Amherst claimed the top spot in both the one- and three-meter diving events, as Bhatt took second and Long claimed fourth.

Before the break, the men faced  Conn. College on Dec. 10. The Ephs dispatched their visitors 192-100.

Armstrong and Downey set the tone for the meet, taking first and third, respectively, in the 1000 freestyle. Armstrong finished with a leading 9:44.56, and Downey came in third after Conn. College’s Max Fabian with a time of 10:06.52. Armstrong also finished first in the 500 freestyle in 4:47.44.

In the 200 butterfly, the Ephs pulled out all the stops, sweeping the event. Corbett took first in 2:01.11, Sean Sutherland ’14 finished second in 2:01.46 and Chris Weihs ’15 completed the sweep in third at 2:03.88.

Williams also claimed a decisive victory in the 200 breaststroke. Corbett, Nemeth and Greg McElroy ’12 claimed first, second and third places, respectively.

Vieth finished second in the 50 freestyle in 21.89 and claimed first in the 100 freestyle with a time of 47.70. Three Ephs followed Vieth in the 100 freestyle, as Alex Nanda ’15, Taylor and Sutherland came in second, third and fourth, respectively.

The men will look to continue their strong season when they travel to Springfield on Saturday. Events begin at 1 p.m.

“Our plan over the next several weeks is to get in as much good work as we can and race well tired,” Kuster said. “We’ve performed pretty well thus far but will have to continue to improve in all areas if we hope to contend for a NESCAC title.”