Men’s swimming hopes to build off national success

Men’s swimming and diving is seeking to capitalize on last year’s success during the winter season. Despite an early loss to Amherst in the dual meet competition last year, the men rebounded during championship season, narrowly capturing the conference title over Amherst and finishing eighth at Div. III Nationals.

The Ephs lost three seniors and members of last year’s national team to graduation in the spring: Greg McElroy ’12, John Guiffre ’12 and Stuart Horgan ’12. As a result, the men will look for continued excellence from this year’s senior class and will rely on a strong rookie class to repeat last year’s success this season.

Paul Dyrkacz ’13, who competed in six events last year at the national competition and won the individual title in the 400 IM, is back for more this season along with co-captains Tom Vieth ’13 and John Armstrong ’13, who also led the Ephs last year at the conference and national level. They are joined by 10 other seniors, all of whom look ready to contribute in the final year of their swimming careers.

On the rookie side, 11 new swimmers have been added to the roster. This large class is incredibly diverse in talent, with members of their class filling spots in nearly every event. With a strong season, it isn’t unrealistic to think that the rookies could help the men improve upon last year’s success and close the gap between the Ephs and the top five teams at nationals.

“We’re coming off of a 2012 season in which many people saw us as the underdogs at conference championships,” Vieth said. “We are looking to reaffirm our position atop the NESCAC and continue to focus on swimming fast at NCAAs. We have a large team this year with a lot of strong freshman talent coming in and a returning core of upperclassmen ready to lead.”

According to NESCAC rules, the Ephs conference roster can only consist of 24 of their 40 members. With so few spots and such a large team, each swimmer will have to push himself to prove that he can contribute in all of the events he would be slated to swim.

The men kick off their season next weekend with an away meet against Union on Saturday at 1 p.m., where they hope to continue the momentum they ended with last season. Williams will also take on Fordham and Boston College at Fordham on Dec. 1 at 1 p.m.