Men’s swimming to lean on deep junior class

Men’s swimming and diving entered into its 106th varsity season on Nov. 1, eager to maintain its top spot in the NESCAC for the 14th season and to finish with an even stronger showing at the NCAA Div. III Championship than their previous eighth-place finish in the 2012-13 season.

Last season, the Ephs won a hotly-contested NESCAC Championship over rival Amherst before placing eighth overall at the Div. III NCAA Championships in Shenandoah, Texas. However, the Ephs have since graduated 14 seniors who were extremely valuable assets in achieving these successes. With such a huge portion of the team gone, even with a strong first-year class of 12 entering onto the scene, the men are facing the toughest season in recent memory. Rival Amherst, in comparison, didn’t have any senior swimmers at the NESCAC meet and are expecting a strong first-year class to help compete with Williams for the NESCAC crown. Expectations are high for the Ephs though, who have found success with a number of the younger members of the team who will be filling in the ranks vacated by the graduated seniors.

The Ephs are led this year by a small but formidable senior class, with co-captains Sean Sutherland ’14 and Chris Greeno ’14 at the helm. In the 2012-13 season, Sutherland and Eric Liao ’14 combined for 120 points at the NESCAC Championship and helped secure the victory for the Ephs. They will definitely be looking to repeat and improve on the success they saw last year.

The junior and sophomore classes are both very large and will contribute to the depth necessary for Williams to clinch the NESCAC title and improve on their NCAA performance. The Ephs are returning seven All-American swimmers this year: Christian Gronbeck ’15, Tim Lattimer ’15, Alex McCarter ’16, Alex Nanda ’15, Thad Ricotta ’15, Jacob Tamposi ’16 and Chris Weihs ’15. In addition to these swimmers, the junior and sophomore classes have many other strong swimmers across the board that helped clinch the NESCACs last year, along with quite a few men who weren’t able to compete at the NESCAC championships just because of the limits on the roster.

“This year we have a long road ahead of us,” Sutherland said. “We lost a really strong class, and Amherst is expecting this to be [its] year to take us off our throne. However, we have great depth, and our preseason workouts have shown that many of us are ready to step up to the plate and fill in for the graduated class. We are far from out, and I fully expect this year to be just as successful as the previous years have been.”

The men start off their competitive season this Friday at Springfield.