Men’s swimming and diving (6-2) began its championship season at the Middlebury Invitational on Jan. 31 to Feb. 1. The men sent 11 swimmers who shaved and tapered for the meet, their final competition of the year, while the rest of the team began preparing for the NESCAC Championships on Feb. 21 to 23. At Middlebury, the men swam incredibly fast, ending their seasons, and in some cases, college careers, on a high note. On Jan. 25 and 24, the men garnered big victories against foes Middlebury and MIT, respectively.
On Jan. 31, Zihan Su ’17 won the first event, touching in a time of 1:58.65 in the 200 IM. Jason Ring ’16 also started off his championship meet on a high note, taking first place in the 50 freestyle with a time of 21.57.
On Feb. 1, Su took second in the 400 IM with a time of 4:19.77. John Freeman ’17 also clocked in a stellar performance with a solid win in the 200 freestyle in 1:43.36. Matt Gibson ’17 took third with a time of 1:43.98 and Cody Niles ’17 touched in at 1:49.36. Both of these times were lifetime bests for the swimmers.
In the afternoon session, Freeman and Alex Flick ’16 turned in very solid times in the 500 freestyle, placing fourth and fifth, respectively. Finally, to cap off an already very successful meet, Gibson smashed the pool record in the 200 backstroke, previously held by Dan Druckman ’15. Gibson touched in a time of 1:50.90, well over half a second faster than the previous record. “We had great swims from the tapered guys,” said co-captain Chris Greeno. “In particular, first-year Matt Gibson had a stunning 200 back.”
On Jan. 25, the Ephs thoroughly dispatched the Panthers 197-101. The Ephs again started off the meet strong, when the quartet of Nathaniel Boley ’17, Tim Lattimer ’15, Ben Lin ’17 and Grant Johnson ’17 won the 400 medley relay by over six seconds.
The men then swept the 200 freestyle with Christian Gronbeck ’15 touching first in a time of 1:45.32 with Alex Nanda ’15 and Chris Weihs ’15 taking second and third with times of 1:45.72 and 1:46.05, respectively.
In diving, Rohan Bhatt ’15 had an outstanding meet, capturing first in both the one meter and three meter diving events.
Lin won the 100 IM and set pool and College records in the process, dropping a time of 52.46. Johnson took second with another strong swim, clocking a time of 53.91.
The men ended the meet by taking first in the 200 freestyle relay. The quartet of Weihs, Alex McCarter ’16, Thad Ricotta ’15 and Nels Snyder ’16 posted a time of 1:28.39.
On Jan. 24, the No. 6 Williams team upset No. 5 MIT in a very close home meet, winning 159-137.
Lin, Ricotta, Johnson and Jake Tamposi ’16 won the 200 medley relay by .02, out-touching the MIT team.
Distance standout Gronbeck then easily won the 1650 freestyle event, touching in at 16:09.40, nearly 10 seconds ahead of the nearest swimmer.
In the 200 freestyle, Grant Johnson ’17 surged to victory with an incredibly strong swim, clocking in at 1:44.81.
Lin won the fourth event in a row for the men, narrowly out-touching a rival from MIT by .05 seconds in the 100 backstroke with a time of 51.49.
The Engineers then began to muster a comeback, however, winning the 100 breaststroke, 200 butterfly and 50 freestyle events. In response, Gronbeck continued his outstanding performance by winning the 500 freestyle in a time of 4:41.54.
The most exciting race of the meet was the 400 IM where Lattimer faced off against MIT’s Alexander Lednev. Lednev took an early lead, touching two seconds ahead of Lattimer after the backstroke leg. However, Lattimer charged back on the breaststroke and held on during the freestyle leg to win the event in a season best 4:06.26.
In diving, Bhatt also had a very strong meet, winning both the one meter and three meter diving competitions.
The men are now looking to the upcoming NESCAC Championships where they will be racing to claim the conference crown for the 12th consecutive time. The meet will be held at Bowdoin from Feb. 21 to 23.