Men’s swimming takes 13th-straight NESCAC title

Tim Kostalansky ’18 and the other members of his 200 medley relay quartet easily won their heat.
Tim Kostalansky ’18 and the other members of his 200 medley relay quartet easily won their heat.

Last weekend, men’s swimming and diving (7-0-1, 4-0 in the NESCAC) won its 13th-consecutive NESCAC title, beating out rival Amherst, who took second, and Conn. College, who went home with the bronze. The Ephs tallied a three-day score of 2066.5 points, defeating the Jeffs by 487.5 points and the Camels by 743.5 points.

The men started the weekend off strong by getting out to a quick 109-point lead over rival Amherst after the first day of the NESCAC Championships hosted by Middlebury. The night started off with the 200 free relay where the quartet of John Hammond ’16, Grant Johnson ’17, Alex McCarter ’16 and Alex Nanda ’15 finished in a blazing fast time of 1:22.43 to win the event and set a new pool record. Breaststroke standout Jake Tamposi ’16 then went on to capture the 50 breast title for the third time in his career in a time of 25.42, establishing a new pool, meet and NESCAC record in the process. Ben Lin ’17 won the 50 back for the second year in a row shortly after, touching in a time of 22.48. His morning effort during the preliminaries was a 22.37, which was again a new pool, meet and NESCAC record. Continuing the record setting times was Tim Lattimer ’15 who claimed his own meet and pool record in the 200 IM with a time of 1:49.92. Tim Kostlansky ’18 was not far behind and finished third overall in the event with a time of 1:51.61. Diver Rohan Bhatt ’15 finished up his first day by placing second on the one-meter board with a score of 486.95. To close out the night, the Ephs won the 400 medley relay in another pool, meet and NESCAC record time. The quartet of Lin, Tamposi, Nanda and Thad Ricotta ’15 made up the four members of the relay and touched the wall in a time of 3:16.48. Altogether on the first day of competition, the Ephs won six of the nine finals and placed at least one swimmer in the top three of all but one event.

On Day Two of the meet, the Ephs kept up the momentum, with another string of victories and records. To start the day of competition, the group of Kostolansky, Hammond, Nanda and Jon Yin ’16 won its heat in the 200 medley relay with ease, touching the wall in a time of 1:31.95. To follow this up, the relay of Lin, Tamposi, Ricotta and McCarter won the event outright in a time of 1:29.05, which was a new pool, meet and NESCAC record. The time is also the fastest time in the nation this year for that event; accordingly, the Ephs will be seeded first going into the Div. III National Championships. After the relays, distance standout and co-captain Christian Gronbeck ’15 won the 1000 free in a lighting-fast time of 9:13.18, which was once again a new pool, meet and NESCAC record. Adrien Downey ’15 and Dan Druckman ’15 also did very well in this event, placing  third and sixth, respectively. In the 400 IM, Lattimer led the field, taking his second individual victory of the meet in a time of 3:55.07. Peter McDonald ’16 and Colin Hogan ’17 were right behind him, finishing third and fourth, respectively. Following this, Tamposi added another individual victory to his list of honors as he flew to the wall in the 100 breast in a time of 55.27, narrowly missing his morning time of 55.17, which was a new pool, meet and NESCAC record. Lin won the last individual event of the session, the 100 back, with a time of 48.50. McCarter grabbed second place in the event with a time of 49.65, while Andrew Nemeth ’15 touched sixth in a time of 50.41. The last event of the session was the 800 free relay in which the foursome of Gronbeck, Ricotta, Grant Johnson ’17 and Will Brown ’15 charged to the wall first with an impressive finish of 6:42.90. After the second day of action, the men’s lead had grown to 381.5 points over second-placed Amherst.

Day Three was no less impressive for the Ephs. The night started with Gronbeck once again dominating the competition in the distance freestyle events by winning the 1650 free in a time of 15:31.66, which was good enough for a new pool record. Lin carried this momentum in the next event by winning the 200 back with a meet and pool record time of 1:46.69. The 200 breast proved another strong showing for the Ephs. Lattimer won the event, touching in a time of 2:00.71, a new pool record. In the final event of the meet – the 400 free relay – the quartet of McCarter, Nemeth, Ricotta and Johnson sped to the wall in a time of 3:02.36, just barely behind the Amherst squad that won the event.

The title of Swimmer of the Meet was awarded to Ricotta while the Four-Year High Point Swimmer Award went to Gronbeck. Lattimer took the honorable mention spot for this award by having the second-most points scored in his four years competing at the NESCAC Championship. Coach of the Meet went to Williams Head Coach Steven Kuster.

The team is extremely pleased to have earned its 13th-consecutive NESCAC title. “Overall the team performed very well throughout the weekend,” Kuster said. “Equally as impressive as the swims and dives, I thought the men did a great job of supporting one another, focusing on the task at hand and making the experience a very memorable one.”

Many of the Ephs will now look on to the NCAA Div. III National Championships in March in Texas, where the team hopes to compete for a top-five finish.