Men’s swimming and diving claimed its 14th consecutive conference title at NESCACs this weekend at the Samuelson Muir Pool. The men, who were also the defending champions, accumulated a total of 1789.5 points to win over the second-place finisher, Tufts, who scored 1410.5 points. Conn. College tallied 1407 points to secure third, while Amherst and Bates placed fourth and fifth with 1135 and 965 points, respectively.
“We earned this championship by doing what our coach told us to do,” co-captain Jake Tamposi ’16 said. “We swam as one team – proud, supportive and inspired.”
The Ephs got off to a promising start after Jamie Finnegan ’19, Curtis Maher ’19, Grant Johnson ’17 and Alex McCarter ’16 set a new record for the pool and meet in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:21.56. Individual Williams titles for the evening went to Benjamin Lin ’17 in the 50 backstroke and to Tamposi in the 50 breaststroke, both of whom set new NESCAC and pool records of 21.84 and 24.88 seconds, respectively, in the prelims. McCarter, Maher, Finnegan and John Hammond ’16 rounded out the top eight positions in the championship final of the 50 freestyle, while Johnson secured fourth in the 500 freestyle. After setting a new NESCAC record of 21.72 seconds in the preliminary stages of the 50 butterfly, Timothy Kostolansky ’18 clocked 1:50.99 in the 200 individual medley to earn an NCAA ‘B’ cut time in a close race against Colin Hogan ’17. The evening sessions concluded with Lin, Tamposi, Kostolansky and Maher downing archrival Amherst by a staggering four seconds to earn a new pool record and NCAA provisional time of 3:17.31 in the 400 medley relay.
The men amassed an additional 657 points on the second day of the meet, enabling them to extend their lead over the opposing teams. In the 200 medley relay, the quartet composed of Lin, Tamposi, Kostolansky and Hammond secured a comfortable victory over Tufts to set a new pool and meet record of 1:29.31. In the 1000 freestyle, Kenny Liu ’19 narrowly out-touched teammate Jack Ferguson ’17 to snatch fourth, while 2015 NCAA champion Lin defended his title in the 100 backstroke to earn his fourth national cut of the weekend with a time of 47.93 seconds. Hogan, Bobby Rowledge ’18 and Peter McDonald ’16 all finished among the top six in the championship final of the 400 individual medley, and Maher clocked a 1:41.39 in the 200 freestyle to place third. Tamposi sealed the men’s win by setting a new pool and meet record in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 55.50 seconds. Tufts closed the evening with a marginal 6:49.22 to 6:50.65 win over Williams in the 800 freestyle relay.
In the 1650 freestyle, Rowledge advanced from seventh to third position mid-race. Lin, McCarter and Hogan were all among the top eight finishers in the ‘A’ final of the 200 backstroke to complete the race under the NCAA provisional time of 1:51.73. In arguably the closest race of the evening, Ferguson delivered a stellar performance in the 200 breaststroke to obtain his first-ever national cut in a second-place finish. Finnegan shaved time off his preliminary swim to claim the 100 freestyle title in 45.27 seconds, finishing just marginally ahead of Hammond and Maher, who also earned spots in the championship final. Lin, Johnson, Finnegan and McCarter fell shy of the NESCAC record of 2:59.81 in the 400 freestyle relay, but still clocked a new pool and meet record time of 3:00.79 to cap the championship win for Williams.
Lin received Swimmer of the Meet for his dominance in the backstroke and relay events, while Tamposi earned Senior High Point Scorer for his breaststroke events.
“We just did what our coach told us to do and it paid off,” co-captain Seth Montgomery ’16 said. “It was especially meaningful to get the win at home.”
The team’s excellent performance is not the end of the road for all of its members, many of whom hope to extend their seasons March 16 to 19 at the 2016 NCAA Championships in Greensboro, N.C.