Records Fall as Men’s Swimming And Diving Team Places Second

The men’s swimming and diving team placed second at this year’s New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championships this weekend, held at MIT’s Zesiger Pool. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy pulled away from the pack to win their third consecutive title, finishing the meet with a staggering 991 points, outdistancing runner-up MIT (868) and third-place finisher Springfield College (741).

Day 1

The Coast Guard Academy led the pack after a record-setting first day on Friday. With NEWMAC Open, Championship and pool records being surpassed left and right, the Bears established an opening day lead with 304 total points, followed closely by Springfield College (276) and MIT (239).

Springfield’s “A” 200-yard freestyle relay team of Matt Manoni, Roy Burch, Andrew Blakesley and Greg Pearsall set the pace for the evening session by opening the finals with a blistering NCAA “A” cut time of 1:22.63, setting NEWMAC Open, Championship and pool records. MIT’s top squad of Jeffrey Y. Zhou ’10, Luke R. Cummings ’10, Peter J. Wellings ’09 and Laurent Charpentier ’10 grabbed Second Team All-Conference accolades, touching the wall at 1:23.46, meeting the NCAA “B” cut standard.

Next up was the meet’s first individual event, with MIT freshman Michael J. Dobson ’11 winning the 500-yard freestyle in an NCAA “B” cut time of 4:32.93. Entering the race as the second seed, Dobson improved upon his preliminary time by nearly 10 seconds to beat out top-seeded Bobby Brown of Coast Guard, who finished as the runner-up. Brown’s preliminary split of 4:32.15 met the NCAA “A” cut as well as established new Championship and pool records.

More records fell in the 200-yard individual medley when Coast Guard senior Doug Fallon touched the wall first at 1:54.67, setting NEWMAC Open and Championship marks. In the 50-yard freestyle, Springfield’s Burch led the way with a NEWMAC Championship record time of 20.71 seconds.

The story was the same as the divers took center stage, with Springfield grabbing both first-place and runner-up on the one-meter board. Senior Ben Casavant took the honors as the winner, earning a score of 500.30, while his freshman teammate Brian Sobol finished second with a tally of 492.80.

Rounding out the first day of action was the 400-yard medley relay, which Coast Guard won with an NCAA “B” cut time of 3:26.43. MIT’s team of Zhou, Rastislav Racz ’10, Toomas R. Sepp ’11 and Cummings placed third, also making the “B” cut time.

Day 2

Coast Guard increased its lead over the rest of the field on day two of competition, as MIT climbed into second place.

The evening’s finals session got underway with the 200-yard medley relay, which saw a trio of teams touch the wall in NCAA “B” cut qualifying times. MIT’s quartet of Zhou, Racz, Charpentier and Cummings earned the Engineers maximum points with a winning mark of 1:33.02, giving all four athletes First Team All-Conference honors.

Coast Guard’s Fallon then eclipsed his own NEWMAC Open and Championship record with a blistering NCAA “B” cut finish of 4:04.13 in the 400-yard individual medley. Runner-up Jeffrey Meyer touched the wall in 4:09.76, earning Worcester Polytechnic Institute its first All-Conference honors of the weekend.

The 100-yard butterfly was won by Coast Guard’s Nick Forni in a time of 51.31 seconds, but the event as a whole was dominated by MIT. At the time, the second-place hosts skimmed their deficit behind leaders Coast Guard from 56 points all the way down to 28 points courtesy of placing five of the race’s top nine finishers. Sophomore Zhou grabbed second place with a time of 51.52 seconds, while Engineers’ teammates George J. Rossick ’11, Deke Hu ’09, Sepp and Brendon M. Sullivan ’11 finished 4th, 6th, 8th and 9th, respectively.

However, Coast Guard’s lead was extended back to 40 in the next event, the 200-yard freestyle. Bears’ Senior Bobby Brown won the race in spectacular fashion, reaching an NCAA “A” cut and setting NEWMAC Open, Championship and pool records with a finish of 1:39.34. Runner-up Charpentier and third-place finisher Dobson of MIT both met the NCAA “B” cut qualifying standard in the event.

Not to be outdone, MIT’s sophomore sensation Racz equaled Brown’s feat in the next event, the 100-yard breaststroke. He touched the wall in an NCAA “A” cut time of 56.40 seconds, setting NEWMAC Championship and pool standards in the process, while missing out on breaking his own NEWMAC Open record by just 0.04 seconds.

To finish Saturday’s finals session, MIT earned its second relay victory of the evening in the 800-yard freestyle relay. Dobson, Kalvin D. Kao ’08, Wellings and Charpentier each garnered First Team All-Conference plaudits with an NCAA “B” cut finishing time of 6:53.31.

Day 3

Coast Guard’s Brown got Sunday evening’s finals session underway in spectacular fashion for Coast Guard, finishing the 1,650-yard freestyle in a blistering 15:41.81. The time reached the NCAA “A” cut and also broke Brown’s own NEWMAC Open, Championship and pool records. He was pushed the entire way to the bell-lap by MIT’s Dobson, who finished closely behind in 15:46.70, also reaching the NCAA “A” cut and securing Second Team All-Conference accolades.

Springfield senior Burch then notched his fourth First Team All-Conference honor in the 100-yard freestyle, clocking in at 45.59 seconds to reach an NCAA “B” cut. Also reaching the “B” cut was MIT’s Charpentier, who secured Second Team accolades with a finish of 46.11 seconds.

The host Engineers made a splash in the next race, the 200-yard breaststroke, in which they took three of the top five spots. Sophomore Racz won the event with an NCAA “B” cut finish of 2:05.22, besting all of his competition by over four seconds and missing out on beating his own NEWMAC Championship record by just 0.16 seconds. MIT’s duo of John R. Walk ’10 and Kao finished in fourth and fifth, respectively.

The three-meter diving competition belonged to Springfield, which placed four of the top five finishers. Ben Casavant, who also won the one-meter event on Friday, scored highest with a mark of 543.60 points, while Brian Sobol earned Second Team All-Conference honors for a second time with a score of 519.85 points. Both divers’ tallies surpassed the previous NEWMAC Open record of 506.75 points.

With the result of the meet already decided heading into the weekend’s final race, the 400-yard freestyle relay, it would’ve been no surprise to see times trail off a bit. However, the desire of the competitors to give their all until the very end showed through, as Springfield’s quartet of Matt Manoni, Greg Pearsall, Anthony Bruno and Burch ended the Championships with a record-setting time of 3:04.62. The mark reached the NCAA “B” cut and established new Championship, Open and pool records. MIT’s relay team of Cummings, Wellings, Zhou and Charpentier nabbed Second Team accolades with a “B” cut time of 3:05.40.