NORTON, Massachusetts, February 23. THE United States Coast Guard Academy began defense of its New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Men's Swimming and Diving Championship title by picking up three event victories and taking home two runner-up finishes on Friday at Wheaton College's Balfour Natatorium. Coast Guard has 314 points through day one of the three-day meet, Springfield College is in second with 256.5, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) sits third with 243.5.
Junior Bobby Brown (Ballston Lake, NY) helped Coast Guard to two of its wins with NCAA Championship provisional qualifying times. Brown won his third straight 500-yard freestyle crown, as he reached an NCAA provisional standard during each the trials and finals. Brown pushed the Bears to a 200-yard freestyle relay triumph for the second straight year behind a national meet time and pool record, siding with senior Ryan Caple (Littleton, CO), junior Jack Shadwick (Campbell Hall, NY) and sophomore Jim Okorn (Euclid, OH). Coast Guard's other victory came from senior Colby Schlaht (Anaheim, CA) in the 200-yard individual medley. The Bears took the top three spots in the event.
Wheaton senior Barrett Roberts (Portland, ME/Deering) turned in his fourth consecutive 50-yard freestyle title, besting the field with an NCAA provisional time. Springfield junior Roy Burch (Warwick, Bermuda/The Peddie School) finished as the runner up for the third straight year, also reaching a national standard. Roberts, Burch and the third-place finisher, sophomore Jim Okorn (Euclid, OH) of Coast Guard, met NCAA qualifications during each the trials and finals.
In the one-meter dive, Babson College freshman Aaron Paradis (Norwich, CT/Norwich Free Academy) qualified for the NCAAs after becoming just the second different diver since 2002 to win the event. MIT picked up a 400-yard medley relay victory to keep its grasp on third place overall during the final event of the evening. Senior Craig Edwards (Brookfield, CT/Brookfield) and freshmen Luke Cummings (Sturgeon Bay, WI/Sturgeon Bay), Rastislav Racz (Bratislava, Slovakia/Metodova) and Jeff Zhou (Buffalo, NY/Phillips Andover) swam to a provisional time and a pool record.
A number of additional NCAA provisional times were met on Friday: MIT's runner-up 200-yard freestyle relay team, comprised of Cummings, Edwards, Zhou and sophomore Peter Wellings (Palm Harbor, FL/Palm Harbor University); Edwards in the 100-yard backstroke during the leadoff leg of the 400-yard medley relay trials and finals; Burch in the 50-yard free as the leadoff in Springfield's 200-yard free relay during each the trials and finals; Roberts in the 50-yard free as Wheaton's leadoff in the 200-yard free relay trials; Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) junior Jeff Meyer (Denver, CO/Ramstein American) as the runner up in the 500-yard freestyle; and WPI senior Joel Rousseau (Pittsfield, MA/Taconic) in the 100-yard backstroke to lead off the 400-yard medley relay.
The competition resumes Saturday at 11:00 a.m.