MIDDLETOWN, Connecticut, February 28. SIX-TIME defending NESCAC champion Williams College made up a 66-point deficit to Tufts after the first day of the three-day NESCAC Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships at Wesleyan University to take over the team lead with 1190.5 points, 51.5 points ahead of second-place Tufts with 1,138.5. Amherst College is a distant third with 958 points.
Williams swimmers won three individual events during the evening. In total, Eph mermen captured 14 top-eight finishes during the six individual events completed. Amherst had nine score in the top eight of an event while Tufts had eight. Tufts also won its first-ever relay event, securing first place in the evening’s opening event, the 200-yard medley relay. The jumbos had come up empty as far as relay titles were concerned during the first eight NESCAC Championships. Amherst came away the winner in the final event of the night, the grueling 800-yard freestyle relay, doing so in a NESCAC, NESCAC meet and Wesleyan pool record time of 6:42.39. Tufts relay win had the same characteristics with its time of 1:31.04. The Jumbos had the only automatic NCAA qualifying time by a relay squad during day two.
Three individuals won their second event of the championships. Winning the 100-yard butterfly in NESCAC-record time was Williams senior Norman Scott (:48.89). He had won the 50 fly on Friday. Connecticut College freshman Tim Walsh added the 100-yard backstroke title to his 50 back crown from yesterday. His winning time was :50.32. Amherst senior Alex Fraser, who anchored the 800 free relay win, took the 200-yard freestyle with a 1:38.35 performance. He was victorious in the 500 free on Friday.
Other winners on the day included Williams sophomore Gary Roberson, who successfully defended his title in the 1000-yard freestyle; Amherst freshman Ryan Lichtenfels in the 400-yard individual medley; and Williams senior Tyler Bonewell in the 100-yard breaststroke. Bonewell had won all three breaststroke events a year ago at the championships but yielded the 50 breast title to Tufts senior James Longhurst yesterday. This time Longhurst was third.
A noteworthy effort was logged by Middlebury senior Kevin O’Rourke who placed second in the 200-yard freestyle. After winning both the 200 and 500 free during the 2008 Championships, O’Rourke slipped to fifth in the 500 free on Friday but today posted a 1:38.22 clocking during the trials to set NESCAC, NESCAC meet and Wesleyan pool standards while qualifying automatically for Nationals. His time in the finals was 1:39.47.
Action in the Championships concludes on Sunday with the final seven events decided to declare a team champion.
Special thanks to the NESCAC for contributing this report.