HADLEY, Mass. – After a third place finish last season, the Amherst men's swimming and diving team will gear up for their appearance in the 2019 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship which begins on Thursday, February 21 beginning with the 800 freestyle relay.
This year the championships have moved to a four-day format with the 800 freestyle relay competing on Thursday night at 7:00 PM. The Middlebury Natatorium on the campus of Middlebury College will serve as the host for this year's 24 events. Competition on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday begins with preliminary heats at 10 a.m. Finals are scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, 5:50 p.m. on Saturday, and 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.
All tickets will be sold at the door. Tickets for Thursday evening's session are $5 for adults and $3 for children and students. Tickets for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are $8 per session for adults and $3 per session for children and students. Doors will open 60 minutes prior to the preliminaries and finals.
A live webcast will be available at NESCAC.com and on Roku, AppleTV, and Amazon Fire (search NESCAC Network). Results from the NESCAC Men's Swimming and Diving Championships will be available throughout the weekend at NESCAC.com and via the NESCAC Twitter account (@NESCAC).
SETTING THE SCENE
The Mammoths have accrued an overall record of 7-1 on the season and will aim to build off of last year's third place finish of 1,467.5 points to make their mark in this year's championships.
Heading into the 2019 NESCAC Championships, 15 NESCAC Champions return to the pool and 37 of the top three finishers in the 24 events are making a repeat appearance at the championships.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Amherst men's swimming and diving opened their 2018-19 campaign with ease as they went undefeated through their first six meets. In their first meet against Colby College (November 17), the Mammoths halted the Mules by a score of 165-123 before routing Wesleyan University 174-102 just two days later. After a two week break, the Purple & White were back in action against Middlebury College where they placed first in each event to take the 224-73 triumph. After the winter break, the Mammoths notched a key victory in their 2019 opening meet over Williams College (123-114). They went on to defeat their next two opponents Connecticut College (190-99) and Union College (244-49) before noting their only loss on the season against Massachusetts Institute of Technology by a score of 189-111. The next day, Amherst defeatd Springfield College 179-105 to round out their regular season action.
First-year Scott Romeyn '22 and junior Jack Koravos '20 of Amherst rank second and third, respectively, in the 50 freestyle while Junior Eric Wong '20 enters the freestyle events as one of the top-three swimmers. Craig Smith '20 aims to contend in the 50 backstroke while also vying for a first-place finish in the 100 backstroke, which only has one returning top-three finisher from just a year ago. Sean Mebust '20 was a third-place finisher in last season's 50 breaststroke and will enter as the third seed. Mebust also holds the top time in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and is the defending champion at the 200 distance. With all three swimmers that earned All-NESCAC honors in the 50 butterfly last season moved on, Koravos will aim to make his mark and secure a top finish.
In the diving events, Bennett Fagan '20 will seek another podium performance after his third-place finish on the 1-meter board and second place finish on the 3-meter in last year's championship.
Amherst captured the NESCAC title last season in the 200 medley relay and will vie for another first place finish again in the relay events.
SCOUTING THE CONFERENCE
Tufts looks to defend its title in this year's conference championship after capturing their first NESCAC title in program history last season, edging Williams by 81 points and snapping their streak of 15 consecutive titles.
Tufts junior Roger Gu returns to defend his title in the 50 freestyle. Gu set a new NESCAC record (19.77) at the MIT Invitational earlier this year, lowering the mark he established at last year's championship meet
Bowdoin senior Karl Sarier is the defending champion in both the 100 and 200 freestyle events. He has the third-best time this season in the 100 freestyle and will be challenged by Gu and Romeyn who hold the top two times, respectively.
Williams sophomore James Lovette, who won 500 and 1,650 freestyle races last season and owns the top time in the league in the 200 freestyle
All three 2018 NESCAC Champions return in the distance freestyle events, Lovette looks to repeat as the NESCAC Champion in the 500 and 1,650 races, while Eph teammate Andrew Trunsky won the title at the 1,000 distance. Bowdoin first-year Coleman Komishane enters the championship with the top time in the 500 freestyle, while Lovette and Trunsky rank second and third, respectively. Bowdoin senior Daniel Williams was a third-place finisher in the 1,000 freestyle last year, but enters the 2019 race as the top seed. Trunsky, the 2018 champion in the 1,000 freestyle and Tufts sophomore John LaLime, the runner-up last season, are leading contenders once again in 2019. Williams swimmers Lovette and classmate Jackson Karofsky, the runner-up in 2018, hold the top two times in the 1,650 freestyle and Bowdoin's Williams will push both Ephs for a spot at the top of the podium.
Tufts senior Kingsley Bowen won all three backstroke events a year ago and looks to repeat the feat in 2019. Bowen owns the top time in 50 backstroke this season, while fellow Jumbo and first-year Nate Tingen (Yorba Linda, Calif.) ranks second.
There will be a new champion in the 50 breaststroke with Williams senior Jack Melnick entering as last year's runner-up while Bates senior Alex Bedard owns the top time in the field of competitors this season.
Williams' Delcompare, the defending champion in the 200 butterfly, owns the top time heading into this year's race. French and first-year Sean Tan, of Williams, will also contest for the top spot on the podium.
In the 200 individual medley, reigning champion Sarier and Delcompare, last year's third-place finisher, return to the field. Three first-year swimmers, Kim and Tar Tar Jarusinchai of Tufts, and Tan of Williams, own the fastest times in the event. There will be a new champion crowned in the 400 individual medley, but two of the top three finishers from 2018 return in Williams' Karofsky and sophomore John Gaffney. Kim has recorded the fastest time this season and is followed by Karofsky and Tufts first-year Michael Gregorace.
All three divers who earned All-NESCAC honors last year return to the field in 2019, led by senior Mitchell Ryan of Bowdoin who looks to defend his titles on the 1-meter and 3-meter boards. Middlebury junior Mike Chirico was the runner-up on the 1-meter board and placed third on the 3-meter board last year.
Tufts won the 400 medley relay and also captured the NESCAC title in the 400 freestyle relay to cap off its victory while Williams won the 800 freestyle to close out last year's championship.
Results from the NESCAC Men's Swimming and Diving Championships will be available throughout the weekend at NESCAC.com.
* - NESCAC record; # - NESCAC meet record