January 30, 2010

MIT Swim/Dive for Haiti

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - On Saturday, January 30, the MIT men's and women's swimming and diving teams will be dedicating the season's final home meet to assisting the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. 

As the nationally-ranked Engineers face the powerhouse Lord Jeffs of Amherst College, members of the MIT Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will be present to collect donations to support the relief efforts of the Red Cross.

On the men's side, No. 5 MIT has dominated their competition thus far this season, and will face their toughest challenge against No. 16 Amherst. Led by tri-captains Luke Cummings, Rastislav Racz and Jeff Zhou, the Engineers have not lost more than four events in any dual meet this season.

In the sprints, Cummings holds top-15 times in both the 50 and 100 Free events. A potential threat may come from Amherst's freestyle specialist Alex Fraser. Fraser was the 2009 D-III champion in the 500 Free and could be called upon for any event from 50 to 500 yards.

Look to the Lord Jeffs' Ryan Lichtenfels to dominate the longer distances. Lichtenfels currently holds the top time in the 1000 Free and was runner-up in the 1650 in Minnesota last year.

A major factor for MIT will be freshman Brendan Deveney, who has competitive times in five events. The 200 Back could hold a possible showdown with Deveney, teammate and 2009 finalist Tim Stumbaugh, and 2009 finalist Tim White of Amherst.

For the women, No. 6 MIT hopes to hand No. 5 Amherst its second loss of the season. The two teams have evenly matched times in almost every event, and they will need solid efforts from all of their athletes to pull out a win.

Coach Dill will have to carefully consider how to best utilize the talents of Anna Kokensparger if the Engineers are to come out on top. The freshman holds team-best times in seven events and has been valuable in the relays as well.

Amherst's Coach Nichols will have an equally-tough decision in placing junior Kendra Stern. Stern had six top-5 finishes at the 2009 national meet, including her first-place swims in the 100 and 200 Free.

MIT junior Amy Jacobi, who had four wins in last weekend's bout with Tufts University, will pick up where Kokensparger cannot, and freshman Sarah Scodel, reigning NEWMAC Swimmer of the Week could post winning times as well.

On the boards, Amherst's Maggie Meisinger will face an MIT contingent led by captains Kristie D'Ambrosio and Lauren Cippichio. Both teams will need a clean performance to pick up the points that could eventually decide the overall winner.

In addition, ten graduating seniors will be recognized for their achievements and dedication to the MIT swimming and diving program. Action kicks off at 1 p.m. in the Zesiger Center Pool.