Feb. 23, 2007
NORTON, Mass. - MIT's 400-yard medley relay team of senior Craig Edwards and freshmen Luke Cummings, Rastislav Racz and Jeff Zhou picked up first-place in the event to pace the Engineers on the first day of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Swimming and Diving Championships, hosted by Wheaton College in the Balfour Natatorium. The Cardinal and Gray currently occupy third-place with 243.5 points, within striking distance of defending champion and current leader Coast Guard (314) and second-place Springfield College (256.5).
Tech's 400-yard medley relay contingent won the event with a pool record 3:26.45, good enough for an NCAA "B" cut. Particularly impressive was Edwards, who reached an NCAA provisional cut of his own leading off the first 100 yards with the backstroke.
Three of the four swimmers involved in the 400-yard medley relay victory were also a part of MIT's second-best performance of the day - a runner-up finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Freshman Peter Wellings joined Cummings, Zhou and Edwards to earn yet another NCAA "B" cut with a time of 1:24.61.
Wellings picked up the Engineers' only individual victory of the first day of competition, albeit in the "B" final of the 50-yard freestyle. He outdistanced his competitors by touching the wall at 22.14.
Zhou was MIT's top performer in the "A" final of the 50-yard freestyle, finishing fourth with a time of 21.58. Spots 1-2-3 in the event were occupied by swimmers earning NCAA provisional cuts.
The Engineers picked up a chunk of points in the 200-yard individual medley, as junior Kalvin Kao (1:58.13), sophomore Deke Hu (1:58.46) and freshman Racz (1:58.88) finished 4-5-6, respectively. However, Coast Guard's Colby Schlaht, Doug Fallon and Timmy Berry notched the top three spots to put the Bears firmly in control.
Wheaton's Barrett Roberts won the 50-yard freestyle for the fourth consecutive year, meaning that the senior picked up the victory in that event every year of his college career. Meanwhile, Coast Guard's 200-yard freestyle relay team notched a pool record time of 1:23.64.
Head coach Dawn Gerken was pleased with the way her team performed on the first day of competition, noting the consistency that helped the Engineers to an undefeated dual meet record in NEWMAC action during the regular season.
"Everyone across the board swam really well today, and as a result we're off to a very solid start," she said. "Our swimmers did a good job of getting into the top 16 during prelims and then moving up for higher finishes in the finals."
MIT will look to close the gap between leaders Coast Guard and Springfield when action resumes tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m.