Engineers Up to Second-Place Heading into Final Day of NEWMAC Championships
Feb. 24, 2007
NORTON, Mass. - MIT rode the results of its relay teams for the second straight day on Saturday to leapfrog Springfield College into second-place at the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Swimming and Diving Championships, hosted by Wheaton College in the Balfour Natatorium. The Engineers, with 556.5 points, still trail defending champion Coast Guard (685), but have put some distance between themselves and third-place Springfield (505.5).
The Cardinal and Gray opened up the middle day of competition with a victory in the 200-yard medley relay, as the contingent of senior Craig Edwards and freshmen Rastislav Racz, Jeff Zhou and Luke Cummings clocked in at a pool-record 1:33.56, good enough for an NCAA "B" cut. The group is currently ranked sixth in the nation in the event.
Rookie sensation Racz nabbed Tech's other win, touching the wall at 57.15 in the 100-yard breaststroke to break the NEWMAC open, NEWMAC Championship, pool and Institute records and earn another NCAA provisional cut. With the new low time, the Bratislava, Slovakia native earned a national ranking of ninth in the event. The Engineers made it a clean sweep by taking 1-2-3 in the "B" final, as senior Matt Angle, sophomore Mike Smith-Bronstein and senior Andrew Lee took the top three spots, respectively.
Angle's victory in the 100-yard breaststroke "B" final was just one of a number of "B" final triumphs for Tech, as they also won the consolation heats in the 400-yard individual medley (senior Matt Spencer; 4:32.89), the 200-yard freestyle (Peter Wellings; 1:45.75) and the 100-yard backstroke (Jeremy Chang; 54.63).
Juniors Kalvin Kao and Harrison Hall picked up important points in the 400-yard individual medley, finishing 3-4, respectively. Coast Guard's Doug Fallon and WPI's Jeffrey Meyer grabbed the top two spots with NCAA "B" cut times.
The Engineers saw similar success in the 100-yard butterfly, as Zhou and sophomore Deke Hu tied for second-place, both touching the wall at exactly 52.25, but the real story was Zhou clocking in at 51.13 in prelims to notch an NCAA provisional time.
Tech grabbed runner-up finishes in the final two events of the evening - the 100-yard backstroke and the 800-yard freestyle relay. In the 100-yard backstroke, Edwards reached an NCAA provisional cut, broke the previous pool record and pushed himself up to 10th in the nation in the event, but still only managed second-place with a time of 51.73. The 800-yard freestyle relay team of Kao, Wellings, Hu and Edwards clocked in at 7:01.02 for their runner-up finish.
Head coach Dawn Gerken was thrilled with the way her team swam on the second day of competition, praising the effort of every single member of the squad.
"Every swimmer on this team stepped up today - and I mean every swimmer in every event," she said. "It was important for us to get that early win in the 200 medley relay and the guys just kept the ball rolling from there. They swam brilliantly today, and they've really set us up for a strong push tomorrow."
Sophomore Dan Lopez is ranked third heading into the three-meter diving finals, which will take place tomorrow.
MIT will return to the pool on Sunday morning for the final day of competition with its sights set firmly on leader Coast Guard. Preliminary heats begin at 11:00 a.m., while finals will start at 6:30 p.m.