Feb. 25, 2007
NORTON, Mass. - The United States Coast Guard Academy racked up an impressive 990.5 points to win its second consecutive New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Swimming and Diving Championship on Sunday evening in Wheaton College's Balfour Natatorium. MIT grabbed the runner-up spot in the seven team competition with 856 points, while Springfield College finished a distant third (724.5).
Freshman sensation Rastislav Racz provided the highlight of the weekend for the Engineers by smashing the NEWMAC open, NEWMAC Championship, pool and Institute records in the 200-yard breaststroke. By clocking in at 2:05.07, the Bratislava, Slovakia, native outdistanced his closest competitor by over six seconds, while breaking the previous MIT mark by over three seconds. The time was also good enough for an NCAA provisional cut and earned him a national ranking of ninth in the event.
Senior Craig Edwards notched Tech's other individual victory on the final day of competition, touching the wall at an NCAA "B" cut time of 1:52.20 in the 200-yard backstroke to push up him up tenth in the country in the event. Edwards' time was just .07 seconds off the pool record, set by the Cardinal and Gray's Matthieu Fuzellier last year. The Engineers put a stranglehold on the event by grabbing third and fourth-places finishes as well, through junior Kalvin Kao (2:11.47) and senior Matt Angle (2:13.34), respectively.
The 200-yard butterfly proved to be another important event for MIT, as sophomore Deke Hu picked up a second-place finish with a time of 1:56.10, while freshman John Walk notched fourth by touching the wall at 2:00.99.
Tech received great performances from its relay teams throughout the weekend, and the 400-yard freestyle relay squad continued that trend by capping the competition with a third-place finish. The group of senior Craig Edwards, sophomore Peter Wellings and freshmen Jeff Zhou and Luke Cummings clocked in at 3:08.01, good enough for an NCAA "B" cut. The Engineers' grabbed the victory in the consolation heat, as the team of Kao and sophomores Mike Smith-Bronstein, Udit Garg and Hu finished with a time of 3:14.01.
Sophomore Harrison Hall nabbed fourth-place in the 1650-yard freestyle, Cummings, Wellings and Zhou finished fifth, sixth and eighth in the 100-yard freestyle, respectively, and sophomore Dan Lopez notched seventh in the three-meter diving competition.
Head coach Dawn Gerken was very proud of her entire team, which pulled together to earn MIT's first runner-up finish in the NEWMAC Championships since 2004.
"It was just a fantastic weekend overall," she said. "I'm really excited about the way the team came together over the course of the weekend. All 28 members of this team really contributed to this second-place finish."
The Engineers will be represented by a number of swimmers at the NCAA National Championships, which will take place in Houston, Texas, between Thursday, Mar. 15 and Saturday, Mar. 17.