March 1, 2008

MIT Slides into Second Entering Final Day of NEWMAC Championships

March 1, 2008

Complete Results

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Aiming to win its third straight New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Men's Swimming and Diving Championship, the United States Coast Guard Academy increased its lead over the rest of the field on day two of competition at MIT's Zesiger Pool. After Saturday's events, and with just one day of the meet remaining, the Bears have amassed 660 points, putting them ahead of second-place MIT (592) and third-place Springfield College (487).

Saturday evening's finals session got underway with the 200-yard medley relay, which saw a trio of teams touch the wall in NCAA "B" cut qualifying times. MIT's quartet of Jeff Zhou, Rastislav Racz, Laurent Charpentier and Luke Cummings earned the Engineers maximum points with a winning mark of 1:33.02, giving all four athletes First Team All-Conference honors. Second Team accolades went to Coast Guard's crew of Timmy Berry, Jack Sauve, Nick Forni and Jim Okorn, which clocked in at 1:33.08. Roy Burch, Ryan Mackstutis, Anthony Bruno and Matt Manoni of Springfield rounded out the "B" cut qualifiers with a finish of 1:34.41.

Coast Guard's Doug Fallon then brought the crowd to its feet with a blistering NCAA "B" cut finish of 4:04.13 in the 400-yard individual medley, not only winning the Bears' senior the race, but also eclipsing his own NEWMAC Open and Championship record set at the 2006 Championships. Runner-up Jeffrey Meyer touched the wall in 4:09.76, earning WPI its first All-Conference honors of the weekend.

The 100-yard butterfly was won by Coast Guard's Forni in time of 51.31, earning the junior an NCAA "B" cut, but the event as a whole was dominated by MIT. At the time, the second-place hosts skimmed their deficit behind leaders Coast Guard from 56 points all the way down to 28 points courtesy of placing five of the race's top nine finishers. Sophomore Zhou grabbed Second Team All-Conference plaudits with a time of 51.52, while Engineers' teammates George Rossick, Deke Hu, Toomas Sepp and Brendon Sullivan finished 4th, 6th, 8th and 9th, respectively.

However, Coast Guard's lead was extended back to 40 in the next event, the 200-yard freestyle. Bears' Senior Bobby Brown won the race in spectacular fashion, reaching an NCAA "A" cut and setting NEWMAC Open, Championship and pool records with a finish of 1:39.34. Three other swimmers met the NCAA "B" cut qualifying standard in the event - runner-up Charpentier and third-place finisher Michael Dobson, both of MIT, and Coast Guard's Jack Shadwick.

Not to be outdone, MIT's sophomore sensation Racz equaled Brown's feat in the next event. The Bratislava, Slovakia native touched the wall in an NCAA "A" cut time of 56.40, setting NEWMAC Championship and pool standards in the process, while missing out on breaking his own NEWMAC Open record by just 0.04 seconds. Coast Guard's Sauve garnered Second Team All-Conference accolades with an NCAA "B" cut finish of 57.82, while Springfield's Mackstutis finished in 58.79, the exact time needed to reach the "B" standard.

Springfield's Burch, who entered the event as the fifth-seed, secured his third First Team All-Conference honor of the weekend in the 100-yard backstroke, touching the wall in 51.28, good enough for an NCAA "B" cut. Berry, of Coast Guard, notched Second Team accolades with a time of 52.44, also an NCAA "B" cut.

To finish Saturday's finals session, MIT earned its second relay victory of the evening in the 800-yard freestyle relay. Dobson, Kalvin Kao, Peter Wellings and Charpentier each garnered First Team All-Conference plaudits with an NCAA "B" cut finishing time of 6:53.31, while Coast Guard's quartet of Shadwick, Fallon, Dale Cressman and Brown made up the Second Team with a mark of 6:58.81.

The NEWMAC Championships will conclude on Sunday, with the prelims for the 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard butterfly, 400-yard freestyle relay and 1,650-yard freestyle commencing at 11:00 a.m. The three-meter diving trials will begin at 1:30 p.m., while the finals for all of the afternoon's events will begin at 6:30 p.m.

For complete NEWMAC Championship results, please visit: http://mitathletics.cstv.com/sports/m-swim/newmac.html

Team Standings
1. Coast Guard 660
2. MIT 592
3. Springfield 487
4. WPI 243
5. Wheaton 236
6. Clark 173
7. Babson 171