March 2, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The United States Coast Guard Academy entered Sunday's final round of competition at the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Men's Swimming and Diving Championships with a healthy lead, and that lead would only grow larger, as the Bears pulled away from the pack to win their third consecutive title. The champions finished the meet, hosted by MIT at the Zesiger Pool, with a staggering 991 points, outdistancing runner-up MIT (868) and third-place finisher Springfield College (741).
Senior Bobby Brown got Sunday evening's finals session underway in spectacular fashion for Coast Guard, finishing the 1,650-yard freestyle in a blistering 15:41.81. The time reached the NCAA "A" cut and also broke Brown's own NEWMAC Open, Championship and pool records, which had all been set in 2005. He was pushed the entire way to the bell-lap by MIT's Michael Dobson, who finished closely behind in 15:46.70, also reaching the NCAA "A" cut and securing Second Team All-Conference accolades. Senior Jeffrey Meyer, of WPI, reached the NCAA "B" cut with a time of 16:07.21.
The Bears continued to widen their lead in the next event, the 200-yard backstroke. Freshman Timmy Berry touched the wall first in an NCAA "B" cut time of 1:53.37 to garner First Team All-Conference plaudits, while runner-up Justin Zook, of Springfield, finished in 1:56.30.
Springfield senior Roy Burch, who was impressive all weekend long, then notched his fourth First Team All-Conference honor in the 100-yard freestyle, clocking in at 45.59 to reach an NCAA "B" cut. Also reaching the "B" cut were MIT's Laurent Charpentier, who secured Second Team accolades with a finish of 46.11, and Burch's Pride teammate, Greg Pearsall (46.39).
The host Engineers made a splash in the next race, the 200-yard breaststroke, in which they took three of the top five spots. Sophomore Rastislav Racz won the event with an NCAA "B" cut finish of 2:05.22, besting all of his competition by over four seconds and missing out on beating his own NEWMAC Championship record by just 0.16 seconds. Springfield's Ryan Mackstutis grabbed Second Team All-Conference recognition with his runner-up time of 2:09.63, and he was followed by Coast Guard's Mark Tatara and MIT's duo of John Walk and Kalvin Kao.
WPI's Mason Ruffining picked up his first career First Team All-Conference nod in the 200-yard butterfly, finishing the race in an NCAA "B" cut time of 1:53.61. He was followed by Coast Guard's Doug Fallon, who also reached the NCAA "B" cut with a finish of 1:54.53.
The three-meter diving competition belonged to Springfield, which placed four of the top five finishers. Senior Ben Casavant, who also won the one-meter event on Friday, scored highest with a mark of 543.60, while his freshman teammate Brian Sobol earned Second Team All-Conference honors for a second time with a score of 519.85. Both divers' tallies surpassed the previous NEWMAC Open record of 506.75, set by another Springfield diver, Mike Shaw, in 2004. Babson College's Aaron Paradis placed third (504.85), while Matt Fitzgerald (477.75) and Michael Osborne (450.50) rounded out the Pride's dominance in the event.
With the result of the meet already decided heading into the weekend's final race, the 400-yard freestyle relay, it would've been no surprise to see times trail off a bit. However, the desire of the competitors to give their all until the very end shown through, as Springfield's quartet of Matt Manoni, Greg Pearsall, Anthony Bruno and Burch ended the Championships with a record-setting time of 3:04.62. The mark not only reached the NCAA "B" cut, but also established new Championship, Open and pool records, while it also earned the squad First Team All-Conference honors. MIT's crew of Luke Cummings, Peter Wellings, Jeff Zhou and Charpentier nabbed Second Team accolades with a "B" cut time of 3:05.40, while Coast Guard's team of Brown, Dale Cressman, Jack Shadwick and Jim Okorn also met the "B" cut.
For complete NEWMAC Championship results, please visit: http://mitathletics.cstv.com/sports/m-swim/newmac.html
1. Coast Guard 991
2. MIT 868
3. Springfield 741
4. WPI 350
5. Wheaton 341
6. Clark 244
7. Babson 240