Men's & Women's Swimming Defeat Union
Issue   |   Tue, 11/19/2013 - 22:53

Men

The Amherst Men’s Swimming and Diving Team visited Union College on Saturday, Nov. 16, to kick off the start of their season, determined to improve on finishing a close second last year to their NESCAC rivals, Williams College. After an offseason of intense preparation, all the swimmers showed just how far they’d come since the previous season, handily beating the Dutchmen.

In their first event, the 200-yard medley relay, all three of the Jeffs relay teams beat their three Union College counterparts. Amherst’s “A” team finished first with a time of 1:37.08, while the “C” team surprised by clocking in at 1:39.48 ahead of the “B” team’s 1:41.45 time. Although the “B” team finished last among the Amherst teams, it was still a full four seconds faster than Union’s fastest team.

The next event, the 1000-yard freestyle, provided much excitement as Connor Haley ’17 battled neck-and-neck with Union’s Matthew Hellauer for first. Haley managed to edge it out by the narrowest of margins, tapping in at 10:05.48, which was only three-hundredths of a second ahead of Hellauer. Haley has been dubbed as a freshman with breakout potential this season. According to sophomore Sebastian Cruz, it is not merely by chance that Haley performs so well.

“Connor brings a positive mindset and a will to work every practice,” Cruz said. “He showed off his impressive ability to close out tight races at Union, and I’m excited to see what he will do in the future.”

Elsewhere, Gregory Han ’17 established himself as the standout performer of this meet, as he completely dominated the opposition in finishing first in the 200-yard IM. His time of 1:56.49 was nearly 10 seconds ahead of the next-best Union swimmer. Jeff Anderson ’16, who finished first in the 100-yard breaststroke, Tyler Bulakul ’15, who led the pack in the 200-yard butterfly, and Captain Nicholas Egan ’14, whose time of 1:46.98 in the 200-yard freestyle was enough to bring home the top spot, were other notables at the meet.

“The Amherst men are hungry this season,” Egan said. “We’re a competitive group, an aggressive team, with guys that are driven by the thrill of winning. We’re entering this season with the talent and focus to realize our goals. We’re not going to settle for second to Williams at NESCACs.”

Captain Parker Moody ’14, who led by example by finishing first in the 500-yard freestyle, agreed with Egan, and he thought his team’s performance in this first meet was an indication of more success in the future.

“Our meet provided us a great first chance to get up and race against another team,” Moody said. “The Amherst men raced incredibly well, winning many of the races that came down to the last few yards.”

There were a lot of close events in this meet, and the fact that Amherst was able to pull out ahead of their opponents in most of these close races reveals a lot about the strength in character that the Jeffs have. But a portion where it was never really close was the diving portion of the meet. In the two diving events, the 1-meter dive and the 3-meter dive, Colin White ’14 and Asher Lichtig ’16 both dominated the field, as they placed first and second respectively in both events. The third-placed finisher scored significantly below them both times.

Union College was only able to win five of the sixteen events at the meet, as the Jeffs tallied 198 points against the Dutchmen’s 101. Looking to build upon this victory, they travel to Colby next Saturday, Nov. 23.

Women

The Amherst Women’s Swimming and Diving Team got off to a similarly great start to their season at Union College, handily defeating their opposition by a score of 172 points to 105. Coming off one of the best seasons in their history as they went on to claim the NESCAC championship, this was the perfect way to begin the defense of their title, making a huge statement to the rest of the league that they are a force to contend with yet again.

Captain Anna Pietrantonio ’14 is confident in her team’s ability to have another strong season. Speaking of the adjustments they made in the offseason, Pietrantonio said, “Although we graduated a big class of seniors last year, we have a great depth of talent as we welcome a speedy group of first-years to the team. In terms of improvements, we incorporated a lot of weight training into our preseason, which is already paying off in practices. We also have a new assistant coach this season who keeps our workouts fresh and interesting.”

Her words were supported by her team’s performances. The first event for the women was also the 200-yard medley relay, which they won handily. Their “A” team finished first with a time of 1:52.06, followed by the “B” team at 1:56.43. In their other relay event, the 400-yard freestyle, it was the Jeffs who again came out on top, although this encounter was much closer than the first. This time it was the “B” team finishing first with a time of 3:49.72, just ahead of Union College’s “A” team, who marked a respectable time of 3:50.47.

Union College was only able to win two of the fourteen events, as the day was a continued succession of Jeffs excelling in their respective events. Stephanie Ternullo ’15 won her 200-yard freestyle event by nearly four seconds, clocking in at 1:56.52. Abby Hahn ’14 placed first in the 100-yard breaststroke, going the distance in just 1:10.58. She was then followed by another first-place finish by sophomore Sarah Conklin in the 200-yard butterfly (2:12.30). Conklin also won the 100-yard butterfly, rounding out a very impressive individual performance. Next was another Amherst success as senior Lulu Belak narrowly won a thrilling 50-yard freestyle, finishing with a time of 25.36 that was enough to edge out Ashleigh Stoddart ’15 by just 0.08 seconds, and the 100-yard freestyle back-to-back. Sophomore Emily Hyde’s time of 2:29.17 brought home the 200-yard breaststroke.

The standout performers for the women at this meet were Sabrina Lee ’15 and Charlotte Chudy ’16. Lee contributed 29 points for her team, as she won the 100-yard backstroke by less than two-tenths of a second and the 200-yard IM by a comfortable 1.26 second margin. She also swam in the 200-yard medley relay. Chudy blew away the rest of her field in her 1000-yard freestyle, winning her event by an absurd 10.79 seconds, finishing with a time of 10:46.74.

Despite the team’s dominating performance, sophomore Hannah Hummel tried to keep everything in perspective.

“This meet was a good opener for us because we were able to see the potential that we have as a team,” Hummel said.

“However, although we did well, we have a long way to go before NESCACs, which is good motivation for us to work even harder. Ultimately, our goal is to work hard and perform to the best of our abilities.”

The next step for the women is also at Colby next Saturday. If they can perform just as well then, the long road to a NESCAC championship repeat will be just a little bit closer.

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