Swimming Sweeps a Pair of NESCAC Foes
Issue   |   Wed, 12/04/2013 - 00:19

Men

The Amherst Men’s Swimming and Diving Team notched two more victories at Colby College and then at Wesleyan to improve to 3-0 on the season.

On Saturday, Nov. 23, the meet at Colby started off with a pleasant surprise in the 200-yard medley relay as Amherst’s “E” team won the event with a time of 1:38.47.

Amherst took the next three places as well, foreshadowing a great performance by the Purple and White.

The next two events, the 1000-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle, were both won by Amherst in dominating fashion.

In the next event, Tyler Bulakul ’14 broke a pool record by swimming the 100-yard backstroke in just 52.50 seconds. Junior Conor Deveney also came close, missing the record by just a quarter of a second.

Bulakul would go on to break another pool record, completing the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 50.72.

“Even though it’s still early in the season, it felt great to see a lot of the hard training pay off for all of the guys,” Bulakul said after his record-breaking performances. “I’m definitely excited to see how the rest of the season plays out.”

More pool records fell as Jeff Anderson ’16 broke the 200-yard butterfly record with a time of 1:55.51, and first-year Greg Han’s time of 2:10.25 beat the original record by just under a second. Asher Lichtig ’16 and Colin White ’14 also broke pool records in quick succession.

Anderson reflected on an Amherst career with a constant upward trajectory.

“Freshman year gave me the confidence to keep working hard. Breaking the pool record showed that all the hard work the team has been doing is paying off, and if we keep it up we can keep improving into Williams and ultimately the end of the season,” Anderson said.

While the final point total for the meet was 171-107, the performances were actually much closer than the score suggests, as Amherst stopped scoring themselves in the later events.

Just two days later, the Jeffs hit the road again to travel to Wesleyan, and any concerns that they might be too exhausted to pull out another victory were quickly dissipated.

Amherst sent out four separate teams to compete in the opening 400-yard medley relay, and every single one of them beat Wesleyan’s fastest team.

It didn’t get any better for the Cardinals as not a single one of their swimmers could best any of Amherst’s times until they placed third in the 200-yard backstroke six events later.

Record-setters Bulakul and Anderson battled for first and second in the 200-yard butterfly as they led the pack once again.

Captain Parker Moody ’14 was business as usual as he followed a win in the 1000-yard freestyle at Colby with another top performance in the 500-yard freestyle at Wesleyan, finishing with a time 4:48.42.

Junior Connor Sholtis won the 100-yard freestyle in 48.03, and first-year Nick Lafky continued to impress in the 200-yard breaststroke, narrowly beating Wesleyan’s Billy Hepner’s time of 2:14.69.

Rishi Kowalski ’16 showed that he is rounding into form with a time of 2:04.09 in the 200-yard backstroke, while senior Aron Reynolds’ 4:20.31 in the 400-yard IM indicated that he can once again be a consistent swimmer for the Jeffs this season.

Kowalski was in a festive mood, but kept things in perspective.

“For us, it’s all about the end of the season,” Kowalski said. “We are showing how good we are in these meets, but there is much more to come from all of us if we continue to work hard for ourselves and for each other. It’s a growing process.”

The next step in the growing process for the Amherst Men’s Swimming and Diving Team will be a home meet against Middlebury on Saturday, Dec. 7.

Women

The Amherst Women’s Swimming and Diving Team built upon their championship pedigree with two consecutive victories over Colby and Wesleyan on the road.

The Women’s Team traveled to Colby on Saturday, Nov. 23 and bagged a 174-106 win.

Captain Anna Pietrantonio ’14 easily won the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 11:05.46, fifty-five seconds faster than her closest opponent.

Senior Lulu Belak and first-year Sky Deardorff followed suit, finishing first in the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke, respectively. Emily Hyde ’16 put in another strong performance, winning three individual events (100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard freestyle, and 200-yard IM).

The “A” 200-yard freestyle relay team capped off a great day for the Jeffs by winning their event with a time of 1:42.06.

Asked if it is easy to get caught up in the grind of a season Conklin said, “Focus is definitely an important aspect to the sport because without it your technique gets sloppy and then your whole race will fall apart.”

The Women’s Team’s focus was tested two days later when they visited rival Wesleyan. The meet got off to a great start, as the “A” team for the opening 400-yard medley relay again took home first place.

The 500-yard freestyle that came thereafter was swept by Charlotte Chudy ’16, Audrey Ingerson ’14 and Pietrantonio, while senior Abby Hahn won the 200-yard breaststroke.

Hyde continued her dominance in the 400-yard IM, while Conklin’s 200-yard butterfly winning time of 2:11.47 solidified her status as one of the most consistent team members.

According to Chudy, the team is in the midst of one of the most difficult parts of their season, but none of them are complaining.

“It is always difficult to dive in the pool and have a great swim during difficult periods of training in-season,” Chudy said. “But the team did an outstanding job of pushing past that feeling and everybody raced really well. ”

The Jeffs will need another solid team effort if they wan to continue their hot start to the season at home against Middlebury on Saturday, Dec. 7.

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