Men’s Swimming Places Second at NESCAC Championships
Issue   |   Tue, 02/28/2012 - 22:01

The men’s swim team placed second to Williams in last weekend’s NESCAC championship meet for the second consecutive year. They scored 1,959 points, the highest in program history and 344.5 more points than they did last year. The first-place Ephs scored 2,011 points, winning by the smallest margin in championship history.

The Jeffs won two of nine events on the first day of the meet. Ben McBratney ’12 won the 50-yard breaststroke with a 25.84. He broke the NESCAC, meet, pool and school records with his preliminary-heat time of 25.56.

Co-captain Ryan Lichtenfels ’12 claimed first in the 500-yard freestyle, stopping the clock at 4:31.12 and marking the fourth consecutive year a Jeff has won the event. The Jeffs showed their depth in the 500, as Tim White ’12, Conor McAuliffe ’14, Ben Grimes ’15 and Parker Moody ’14 placed third, fifth, seventh and eighth, respectively.

Amherst also had a strong showing in the 200 IM and 50 backstroke, with three swimmers placing in the top eight in each event.

Sophomore Connor Beaulieu finished second in the 200 IM with a 1:52.54 and Michael Rochford ’15 placed third, less than a second behind. Senior Bart Federak was eighth with a 1:55.23.

Conor Deveney ’15 led the pack in the 50 backstroke, finishing third with a 23.91, followed by Brandon Brown ’15 (24.27) and Aaron Reynolds ’14 (24.87) in fifth and eighth, respectively. First-years Connor Sholtis and Tyler Hampton finished fifth and seventh in the 50 free, respectively, and divers Colin White ’14 and Mark Idleman ’15 placed second and fifth on the one-meter board, respectively

Sholtis, Hampton, T. White and Lichtenfels opened the day with a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay. Deveney, McBratney, Tyler Bulakul ’14 and Sholtis closed the day in a similar fashion in the 400 medley relay, again finishing second.

Conn. College started the relay out in front after a strong backstroke leg, but the Jeffs and the Ephs pulled ahead to fight for the finish, with Williams eking out the win by just 0.2 seconds.

McBratney had another outstanding breaststroke race on the second day of competition, setting another meet and pool record with a winning time of 56.29 in the 100. Federak and Mike O’Connor ’12 finished fifth and eighth, respectively.

McBratney also broke the school record in the 100 butterfly, earning second place with a 50.05. Bulakul finished behind him in fifth with a 50.65. Deveney placed second in the 100 backstroke with Daniel Schwab ’13 finishing sixth. Rochford and Beaulieu finished third and fourth in the 400 IM, with Rochford snagging third place with a 4:01.75, just 0.06 seconds ahead of his teammate.

The Jeffs were dominant in the 200 free, claiming five of the top eight spots. Lichtenfels (1:40.39) finished second, edging out Sholtis by 0.2 seconds, who claimed third. T. White, Nick Egan ’14 and Moody placed fourth, fifth and seventh, respectively.

Amherst had three swimmers in the top eight of the 1,000 freestyle, as well. McAuliffe was the runner- up with a 9:30.36, followed by first-years Ben Grimes and Sam Cagenello in fourth and eighth, respectively. Deveney, McBratney, Bulakul and Hampton combined for third place in the 200 medley relay, and Sholtis, T. White, Egan and Lichtenfels finished second in the 800 freestyle relay.

The Jeffs started day three 52.5 points behind Williams. Lichtenfels impressed earning the NESCAC title in the 1,650 free for the fourth consecutive year, stopping the clock at 15:43.96. T. White (15.47.20) was the runner up, and McAuliffe and Grimes finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

Their combined points from the event were enough to give the Jeffs the lead.

Deveney was the runner-up in the 200 backstroke, narrowly missing the school record. Schwab and Brown placed sixth and eighth, respectively.

Sholtis and Hampton finished second and sixth, respectively, in the 100 freestyle, giving Amherst a 75-point edge over Williams, but the Ephs regained the lead for good in the 200 breaststroke, placing five swimmers in the top eight. Federak and O’Connor were sixth and seventh.

Bulakul and Rochford placed second (1:51.47) and third (1:52.09), respectively, in the 200 butterfly, and C. White and Idleman claimed second and fifth in the three-meter diving event, respectively.

The Jeffs finished the meet on a high note, with McBratney, Lichtenfels, Hampton and Sholtis winning the 400 freestyle relay.

Lichtenfels, T. White, Federak, Schwab, McAuliffe, Beaulieu, Bulakul, C. White, Deveney, Grimes, Idleman, Rochford, Sholtis and each Jeff relay earned at least one provisional NCAA B cut, and they will wait to hear if they have a chance to compete in Div. III Nationals, which will be held in Indianapolis, Ind. on March 22-24.