First-Year Swimmers Making a Splash
Issue   |   Tue, 11/27/2012 - 22:24

The Amherst men’s swimming and diving team opened its 2012-2013 campaign in convincing fashion on Nov. 16 with a 173-103 route of NESCAC rival Colby. Of the 16 events in the dual-meet, the Jeffs won an astounding 11 in Pratt Pool, proving that despite their grueling second-place finish at NESCACs last year, the team is back with a vengeance.

Leading the way for the Jeffs were sophomores Conor Deveney and Alex Kang, both of whom won individual events before coming together to win the 200-yard medley relay.

Deveney won the 100-backstroke in 52.57, while Kang won the 100 breast in 1:02.18. Tyler Bulakul ’14, who won the 200 fly in 1:55.85, was also impressive for the home side. Other victors on the day were Nick Egan ’14, winning the 200 free in 1:46.14 and Connor Sholtis ’15, taking home the 100 free (47.01).

Several first-year swimmers also made impressive collegiate debuts, including Jeff Anderson who won the 200 breast in 2:15.78 before taking second in the 200 free (1:46.48). Matt Heise ’16 also picked up an individual win in his debut, winning the 200 back in a time of 1:56.24.

On the board in the diving events, three Amherst divers recorded NCAA B-Cut scores, an early indicator of the talent this diving squad may have. Asher Lichtig ’16 posted a 290.02 and Mark Idleman ’15 slotted a 284.47 in the one-meter, while junior Colin White’s 313.95 on the three-meter board was good enough for first place.

Three days later, the Jeffs traveled to Middletown, Conn. to face NESCAC and Little III rival, Wesleyan, in their second dual-meet of the season. The Jeffs again dominated their competition, cruising to a 168-96 win.

Bulakul and Sam Stewart ’16 led the way for the Jeffs, each posted NCAA B-Cut times in the 100-yard butterfly. Stewart was especially impressive in his second collegiate race, posting a speedy 50.17 time in the 100 fly, nearly a second under the NCAA provisional qualifying time of 50.59.

Bulakul, who finished just behind his first-year teammate in the 200 fly, enjoyed a terrific race, incluing a 100-yard backstroke victory (52 seconds flat) and a victory in the 200 medley relay, which the Jeffs won by just .63 of a second.

Anderson impressed again for the Jeffs, setting a pool duel-meet record in the 400-yard individual medley (4:10.4) — after earlier winning the 200 fly (1:54.20). Fellow rookie Vic Sun also earned a pair of victories, edging junior teammate Parker Moody by a mere .02 seconds to take the 200 free (1:46.56) before winning the 100 free (48.59) over sophomore Tyler Hampton.

With two dominant victories behind them, the Jeffs will travel to Middlebury this Saturday, Dec. 1 in what promises to be a more competitive race.

Not to be outdone by their male counterparts, the Lady Jeffs swimmers also collected two dominant wins in their first two duel-meets of the season, topping Colby and Wesleyan 157-109 and 167-109, respectively.

Co-captain Kate Vincett ’13 led the way for Amherst in their home opener, winning the 100-freestyle and taking second in the 100-yard breaststroke. Sophomores Sabrina Lee and Courtney Flynn also picked up victories for the Lady Jeffs, who won 10 of the meet’s 15 total events. Lee’s 1:00.82 in the 100-yard backstroke gave her the win, while Flynn cruised to a 2:26:96 time, good enough for first in the 200-yard freestyle. The sophomore duo also helped win the 200-yard medley relay for Amherst.

First-year Emily Hyde impressed her collegiate debut with a narrow victory in the 200-free, winning in 2:00.23, only a second ahead of Colby’s rookie Morganne Hodson.

Three days later at Wesleyan, the Lady Jeffs continued to look sharp in another well-rounded team effort that saw several individual victories, including two swimmers’ collecting two individual wins, each.

Steph Ternullo ’15 looked particularly impressive for Amherst, winning the 200 fresstyle (1:55.92) before setting a dual-meet pool record in the 500 free, winning in a time of 5:08.76. Then, not to be denied a third victory, Ternullo teamed up with Lulu Belak ’14, Ashleigh Stoddart ’15 and Vincett to win the 400-yard freestyle relay, good enough for another pool dual-meet record at Wesleyan.

First-year Sarah Conklin also shined against the Cardinals, setting a pool duel-meet record in the 100 fly (57.75), nearly four seconds ahead of teammate Allison Merz ’14, who took second. Conklin also won the 200 fly (2:11.47) and was part of Amherst’s 200-yard medley relay winning team.

The women, who also took second at NESCACS, looked stellar in their first two meets and should be especially pleased with the performances of their youngest class. The Lady Jeffs also face off with Middlebury this weekend in Vermont.