Amherst Men Heading to Williams for NESCAC Championship
Senior co-captain Hunter Mims will help lead the Lord Jeff men in this weekend's butterfly events.
AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s swimming and diving team will head to Williams College this weekend for the 2010 NESCAC Championship. The three-day event will begin Friday, Feb. 26, at the Muir-Samuelson Pool in Williamstown, Mass.
Preliminary heats will begin at 10 a.m. each day, with finals taking place in the evening. Tickets will be available at the door for $6 per session ($2 children and students) and $30 for an all-session pass ($10 children and students). Doors will open two hours prior to the heats and finals. Fans unable to attend the conference championship will be able to watch the finals each night live on a pay-per-view basis ($6 per night).
Amherst, which has finished third in each of the past two NESCAC Championships, will look to repeat its outstanding performance from a year ago. The Lord Jeffs won 10 of the weekend’s 24 events, more than any other school. Williams, which has won each of the past seven conference titles, won only seven events last year. Amherst finished as the runner-up in 2003, 2004 and 2007.
The Lord Jeffs dominated the freestyle events at last year’s conference championship, and this year could be just as successful. Alex Fraser ’11 (Willowbrook, IL) was crowned NESCAC champion in the 100, 200 and 500 a year ago—all with NCAA “A” times—and this year holds the conference’s third fastest time in the 100 and 200. Also standing out in the sprint freestyles this year have been senior co-captain Tad Homchick (Mercer Island, WA) and first-year Sheng Hu (Lake Bluff, IL), each of whom has the potential to win multiple races this weekend.
Senior co-captain Tad Homchick has been one of the NESCAC's top sprint freestyle swimmers this season.
Dominating the distance freestyle events this year has been sophomore Ryan Lichtenfels (McLean, VA), who holds the conference’s fastest time in the 500 (4:38.69), 1000 (9:33.10) and 1650 (16:13.42). Lichtenfels won the 1650 and 400-yard individual medley last year and should once again challenge for NESCAC titles in the IM events. Five of the conference’s top nine times in the 500-yard freestyle this year belong to Amherst swimmers.
Leading a strong backstroke group are sophomore Tim White (Centerport, NY), first-year Daniel Schwab (San Diego, CA) and junior Reid Fitzgerald (New York, NY). In addition to boasting the conference’s best time in the 200 IM, White’s 1:53.63 in the 200-yard backstroke is tops in the NESCAC. During a dual meet against Williams earlier this season, White, Schwab and Fitzgerald took the top three spots in the 200 backstroke.
The breaststroke and butterfly events are also promising for Amherst. As the defending NESCAC champion in the 200 IM, sophomore Bart Federak (Towaco, NJ) joins classmates Mike O’Connor (Cold Spring Harbor, NY) and Ben McBratney (Evanston, IL) as the team’s key breaststrokers. McBratney will also contribute in the butterfly races with junior Ryan Colby (Birdsboro, PA) and senior co-captain Hunter Mims (Fairfax Station, VA).
With outstanding depth, Amherst will be among the favorites in each of this weekend’s relay events. Homchick, Sheng, Lichtenfels and Fraser hold the NESCAC’s top time in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:08.34), while Colby replaces Homchick to help the Jeffs boast the best time in the 800 free relay (7:01.72). At last year’s conference championship, the lord Jeffs set NESCAC records in the 400 and 800 free relays.
For an order of events, real-time results and other information on the NESCAC Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship, visit the NESCAC and Williams College websites.