Jeffs Head to Texas for NCAA Championships
Contact: Matthew Hart
AMHERST, Mass. – Twenty-four members of the Amherst College swimming and diving teams will escape the late-winter cold in New England this week and compete at the NCAA Division III Championships, hosted by the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) at the Conroe Natatorium in Shenandoah, Texas.
Competition will begin on Wednesday, March 20 and run through Saturday, March 23, with preliminary heats kicking off at 10 a.m. (Central Time) each morning and finals starting at 6 p.m. Live results and live video will be available for the entire event.
The Amherst women will look to catch hold of the same wave of momentum this weekend that delivered the team its first ever NESCAC title in mid-February. After finishing in the top nine nationally each year from 2003-11, an unproven Amherst squad took 13th at last year’s championship. With an electrifying first-year class playing a huge role in the Jeffs’ conference title, however, this year’s team is poised for a return to the top 10.
Leading the youth movement are NESCAC Rookie of the Year Sarah Conklin and fellow first-year Emily Hyde. The conference champion in the 50- and 100-yard butterfly races, Conklin earned a total of four All-NESCAC honors and will compete in the butterfly events this weekend as well as the 50-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard medley relay. Meanwhile, Hyde earned an incredible seven All-NESCAC awards including a win in the 200-yard breaststroke. The versatile rookie will compete in the 200 Breast and both individual medleys while contributing to the medley and freestyle relays as well.
The Jeffs’ third first-year making the trip will be long-distance freestyler Charlotte Chudy, while four seniors will also compete in the pool, led by Katie Vincett, who scored points with a pair of relays at last year’s championships and will head up the 200- and 400-yard freestyle and medley relay squads this year. Joining her in the 200 MR will be classmates Nicole Heise and Maddy Sprung-Keyser along with Hyde while Emily Swett will team up with Vincett, Conklin and Hyde in the 400 MR.
Steph Ternullo ’15 will compete individually in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles while joining Vincett, Hyde and Lulu Belak ’14 in the 400 FR. Belak will compete in the other two freestyle relays as well, teaming up with Vincett, Conklin, and Ashleigh Stoddart ’15 in the 200 FR and joining Hyde, Stoddart and Ternullo in an 800 FR group that returns three of four from last year’s seventh-place unit.
Meanwhile, junior diver Lizzy Linsmayer will look to pick up big points on the boards after earning NESCAC Diver of the Meet honors in February. After winning the conference title and setting new school and meet records on the one-meter board (478.45), Linsmayer will look to improve on her seventh-place showing in the event at the 2012 NCAA meet. Also strong at three meters, the junior nabbed sixth there at last year’s nationals, the highest finish for the Amherst women in any event.
While the Jeff women will seek to make a big jump in the standings this year, the men’s team has less room for rise after tying for sixth place at the 2012 championship. The accomplishment marked the fourth consecutive top-six finish as the Lord Jeffs find themselves in the midst of their most impressive run of success in program history.
After another second-place showing at the NESCAC Championships, this year’s group will be nearly as youth-driven as the women, with first-years and sophomores likely to determine the Jeffs’ team success in Texas. Conor Deveney ’15 enters the meet as a proven star on the big stage, having grabbed fourth in the 200-yard backstroke at nationals a year ago and won the event as part of an impressive six All-NESCAC awards at this year’s meet. Classmate Connor Sholtis matched Deveney with six all-conference honors and will compete in the 200 Free along with several relays this weekend.
Meanwhile, NESCAC Rookie of the Year Sam Stewart headlines the Amherst rookie corps after becoming the third Jeff to notch a half-dozen all-conference finishes in February. He will compete in the 100 Fly after winning the event at NESCACs while also teaming up with Deveney, Sholtis and classmate Tom Zhang in the 400 MR, where the two sophomores helped Amherst place fifth at nationals year ago before taking a conference title in February. Rounding out the rookies are Jeff Anderson and Matt Heise, with Anderson looking to pick up points individually in the 200 Fly and 400 IM and Heise joining Stewart, Zhang and Tyler Hampton ’15 in a youthful 200 MR.
With no seniors competing this weekend, Tyler Bulakul ’14 will be the most experienced star for Amherst in the pool. He will compete in both the 100- and 200-yard butterfly events after placing seventh in the 200 Fly at last year’s nationals then dominating the race in meet- and school-record form at the NESCAC championships. Bulakul will also race alongside Deveney, Sholtis and Hampton on the conference-champion 400-yard freestyle relay squad.
Rounding out the Jeff swimmers are juniors Nick Egan and Parker Moody, who will join Anderson and Sholtis in the 800 FR. Egan and Sholtis were a part of the 2012 unit which placed fourth in the event, matching Deveney’s 200 Back performance as Amherst’s highest finishes at the meet.
Finally, the team will look for a big boost from its diving contingent, with three Jeffs qualifying for nationals. Colin White ’14 will look to improve on his eighth-place performance on the three-meter board at the 2012 championships while also seeking to ride the momentum of a dominant one-meter performance at this year’s NESCAC meet, where the junior set new school and conference records (542.00). Asher Lichtig ’16 (All-NESCAC at 1m) and Mark Idleman ’15 will compete on both boards as well.
2013 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships
Wednesday-Saturday, Mar. 20-23 * Hosted by Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC)
Conroe Natatorium * Shenandoah, Texas
Live Results * Live Video
Schedule of Events (PDF) * Ticket Information
NCAA Men's Championship Website * NCAA Women's Championship Website