MIDDLEBURY, CT – The Ephs began their championship season this weekend at the Middlebury Invitational. None of the men swam the meet as their last of the season, but instead took the opportunity to tune up familiar races and dip into some unfamiliar ones. The three-session invitational was the final racing opportunity prior to the men's NESCAC meet in three weeks and served as a great opportunity to once again familiarize themselves with a multi-session meet format.
While it is hard to narrow down the Eph's performance to just a few short paragraphs, there were nonetheless a few swims that were especially noteworthy. In the 200 IM freshman David Pearcy and sophomore Lucca Delcompare both rode strong butterfly and freestyle legs to post season best times of 1:57.6 and 1:58.2 respectively.
Shortly after, in the 50 freestyle, Shahzad Mumtaz '19 managed to dip under the 23-second barrier for the first time in his career with a time of 22.94. Joining him under 23 seconds for the first time this season was freshman John Gaffney. Gaffney and Mumtaz also both went on to have strong 200s later in the meet. Gaffney split a very quick 1:45.0 on the 800 freestyle relay, and Mumtaz went an in-season personal best in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:56.26.
Curtis Maher '19 returned to the 200 freestyle, one of his strongest events, for the first time this season and posted a time of 1:45.7 in the individual race.
Freshman classmates Jamie Lovette and Jackson Karofsky had an exciting head-to-head dual in the 500 freestyle. Both posted in-season best times, but Lovette narrowly out touched Karofsky in respective times of 4:39.20 and 4:39.55. Sophomore Karl Thomas went an in season best of his own by almost 5 seconds, dropping to a 4:52. Joining him with a similar drop was classmate Clayton Morikawa, who posted a 4:50. Thomas' 500 was an excellent addition to his 1.5 second drop in the 200 freestyle (1:48.6) from earlier in the meet.
Sophomore Alex Bank returned to the pool where he had his breakout meet last year and swam his best event, the 200 breaststroke. While just off of his personal best for the season, his time of 2:12.14 was a very good time and a very well executed race.
When asked about the meet Eph head coach Kuster said: "I felt this weekend was a pretty solid last tune-up for the men's team. I know everyone is looking forward to getting some rest over the next 2.5 weeks and putting it all together at NESCACs."
The Eph's next meet will be the NESCAC Championships, where they will face off against the other ten teams in the conference in their battle to capture another title.