AMHERST, MA—The Ephmen fell to Amherst today in a final score of 136-101. The high-octane duel had palpable energy, and was highlighted by extremely fast racing on both sides. The meet is contested in an unusual format due to its storied tradition and is well known as one of the most exciting rivalry meets in swimming. Like a typical dual meet, the Williams-Amherst showdown features the 50 though 1000 freestyle, but elects to only swim the 200s of stroke and the 200 IM rather than a more complete lineup. Shortening the total number of events down to thirteen adds more weight to every race and creates an even more intense atmosphere.
The meet got off to a energetic start with the 400 Medley Relay, where the squad of Tim Kostolansky, Jack Melnick, David Pearcy, and Michael Cassidy put up an excellent in-season time of 3:25.64, which was six seconds faster than their previous best this year, but were ultimately out-touched by the Amherst Relay by a mere two tenths of a second.
The Ephs got a win of their own in the next event, where sophomore Andrew Trunsky blew away the field by over 25 seconds to take the victory in the 1000 freestyle with a time of 9:35.74. Finishing second in the race was another Williams swimmer, Will Burford '20.
The men continued to keep the ball rolling in the next event, the 200 freestyle, where freshman Jamie Lovette cleared his previous season best by almost a full second and got his hand on the wall first in a close race with Amherst freshman Kou Li, finishing in a time of 1:42.23. Shortly following his teammate was Lucca Delcompare '20, who also cleared his season best to finish in a quick 1:44.17. Delcompare would later go on to take a victory of his own in the 200 butterfly, finishing in a final time of 1:53.68 over Amherst's Sam Spurrell.
The Williams freshman continued to assert themselves in the 200 individual medley, where the combination of Jackson Karofsky and John Gaffney lead the Ephs to the wall in a 1-2 punch, with both clearing their previous season bests by around four seconds. Karofsky returned later in the 200 backstroke where he put up a valiant effort, finishing in another season best time of 1:53.86, but ultimately came second to Amherst sophomore Craig Smith's pool record swim of 1:52.19.
In the 200 breaststroke Williams' Jack Melnick '19 came off his field-leading breaststroke split in the medley relay to face off against Amherst's Sean Mebust. Despite downing his own season best in the event by six seconds with a time of 2:09.29, Mebust took home the victory, finishing in a pool record 2:04.92.
After the meet Williams head coach Steve Kuster said, "We came to race and we did. I thought this was our best all-around effort of the season. It wasn't a win, so we'll have to keep working hard and improving to reach our end of the year objectives, but I believe the group is up to the challenge."
The Ephs return to competition next weekend where they will host Connecticut College at the Samuelson-Muir Pool on Saturday, January 13 at 1:00 PM.