Middlebury, VT—The Ephmen kicked off their championship season this weekend at the Middlebury Invitational. Three Ephs, Karl Thomas '20, Andrew Royek '22, and Will Burford '20, shaved, tapered, and concluded their seasons at the meet, and one more, Zach Ottati '19, finished his career. The four of them had a number of impressive swims in their signature events and led the way for a number of other impressive swims.
The meet kicked off with the 200 freestyle relay, where Royek gave a taste of what was to come, unleashing a 21.42 split. Later, he would add on to this with a 47.00 100 yard freestyle split, and 22.99 butterfly split on the medley relay. In his individuals, he posted times of 1:44.63 in the 200 freestyle and dropped almost 9 seconds from his in-season best in the 500, coming in at 4:42.65.
Burford joined Royek in many of the events, following him shortly in the 500, touching in 4:43.85, and just edged him out in the 200 freestyle, taking the overall win in a 1:43.32. Additionally, he put it all on the line in the 1000 freestyle, flying out to an eager pace and holding on for the win.
Karl Thomas posted a best ever 50 freestyle, finished 1:47 in the 200 freestyle, a top 5 finish in the 500 free, and dropped a 1:55 200 yard butterfly, showing his range across a number of distances and events.
Zach Ottati concluded his career in style, showing heart and passion across all of his races. These swims included a top 3 finish in the 200 IM (1:57), a 23.46 butterfly split on the medley relay, a season best 100 butterfly (52.52), and a gutsy swim in the 200 back for his last individual event touching second in 1:56.92.
There were a number of other noteworthy splits and races from the meet which include:
- Jamie Lovette '21 splitting 21.20 on the 200 freestyle relay and 1:42 on the 800 freestyle relay
- Zeb Hart leading off the same relay in a season best 21.8
- Sam Gollob dropping 10 seconds in his 200 IM season best to finish 2:00
- Jackson Karofsky's 53 100 backstroke leading off the 400 medley relay, 1:55.0 in the 200 butterfly, and 4:05 400 IM
- Henry Marquardt splitting 46 twice and throwing in a 1:44 200 freestyle and 1:57 200 backstroke for good measure
- David Pearcy flying to a 4:42 500 yard freestyle
- Timmy Page dropping his 200 backstroke season best by 3 seconds down to a 1:57
Eph head coach Steve Kuster said about the meet: "The four guys who finished their seasons this weekend competed well. There were some great swims along the way even though not everything went their way. I was pleased with their effort and approach. These four set a good tone for the rest of championship season."
The Ephmen return to competition in two-and-a-half weeks for their NESCAC Championship.